Andrew Doyle has, allegedly, lost quite a few friends this last year. Not because of some horrendous disaster, but thanks to his apparently unforgivable habit of speaking his mind in social situations and—in a world where anyone’s now a Nazi if they don’t agree with you—daring to express opinions that his now-former friends found personally insulting. Which, when you think about it, does sound a rather odd way of looking at things.
The man is a marvel on stage; sharp, clever, mischievous with the audience and frankly THE number-one go-to-man whether you’re looking for a great one-two punchline, a slow-burning routine or an off-the-cuff response.
Of course, going by his acerbic, forthright stage persona, you might be surprised that Doyle has any friends at all, as he flirts with a young man in the front row (willing to “completely exploit the guy’s ‘open mind’,”), equates marriage—be it straight or gay—with giving up on life, or realises that his 6.30pm time-slot at The Stand is probably too early to be saying some of the things he’s saying. Not that Doyle’s particularly lewd, but he’s always been one for pushing the envelope of comedic taste—“good” or otherwise—though never for a cheap laugh.
As one of the men behind satirical news-reporter Jonathan Pie, it’s hardly a surprise when Doyle self-identifies as a socialist, but just because he has it in for Theresa May, Donald Trump and Tony Blair—attracting some peculiar American attention in the process—doesn’t mean he won’t also criticise, question or mock the Left—which is why he’s lost some of his Guardian-reading friends. Mark Twain once suggested that, whenever we find ourselves among a majority, we should take time “to pause and reflect,” but in our social media echo chambers that’s an increasingly unfashionable Thought Crime.
All excellent food for thought, and actually quite important, but it does make Doyle sound worthy, if not a little bit dull; and that’s just not fair. The man is a marvel on stage; sharp, clever, mischievous with the audience and frankly THE number-one go-to-man whether you’re looking for a great one-two punchline, a slow-burning routine or an off-the-cuff response. As I wrote once before here: comedy gold.