Thursday, 8 April 2010

Punching me in the face would have been preferable...

I have been meaning to start a blog for a long time now, just to jot down my random warblings and brain dumps, more for me than to gain an audience/following. It has been on my 'to do' list for so long now that I thought I would never actually get round to doing it.

Until I went to see Frankie Boyle last night on his 'I would happily punch every one of you in the face' tour - opening night of the 113 show tour at Reading Hexagon. And right now i have a huge need to do a brain dump, and twitter is just not doing it for me today ;) too much to say for 140 characters.

Last summer I booked front row tickets to see Frankie Boyle on tour - as soon as I put the phone down I wondered if i had made a massive mistake booking tickets so close to the front, hoped I would not live to regret it. Right now I wish we had not even gone to see the show, never mind the worries about front row tickets.

One of the reasons that we wanted to see Frankie Boyle was that we have seen him on shows like Mock the Week and have loved his humour, how dry he is, how clever he is. We wanted to see him out of the confines of a TV editing suite, to hear him say things he could not get away with on mainstream TV.

My beautiful, feisty, determined 5 year old daughter has Down syndrome and last night Frankie Boyle spent a good few minutes in the second half of his show making joke after joke about people with DS. And they werent even clever or funny jokes either (though the audience were still laughing - well everyone except me and the 5 people I had gone out with last night)

I know talentless comedians like Jimmy Carr have a history and reputation of poking fun at people with disabilities, but I never expected it from Frankie Boyle. Not at all, indeed I thought he was cleverer than that. I expected dry, nasty, crude humour, yes, but unimaginitive humour poking fun at the stereotype of people with Down syndrome was not something that I expected.

I don't know whether he had planned to include a section on poking fun at people with Down syndrome, or whether it simply lead on from a joke he was making about Microsoft (following audience interaction) so I have no idea whether or not this part of his show will be included in the rest of the 'I would happily punch every one of you in the face' tour or not.

He did not seem to be stopping - jokes about the way people with DS talk, jokes about the way they dress, jokes about the jobs they can do, jokes about their haircuts, jokes about their parents being old and old-fashioned (fwiw I was 31 when I had my daughter - looking at Frankie Boyle and the various mentions of his 2yr old son last night, I would say that was a good few years younger than when he had children - and I read Grazia and shop in TopShop, hardly the stereotypical old frumpy mum eh?)

The more jokes he made, the harder I found it to stay unemotional and detached - My husband noticed and asked if i was ok. At which point Frankie noticed him talking to me and came over (oh how i wish I had not booked front row seats). He asked why we were talking during his show. I wanted the ground to swallow me up. I have never felt so small, so stupid, so emotional and tbh so pathetic. How can a stranger make me feel like that?

So i told him. I told him that my 5 yr old daughter has Down syndrome and that I was simply upset at some of his jokes. He tried to laugh it off 'ahh, but its all true isnt it? everything i have said is true isnt it?' to which I replied no, it wasnt. He then went on to say that it was the most excrutiating moment of his career but then tried to claw the humour (?) back by saying we had paid to come and see him and what should we expect. To which I replied that I understood that and that it was my personal problem/upset. He then said it was the last tour ever and that he didnt give a f*ck.

This was followed by a 5 minute explanation of his humour, and why he is so nasty, dry etc. He was obviously unsettled by the episode, but nothing like the way I felt. I truly have never felt so small.

So what was meant to be a great night out turned out to be a complete disaster. I dont feel that I did my daughter any justice at all. To the audience I was just 'some woman who got offended' (yes I have read that posted about me on twitter this morning - thanks @bryanhull). And as for Frankie Boyle, well he has already told me he doesnt give a f*ck.

I wish that I had managed to explain to them all why i was upset, to tell them how wrong the stereotypes about Down syndrome are. I wanted to show them how proud i am of my daughter, to tell them about how well she is doing at mainstream school. To show them the hundreds of pictures I have of her, so that they can see how pretty she is, that she wears pretty clothes and that she does not have bad hair (well apart from when she has put toothpaste or marmite in it anyway). I wanted to break through their prejudices and to show how wrong the stereotypes are. But instead all I did was make people think I was someone who couldnt appreciate live stand up comedy. Which isnt the case at all

I love stand up comedians, and I had been so looking forward to seeing Frankie Boyle. I have been to comedy clubs and sat through poor unimaginitive comedians poking fun at people with disabilities, and come away unscathed and not needing to start writing a blog about it. But I was disappointed in Frankie Boyle last night. He doesnt need to stoop to such low levels, such poor humour. He is better than that.

Or so I thought....


  1. I am so impressed, Sharon, with your measured, calm approach on here - I would be livid, and what's more, would have been crying if I'd felt so offended (a character flaw of mine: over emotional). I really am so touched by your blog post, and think that Tanzie is so very lucky to have a wonderful Mummy and Daddy like you and Kieron xxxx

  2. (((((((((((((()))))))))))

    That is an excellently written post... do you want to fight him? I am sure lots of us will support you :o)

    Let's hope that he never gets a gorgeous fiesty daughter like yours.

  3. I've never been a fan of Mr Boyle, but I appreciate where you were coming from. That said, however inadequate you feel your responses were, in five years from now I predict one of you won't be over this, and it ain't you. From where you sat, expecting an evening of laughter, it's no wonder whatsoever that you reacted as you did. Anybody would, being caught off guard like that. Anybody. But Frankie Boyle is an adult, a father and a performer and has the intelligence to know that he was being a lord and a bully. I commend your reaction. I would still be sharing my time between the local police station and The Daily Mail for punching the silly bastard in his silly bastard mouth. Because I would gave done that if I'd been in the front row, and in five years' time I would've regretted it deeply. The moment for making it a bigger mess passed you by, and now with a clear head you can do whatever you think is right and proper. You, unlike Mr Boyle, have lost nothing.

  4. ((((((((Sharon)))))) Reading this has really upset me, I can only begin to imagine how you must have felt! OMG what a nasty nasty man....

    Your children are so lucky to have such a fabulous mum in you....and I truly believe you are one of life's inspirational mother's from whom we can all learn some very valuable lessons!

    Onwards and upwards


  5. Nick summed it all up perfectly, much better than I eve could have done :-)


  6. What Nick said. You did the right thing and from what you describe - he couldn't have dug a bigger hole for himself without a JCB.

    Blah to him and anyone else that thinks that hurting people's feelings makes them funny or entertaining or *psuedo intellectual voice* controversial.

    It is possible to be hysterically funny by making people laugh WITH you by including them in the joke.

    What he was doing was looking through a pane of glass and distancing himself. The rest of the crowd might have laughed as anyone would when in a room full of people. Laughter works that way.
    But I bet there were a good few conversations in the car on the way home about how shite that part was.

    We are a long way from the playground now Mr Boyle. Not all the kids are going to follow you.

    I think you can enjoy the morning knowing you did totally the right thing. Bugger Frankie Boyle. xx

  7. I lost all respect for Frankie Boyle when I heard the working title for his Channel 4 Show is 'Deal With it Retards'
    Like many comics he picks easy targets and goes for cheap laughs.
    A real shame...

  8. Well done for sticking up for yourself, your daughter and those with Down syndrome. Frankie Boyle can piss off.

  9. What a terrible position to find yourself in - but how amazing that you spoke up about it. I think you completely did your lovely daughter justice just by speaking up when most people would have shrunk back into their seat and pretended they didn't have an issue with what he said.

    Comedians make fun of people thinking that they are absolved of any responsibility because those in question can't answer back. But you did. And that makes you a hero as far as I'm concerned! The calm, objective way you have argued your case here just further proves the point.

    I totally agree with what Nick McGivney said above: there is no way that Frankie Boyle will be able to walk away from this without it replaying in his mind. Not that this is likely to stop his jokes, but maybe it will make him think twice before unleashing them on a live audience who have the opportunity to answer back.

    Miranda x

  10. I hate to be 'that guy', but you knew before hand the type of humour Mr Boyle performs. You say you like him because he's a 'nasty' comedian, and in the hopes he would say something that he wouldn't be allowed to on tv - well, you got it. I don't see you complaining about his jokes about cancer, or paki's, I assume you found those in good taste?

  11. Wit is one thing, but a cheap laugh is another.

    To some you might just be some woman who got offended, but to decent people everywhere you're a damn good example for standing up to peer pressure and prejudice.

  12. Ben - I winced at those too, and had there just been one passing joke about someone with DS then I would have been fine with that (after all, I was at a Frankie Boyle show). However it was the joke after joke after joke, a good 5-10 minutes (though it seemed a lot longer to me at the time, just sitting in my seat wanting to die, fighting back the tears). I am not naive (i can never spell that word, sorry) and it is a sad fact of our society today that people do poke fun at those less fortunate than themselves, but it was the volume of jokes, all based on an out of date and false stereotype that got to me. I just wanted the opportunity to say my piece, to say why he was so wrong with his outdated ignorant views. If he spent 5mins with my daughter i am sure he would drop that section from his set without question - not because he would feel sorry for her but because he would see just how wrong the stereotypes are

  13. If comedians didn't have fat/ugly/old/foreign/politician/disabled people to make fun of they wouldn't have much material - doesn't it make us just as heartless when we laugh along with them AT somebody else's expense? I think this is why Michael MacIntyre is so refreshing - he finds the fun in 'everyday' situations like traffic, man-drawers, common insecurities but never stoops so low as to poke fun at people like FB does. FB always struck me as a bit of a loose canon on Mock the Week, tbh and I've always worried he might be too close to the knuckle live - let's face it, if Jonathan Ross can get carried away in the heat of the moment, then anybody can. I don't want to say don't take it personally - anybody would in your situation - just don't let it take over. And hey - look, some good came out of it - you started a blog!

  14. Just wanted to say how brave you were in having a conversation with him. Silence would have made you feel even worse.

    As Debs has said, the silver lining was this blog that you have now started! Yay!

  15. Jeez, that is really crap :o( Like you say, you've got to expect the odd joke in passing as that's what he's like, but to go on like that?

    And then the attitude when you did speak to him! What a knob (although this is something I'm not surprised at!). I bet his kid is going to be really proud of his Dad when he grows up - not!

    But I think you did wonderfully. I would have been a quivering wreck and probably not have said anything to him! You stood up to him and it's obvious that he felt crap about it.

    I know you wish you'd had a chance to say more about T but it would have been hard to say much more in that situation I think.

    You might not think it, but time and time again you prove to me, to T and to everyone (probably apart from yourself!) that you're just about the best Mum T could ever have.


  16. @Ben. People with responsibility for other people with learning difficulties come up against this all the time. This is an incorrect world, and as with Sharon, most of us are not naive about it. The difference between picking on women, or racial minorities, or vegetarians, or taxi drivers, is that these subsets can stand up and use their intellect on an equal footing, despite whatever bias they're being picked on and singled out for. This is NOT true for a person with Down syndrome, and we have to fight it on their behalf all the time. When someone makes a cheap laugh out of it they're fair game themselves for being utter gobshites. Frankie Boyle in this instance has NO defence.
    Don't be 'that guy', Ben. Nobody has to be 'that guy'. There are differences in content and in context here, and FB failed to think about or possibly care about them. I do.

  17. I am a fan of Frankie Boyle and have tickets to see him in November (will report back on whether he keeps the DS bit in, but I seriously doubt he will!)
    I imagine he died a little inside when you told him about Tanzie, and from then on desperately dug himself a hole. He started off making poor jokes about stereotypes and ended up having possibly the worst moment of his career so far.

    I'm still looking forward to seeing Frankie Boyle live (our seats are hopefully far enough back for us to remain nothing more than spectators) but I am really sorry that he chose last night to pick on a subject so close to your heart.

    I really applaud you for speaking out, and for your measured response here. Have you linked this to Twitter? I think it would be good for Frankie to read it.

  18. Hi Sharon, I came across this as it was re-tweeted and I have to say two things really struck me about this:

    1) you were *meant* to be in the front row and go through all of that so that through your upset and this blog, you could change many people's attitude to DS, including but not limited to Franky Boyle.

    2) You should be incredibly proud of yourself for the way in which you handled the situation. By writing this post you have stood up for your daughter in a much more significant way than anything you could have said at the time. Be proud.

    Keep on writing. This blog started due to a bad experience but it doesn't have to be limited to this.

    sending love,
    Kate xx

  19. What a complete ass that guy is. Your experience sounds like a nightmare, and I hope these comments help to assure you that you showed grace under pressure. Your daughter is adorable, if that's her in the picture. xo

  20. Excellent response - good for you. As someone else just commented, maybe you were there in that front row for a reason. What is your Twitter name? Have you sent links to this post to any journalists? I think you should. xx

  21. Congratulations for getting this off your chest and showing this moron for the idiot he is.

  22. The thing that comedians often seem to overlook is that actually need to be funny. It's in the job title. Nastiness alone doesn't do it!

  23. Good for you. You spoke up with courage and dignity. Today you are following up your comments with a heartfelt and beautiful tribute to your daughter and to people like her. You showed him up for the small-minded dickhead he is.

  24. Yep, as Jill says - definitely Tweet this around to the Journo boys!

  25. I'm disabled myself and I can see your point. However, when you go to see Frankie Boyle, you have to expect stuff like this, no? It's what he's like.

    Personally, I'm going to see him in May and this has not put me off. Like I said, it's part of his style. I'd be disappointed with anything else.


  26. I'd never heard of (or at least, noticed) Frankie Boyle until someone tweeted just now about your post.I'm glad I don't have a TV.

    I've seen snippets of modern TV programs occasionally, mostly via the web, and it appalls me what passes for entertainment nowadays.

    I went on his website, and clicked on a Mock The Week clip, and the first thing that came up was about the Queen: "Well, we haven't had a royal assassination in ten years..." [hoots of laughter from monkeys in the audience] "...lets get rid of her, replace her with Martine McCutcheon, so at last I can **** to the £20 note again." [more shrieks of laughter]


    To be honest, I think you asked for it. You laid down with a filthy dog, you picked up his fleas and excrement. You wanted to see what he was capable of, away from a TV studio, and boy, sounds like you got your money's-worth.

    Still, thanks for giving me another reason for avoiding TV.

  27. I am so sorry! This man is obviously a poor excuse for a human being. As a mother bear myself with 2 young cubs, I applaud (can you hear me clapping?) how you stood up to him at his own show. You go girl! BTW, your little girl is absolutely gorgeous! My twitter name is @michelezbrouder.
    Kind regards. Also my blog has the same backgroudn as yours!

  28. You are amazing. I sobbed as I read this. please follow me on @dontplaymepayme I've complained about his new series for channel 4 which was going to be called deal with this retards. The man is scum.You are dignified and eloquent and your daughter is beautiful. Well done. best Nicky x

  29. Hi S,

    I'm a bit square when it comes to humour, and I don't like humour at other people's expense - except when it's affectionate ie. comics laughing at their family members or whatever. So I would never have gone to a FB gig in the first place as I know I'd end up heckling rude words and probably being ejected.

    So I'm not really surprised by his offensive tirade tbh, but I am surprised by his reaction to you. There were a hundred ways he could've responded to this, and as a stand up, you'd think he'd be used to thinking on his feet so it's a shame he chose the worst ones.

    Don't worry about losers like him. The vast, vast majority of people in T's life do not find that kind of thing funny.

    Lots of love to you all Jx

  30. I've never been a fan of his either and hate humour that pokes fun of people in the way his does. Well done for this blog.

    I am sorry that the evening was not at all what you expected as you certainly didn't deserve what he was saying and your daughter didn't either.

    Hold your head up. It's him that should feel shame. x

  31. Hi Sharon

    I've seen links to this post flying around on Twitter all morning, and after reading it I can see exactly why.

    It's obvious to anyone who reads this post, even without knowing you, that you are a very special mother. Your daughter is truly lucky to have a mother like you, and I'm sure she knows it.

    I'd like to say that I think you did do your daughter justice by speaking out- not doing her justice would have been keeping quiet.

    As for the blog- it's hard to believe this is your first post. Please do keep it up as I have a feeling it's going to be very popular, especially when you write about your daughter.

    All the best


  32. I am so sorry you've been caused this amount of upset, but you can be confident that there is a whole world of people supporting you. Reading your excellent blog entry, where you are fair, measured, but honest has done more for the issue of DS than that man can ever do to undermine beautiful children like your daughter. And she is beautiful.

  33. This comment has been removed by the author.

  34. I'm not a fan of stand-up comedians at all - I find their franticness makes me feel ill.

    But, that's neither here nor there - Sharon, you are a truly amazing person for standing up to him the way you did. You clearly derailed him completely and probably made him realise he was being a real idiot, more so than usual.

    So, well done you. Another thing, your gutsy behaviour probably had a lot of people nodding in agreement, but few / none of them would have said something because I can guarantee you, they would have been too starstruck/flabbergasted to do so.

    I have nothing but respect for you and your lovely daughter - she looks like a bright shining star.

  35. What an arse! We saw him in Colchester and I have to agree that he made a lot of jokes about disabilities in general (autism seemed quite top of his hit list that time) and some 'jokes' about madelyn mcann which were just awful.

    We have seen lots of comedians and I can honestly say he is the only one that I would NEVER see again - he was spoiled Mock The Week for us.

    Great blog, sounds like your little one has a great mummy!

  36. Like many of the comments already posted I wanted to say well done you. As for the comment from Kate I completely agree with the idea that you were meant to be there. I came across your blog through a retweet on Twitter, your experience is having far reaching reactions. Your daughter sounds amazing and looks beautiful. The small mindedness of some people never ceases to amaze me.

    Jen xx (@relativism)

  37. I agree with Lee Ridley... It's Frankie's style. Cringeworthy, uncomfortable, offensive. What other comedian would make pedo jokes on E4?

    Everything he says is potentially offensive to someone, but you must have known that when you bought the tickets. Can you laugh at his pedo/rape jokes, but not his DS jokes, just because the former doesn't affect you personally but the latter does?

  38. I like FB, but this makes me feel sad. I bet he's hating himself for it today...

  39. Hi there. Shocking indeed!
    I'm a journalist with contacts at the Daily Mail (a friend had Facebooked the link). Happy to follow this up if you are. You can contact me at my blog.


  40. The nasty underbite of bullying comedy. I've retweeted and hopefully some online attention will land where it hurts, and stick, as Nick says.

    Lovely photo of your daughter makes it a more tolerable read!

  41. This is why I could never be a stand up comedian (apart from the fact that I'm not *actually* funny) because I would have been overcome with mortification if I'd been Frankie Boyle last night. Yes, his humour is cruel but when something like last night happens, the only way he could have retained his dignity and spared your feelings would have been to apologise and move onto another joke, end of story. You'd have been hurt, still, and keen to put right those stereotypes but you possibly wouldn't have felt so belittled today.

    I think you did the right thing in speaking up and I bet he's still smarting about it now and wishing he'd handled it better.

  42. I can sort-of understand why people were saying "you went to his show, you were expecting nastiness," but conversely it's not like you stormed the stage in a haze of Righteous Offendedness - from what I've gathered you were about to leave quietly and he asked why you were talking!

    It's not your fault that the simple, honest answer he got made him feel bad.

    It's also not your fault that he wasn't professional enough to draw a line under it and move on with his set.

  43. Saw this after a friend (Little Rambling Angel) posted on Facebook. I've never heard of this comedian but you are blessed with a beautiful daughter. You're an inspiration to talk about it with both compassion and humour.

  44. Frankie Boyle's humour isn't for everyone, but you've already said you enjoyed his type of humour, and that's the kind of material he uses. I had a cousin with DS who sadly died aged 34, but I do happen to like comedians like Jimmy Carr and Frankie Boyle, and OK not every joke is to my taste, but I'd go knowing what to expect.

    I'm not saying you're wrong or naive to have got offended, but I'm sure you must have laughed at his other jokes until that point. Who were they poking fun at?

  45. I read about your story in the Guardian newspaper and it had a link to your blog. I think you were a very brave person to actually stay in the audience and to assert yourself when he came to ask you why you were talking. I can honestly say I don't like Frankie Boyle and never have, even on Mock the week! I find his humour appalling and any comedian that makes fun of the disabled is not funny. I have a physically and mentally handicap sister and we both commend you! Your daughter looks like a lovely child and a very happy one. Nobody should make fun of that!

  46. I completely understand why you're upset, and why his 'comedy' affected you so much, but why did you go? Why go to see someone who has a well-known reputation for making horrifying jokes about all sorts of situations. You admit yourself you felt apprehensive about it when you bought the ticket, and yet you still went in the knowledge of what his stand-up routine is like.

    While it does not morally excuse poking fun at people with disabilities, you can't be so outraged about something which you had prior warning about surely? It's like someone going to a horror film and then taking offence because you don't like films with blood or scary bits in it. It might come across as harsh, and I don't mean it to offend you at all, but you knew what you were getting when you ordered the tickets.

  47. Well done, brave mama.

  48. Boyle is a vile man, and his material is to comedy what pornography is to romance. Nick Cohen wrote a great critique of the whole Mock the Week style of "humour" for Standpoint - you can read it here.

    It's a sign of how depraved Britain has become that "adults" can sit and laugh at this kind of anti-disabled material. God bless you and your daughter; 9 out of 10 kids with Downs don't even survive the womb, thanks to what we euphemistically call "parental choice" ("Lebensunwertes Leben" was the previous term of choice).

  49. Hello I stumbled over this blog through a link on twitter.

    I have to say there is no way you should feel small for what happened! You had the balls to confront him and make him justify his material which he just couldn't when it came to the crunch!

    I'm firmly of the belief that nothing is sacred when it comes to comedy but you stood up for what you believed in and that deserves admiration!

  50. Well done for speaking out about this. I'm sure many other people feel equally uncomfortable when these kind of jokes are made but are too scared to say anything. Plus people often laugh when they're nervous & uncomfotable.

    How amazing you were in the front row, and that Frankie had the gall to ask you why you were talking during his show. I salute your courage in telling him the truth. That must have been incredibly difficult with the eyes of the whole audience upon you. He got a lot more than he bargained for. It sounds excrutiating.

    Would you be willing to have a chat with me about this incident? I work for the charity Respond - we support children and adults with learning disabilities who have been abused, and campaign against disability hate crime. My direct line is: 020 7380 8258 or email me if you prefer:

    many thanks, and well done again! Louise

  51. Hello

    Well, firstly: serious brave points to you for blogging about this. Also: you haven't done yourself a disservice, because even though I don't necessarily agree with you, I think you've handled yourself in a really dignified, well-mannered way.

    Which is more than Frankie Boyle did - and I'm betting he is regretting it right now.

    Thing is, as previous posters have said, you DO know what he's like. He makes jokes about awful things, and I think in a way it's to show that comedy cannot be taboo, and I respect him for that.

    You make a really strong point (in the comments above) about how disabled people can't speak up themselves and fight back against this but a) What is there to fight back against? Most comedy is about unfair stereotypes, and even people who CAN stand up and fight back don't. b) What about the rape victims, paedophile victims, impoverished people in warzones that he also mocks? They can't fight back either, but people still laugh.

    I guess, in summary, I agree that his reaction 'I couldn't give a fuck' was very misguided: I presume he was attempting to stay in character and keep the mood light, but it didn't consider your feelings.
    I don't have a problem with the material he was using, though. Simply, you should (and clearly did) expect it. He jokes about things I don't find funny too, (because they relate to me/my life) but I know I can't regulate what people make jokes out of based on my own personal circumstances.

    (And before anyone makes comments about how I 'just don't understand' - I've worked with disabled kids for years, as have my family. Not that it matters - my opinion is just different.)

  52. I usually never respond to blog postings. I would like to say, however, that i think your post is one of the most dignified things I have ever read. I wish you the very best of luck -- you, and as you say, your beautiful little girl too.

  53. Well - I've never liked Frankie Boyle - mainly because, as you say, he is obviously extremely intelligent but avoids using it too frequently for cheap lazy shots at minorities - can't see the difference between that and Bernard Manning frankly. So in that sense, maybe you did get what you paid for and maybe that section of the show seemed longer to you because of your daughter. However - I for one am glad you did go and made him feel uncomfortable. Like you, I sense there is more to FB than his offensive humour and I hope this makes him think twice next time. There is a way of making fun of those different than yourself that aren't so bullying - that manage to poke fun at oneself at the same time and the most skillful comedians are able to do this. As I say, I think FB is just lazy and a bit of a bully.

  54. Frankie Boyle is the unfunniest man ever to walk the face of this planet. Second unfunniest is the Rev Ian Paisley. I am astounded that The Emperor's New Clothes have stood the test of time for so long. He's shallow to a depth that has to be measured by a micrometer and his material is paper-thin (and unfunny).

    Congratulations for standing up to him. I have added you to my Google Reader.

  55. So sorry. He is a total w@nker.

    I feel your frustration re. wanting to have expressed yourself better - I get that a lot!!

  56. Well.... every time I've seen Farnkie Boyle on TV I've felt he was an obnoxious, self-important, unimaginative narcissist. You could have always commmented upon his awful grating Scottish accent or the fact that his dad probably has ginger pubes.
    But you didn't and you are a better person than him for it.

  57. I can't believe the people criticizing Sharon for being offended. Even if you expect offensive material (which she did) you can't simply ignore things that you find personally offensive. And it's not like she interrupted the act or drew attention to her own discomfort - he did that himself by the sounds of it. Anyway, great job sticking up for what you believe - so many people (me included probably) would have just mumbled an apology.

  58. The frustrating thing about Mr Boyle is that he's clearly not an idiot. So as you say, it's not his choice of taboo material per se that upsets, but his style and manner: he goes for the 'ignorant bully' tactic every time, in favour of the biggest belly laugh at that moment. But it's not a long-lasting, healthy laugh. It's a shallow and cruel laugh, and does no one any favours, least of all himself.

    I get the sense he himself is actually fed up with this style, if it's true he's retiring from stand-up. Here's hoping he moves onto something more worthy. He could present a documentary about Down's Syndrome, for instance. More people would watch it than normal: it could only do good.

  59. "This was followed by a 5 minute explanation of his humour, and why he is so nasty, dry etc."

    I'm really interested to know what he said here. I know it's not the point of the post, but if you wouldn't mind expounding I'd really appreciate it/think it would help to give a little more context.

  60. I'm constantly amazed at how we all feel we've progressed and then someone getting paid large amounts of money proves that we have not - he's getting laughs every night for this shit - it's just completely unacceptable bullshit is what it is, and I wish we had a law against it rather like we have a law against racism and racist bullying. You dealt with it like a compassionate human being, and you should feel proud of yourself. I and many others are proud of you.

  61. @katy papertalk - tbh i cannot remember. i was upset, i was trying to regain my composure, whilst also trying to decide whether or not to stay in my seat or leave. He was talking about how/where he grew up and why it was ok for him to poke fun at Scotland etc but more than that I honestly cannot remember. I can ask the others who were with me last night if you want? but at the time I was too upset by the situation to actually be listening closely to him.

  62. "This was followed by a 5 minute explanation of his humour, and why he is so nasty, dry etc. He was obviously unsettled by the episode". I am pretty sure he never said anything like tha before. You touched it. And you are right, he's better than that, and probably feel bad about the incident now.
    Look at the bright side: he won't do it again, he learned something, lot of people learned something.
    Just one thing to all the people here insulting Boyle: he IS intelligent, he's not a vile. Most of you try to do his dark humor at home, just you're not good at.

  63. I'm in your corner. Keep right on.


  64. This comment has been removed by the author.

  65. Way to miss the point, Lori. Being intelligent doesn't preclude a person's being vile. Many serial killers, loan sharks and drug barons are intelligent. They're still vile. That Boyle is a talented man makes his taking cheap shots at the weak and vulnerable worse. It certainly doesn't excuse it.

    (As for the "most of you try to do his dark humor at home"... got it. So when you object to racism or homophobia, that's because you're just not as good at it as the next bigot?)

  66. I read the article about you to my 10 year old autistic spectrum sons just now. They were very proud of the way you stood up for your daughter, and so am I!

  67. One of the things that struck me most was your comment - more than once - that you felt small. Why? You had, and have, nothing to feel small about. You were caught in a situation not of your own making, and I think it took a lot of guts to tell Frankie Boyle why you were upset. Whatever else can or cannot be said about the whole sorry episode, I certainly don't think that anything about it renders you small in any way.

  68. Congratulations for showing him up. I also have a lovely, beautiful daughter with Down's syndrome. It makes me feel sick to hear about his schooyard taunts, and even more that so many people would go along with it and laugh at it. Shame on Frankie Boyle. Shame on everyone else in the audience.

  69. As for the "most of you try to do his dark humor at home"... got it. So when you object to racism or homophobia, that's because you're just not as good at it as the next bigot?
    Racism and homofobia are complex social phenomena. I can be activist for the rights of homosexuals and love humor about homosexuality's stereotypes. Actually, the best and most cynical humor on homosexuality I have ever heard came from gay's friends.
    What I recognise, is that Boyle lost the way in his humor, probably, as the author suggests, following the public's laughing. Cheap humor is never good in public.

    On being intelligents. I understand your point: Hitler was intelligent. Let's put it that way: Boyle's humor is generally intelligent. Dissacrating, and brave. That's why Sharon was disappointed, I guess: because she was expecting more of his intelligent humor.

    I have read Cohen article. It made me curious and I just ordered a book of him. But, let me say, it is one of the worst article I ever heard: pure oversimplification with a demagogic ending.

  70. Thank you! You did the right thing for your child, and mine!

  71. I can appreciate that this would upset you, but really, you should have expected it from a lousy, shock-value 'comedian' such as Frankie Boyle. I'm not sure why you would assume he is an intelligent, thought-provoking comedian, as he hasn't shown that style of humour on anything I have ever seen him on - unless you confused him with sombody else?

    As you say yourself, you like "how nasty he is", were you ok with laughing along when he made equally poor, tasteless and offensive jokes at the expense of other people, on both Mock The Week and in his live show? Was it just that part of his act touched upon something personal to you, and this altered your reaction?

    Obviously, this is just my opinion on the matter, I don't know for sure what you feel, but it was just reading your comment that you "like how nasty he is" that made me a little confused.

  72. It amazes me that you went to see a comedian known for his brash and offensive humour "out of the confines of a TV editing suite" and are surprised that you came away offended.

    How would you have felt if he were instead making jokes about paedophilia and you were someone whose child had been abused, or drink drivers and your child had been hit by a driver under the influence, or incest and your child is an incest survivor, or making jokes about race and your child was of mixed race - the list goes on.

    There are taboos and they are different for everyone, the the brand of humour adopted by comedians like Frankie Boyle is to play with them, make people think differently about them or outright break them and play with the shards.

    Comedians like Frankie Boyle or Jimmy Carr are not talentless because just they touched your sore spot by saying thoughtless and tasteless things about a subject your are sensitive about.

    If you are offended then that is your absolute right but the reason comedians like Frankie Boyle market themselves clearly is to avoid people like yourself with insecurities feeling attacked or upset.

    If you buy front row tickets to a gig marketed as offensive then you must remember that his words are meant to entertain and amuse and are not about your daughter specifically. When he jokes that what he said is true it is because he is a comedian trying to rectify a bad situation.

    It appears that he did what he could to explain himself to you and the audience but you must understand that you went to see an offensive comedian, it just so happens that he hit your sore spot.

    It shows a lack of imagination to sit in an audience and watch a comedian on TV and laugh when other are being offended without realising that at some point it may be your turn.

  73. Well done for speaking up for your daughter. I know you said you don't feel you did enough but I would guess that you brought FB up short, on stage he panicked and dug himself a hole. I would hope that given more time to reflect he realises the impact his words can have and uses them a little more wisely in the future.

  74. You are such a great ambassador for your daughter and you put this across really clearly and in a way that is really moving. Thanks for your post. You've made a lot of people think (not just Boyle).

  75. No, no worries, I can totally understand, and empathise. I was just curious as to his own mental process and opinions on what he does, the kind of jokes he makes, "mocking the weak", etc. I just wonder how he justifies it to himself, or if he even feels like he *has* to justify it; if he's trying to make the audience question their own attitudes by leading them into laughing about some pretty awful/dark stuff (like I believe, say, Ricky Gervais does, or tries to do anyway), or if he really is just playing it all for yuks. I'll be interested to see if he offers any kind of response to your post, as it seems to be causing quite the internet ruckus. I'm sorry you had such a horrible experience.

  76. I was wondering if you would like to repost this over at

    Regardless of the type of humor this man is known for, you had the right to call him on it. Whether you paid to come to his show or not.

    You received a wide range of comments here. Regardless of whether or not people agree, you've given them something to think about, which is what advocacy is all about.

    Tammy and Parker
    @ParkerMama on Twitter

  77. You spoke up, and you certainly didn't let your daughter down - well done!

  78. Good for you for saying something, your gorgeous daughter will be so rightly proud of you.

  79. Thank God you posted this! I'm like you, I never have the right words at the right time - but you've said it just perfectly here and the impact you're having is fabulous!

    Normally people are too PC-obsessed to actually voice their ignorance and prejudice - it's a shame that the laughs he got show the true attitude of many of the audience.

    Our eldest son is 4 and has DS. He's fabulous. Keep blogging, please!! xxx

  80. A Facebook friend posted about you and this incident,and I just want to say good for you for standing up for your child when you felt so uncomfortable and public!

    I have a 4 1/2 year old with DS and Autism. She's beautiful and well groomed and I plan to teach her how to stay that way. That's my responsibility, not hers.

    I don't think our kids are sacred when it comes to humor, but there is a line. It sounds like this comic crossed it.

    I've only read the online accounts of the show, but it does sound like juvenile and ignorant humor. Making fun of the way a person with DS talks is like making fun of a person with a limp since the speech patterns are the result of anatomy, not a reflection of IQ.

    I respect what you said above - you were prepared that this type of humor might be part of the show, but did not expect the bullying type of humors that kids who just want to be mean use on the playground.

    Hopefully, Mr. Boyle will stop hiding behind his comedy style and recognize that even comics who pride themselves on pushing the envelope can go too far.

    able2able... Your Special Needs Resource Directory

  81. I'm in two minds about this. I'll take your word that the jokes he was making were as childish as you say, in which case I do think he was being pretty deplorable. 'Offensive' humour I think is far too often misused under the guise of it being 'ironic' or 'satire' when it's simply insensitive. Shock can be a powerful tool for making a point, but you have to think very carefully about what point you are making if you use it, and far too many comedians don't. I think it's very irresponsible of comedians to simply encourage people to laugh in this way at something they are ignorant of, without any good reason, and as you say it amounts to playground bullying.

    However, this does remind me somewhat of the woman who wrote to, saying she enjoyed the site but was asking them to remove a photo of a stillborn feotus, as she had lost a child herself and found the photo upsetting. The owner's response was "So you were laughing at others' misfortune, until you were reminded of your own? How ironic". It does seem to me that there's a hint of 'it's alright until the target is me' here. I appreciate that you were merely answering Boyle's question, not causing a scene on purpose, and fair play for such a measured response, but surely this is something to bear in mind next time you find yourself laughing at an 'offensive' comedian, even when the subject isn't so close to home.

  82. Brilliant post - fully support your measured and thoughtful response to a horrible situation.

  83. Pauline said: Good for you. Children with DS can't speak for themselves so glad you shamed him. But why go and see a comedian that is nasty - and he is. There are good comedians that don't make sterotypical jokes - when we support those that do we are as bad because they get more work, more fame and they encourage other comedians. This makes it harder for comedians who are genuinely different so don't fret at being in the front row - that shamed him - fret about why the f... you were there.

  84. I'm sorry - you went to see Frankie Boyle, famous for jokes so near the knuckle they practically rip the skin off - and you're surprised that he picked on special needs?

    As for the berk who said he 'had contacts with the Daily Mail' - give it up, please. If there's one thing we DON'T need, it's more of those right-wing nutjobs censoring our comedy.

    As someone with an autistic spectrum disorder, it is easy for me to brush off what he says about autism or something like that - that's why theatres have exits and televisions have off buttons.

  85. Although Frankie Boyle was in the wrong here as a 'fan' did you not know this was his thing? Is it only unacceptable when it is someone close to you being targeted?
    Why did you not walk out?
    I see very little evidence of self examination here. I am sick to death of this kind of pathetic nasty humour - the 70s with a twist.
    'I live for Glitter' - what have you done to contribute to this phenomenon? Do you not feel any guilt for your own actions in supporting this trend? Frankie Boyle, Jimmy Carr, Jonathon Ross - all funny but all offensive. You seem to have decided up until now which quality was more important to you. Now you have changed your mind an honest blog would recognise this.

  86. Fantastic post Sharon. Funny how we all think of exactly how we should have reacted after the event. Oh well, thank goodness for blogs where we get to say what we should have said in real life!

    BTW, your daughter looks gorgeous!!!

  87. First of all .. what a beautiful little girl!!!!
    you should me very proud of her :-)
    I have been sent your link by a friend, living abroad I havn't been confronted with the all media stuff and must admit I haven't read all your comments... far too many ;-)...but I can relate to your story.. since I have a girl with Jacobsen Syndrome, very rare, but quite like Downs, since she is very outgoing, social and happy. I, like you, always thought things like this wouldn't bother me, but having read this my stomack turned. It's not so much the jokes, its the way that he handeld it, or should I say didn't!!! Having a disabled child makes your life difficult in many ways, but enrich it in so so many more ways too......

  88. I as a parent of a child with Down's syndrome cannot begin to understand what it must of been like for you sat there with the comedian coming out with a barage of jokes about ds and worse still all the audience laughing; sometimes I feel we havent come a long way as a society to respect people with disabilities, been different even without a disability brings jokes and hate. But this comedian got his due reward, there is noway he would of known you were the proud mother of a wonderful child, perhaps though the smallness is how society makes us parents feel, how ever day its a fight just to get your child the acceptance, support and quality in a bias world (including professionals) but you actually orse aboue been small by saying your piece, you had paid your ticket, been asked a question which would mean fb got far more than he intended; sadly this world has many fb's

  89. Hi Sharon. I am also a mother of a child with disabilities and cannot ever understand why these 'comedians' continue to get away with attacking those that they see as easy targets. Well done for standing up for yourself and your daughter and who knows maybe this will be the first step in eradicating these kind of offensive 'jokes'. I hadn't known about the name of his new channel 4 show but I will be complaining about it. Why encourage this sort of discrimination.
    Good luck and well done Sharon.

  90. Statistically most of the people in that room would have had family members who would have been touched by cancer. You didnt see them shouting out at cancer gags. You cant pick and choose what you get offended by just because it affects you or a member of your family.

    You also failed to mention that you were texting as well as chatting thats why you got picked out, pretty disrespectful in itself.

    As for not knowing what he would be like?? Come on, he's known as one of the most controversial comics out there, you knew what you were in for.

    If you dont like it, get up and pretend to go to the toilet and leave, dont ruin the show that the rest of us were enjoying. THANKS.

  91. Well done Sharon for posting this.

    Discrimination is not funny. Sounds like you stood up for you daughter and shamed him.


  92. swapped my settings to moderating posts - not because i plan to censor any responses, but because i dont want spam on here.

    I might have messed it up though as thought i had pressed publish for a post by @apples but its not showing

    Anyway to answer @apples reply to me - we never shouted out at any point. Frankie Boyle asked us what was wrong, we merely replied. And my husband was not texting anybody, he was merely holding his phone, in case the babysitter should call us to say we were needed at home. He was fiddling with it nervously but at no point pressed any buttons or texted/messaged anyone. And finally, I did not want to stand up and leave in front of everyone, as I thought i would become the butt of his joke. I did not plan to make a stand, I did not plan to say anything. I only answered a question posed to us by Frankie Boyle, who had obviously noticed us looking upset/uncomfortable.

    I am sorry if we ruined your evening, that was never my intention.

  93. oh good, i didnt mess up, your reply to me is there after all. Good.

    Meant also to say that I have never heard him make fun of people with disabilities before. I know its a sensitive subject for me, and avoid comedians who use that as a topic as much as possible. I have never heard Frankie Boyle use this in his material before (ie on TV) and will now avoid him in the same way I avoid Jimmy Carr shows.

  94. Hi Sharon,

    Dont worry, you didnt ruin the night as I thought Frankie dealt with the whole situation very well. It may have been uncomfortable for you (as it was for just about everyone there)but trust me he never talked down to you or tried to humiliate you. Not from where I was sitting.

    Yes he made generalisations about people with DS but isn't most comedy generalisations? The Canadian warm up made generalisations about British people for 30 mins.

    You also seemed to avoid the question about whether you laughed at the jokes before the DS part of the show? Were they funny because they didnt affect you?

    I dont mean to be rude and I know it must be difficult to laugh at things so close to home but I didn't see much wrong with the set.

  95. @apples - yes I did laugh at jokes before the 5-10mins about people with DS. I also winced at a lot of them too. I particularly winced at his continued use of the words retard and mongoloids.

    And i think that poking fun at a country is very different to poking fun at people with a specific genetic condition or indeed people with disabilities.

    I didnt make a stand last night, I didnt shout at him. This blog was not written with a view to getting my viewpoint out to anyone other than my friends on facebook and twitter.

    And as for what was wrong with his set - people with DS do not have bad haircuts. They do not all die young. They do not have old parents with bad fashion sense. They do not all talk with the voice that Frankie Boyle put on last night - and if they do speak like that then it is because of a physical problem/the shape of their mouth/tongue etc.

    The canadian comedian was funny as he was making fun of the english and his jokes were knowledgable and mainly had a point to them (for instance i had never realised that there were no speed signs on our motorways, who knew??), whereas Frankie Boyles jokes about DS were based on old, out of date, wrong stereotypes. The jokes were based on his ignorance and just continue to spread the idea that people with DS are ugly with bad hair, bad clothes and old out of touch parents. This couldnt be much further from the truth...

  96. So you laughed about people with cancer and Aids but when it got too close to home it stopped?

    That doesnt portray you in a positive light. Just makes you sound selfish.

    Its is a stastical FACT that the chances of having a DS baby increases with age.

    It is also a stastical FACT that people with DS die earlier than "normal" people.

    Its may not happen but on average it does.

    These facts maybe uncomfortable to you but and Im very sorry you have to deal with this but as FB said its true.

    The whole situation was a case of wrong place at the wrong time but I think this blog is very one sided appraisal of what I witnessed last night.

    I wish you all the best for raising your young girl I think you are wonderful for you are doing but Im afraid you are very wrong on this one.

  97. yes it is a statistical fact that the chances of having a baby with DS increases the older you get HOWEVER the majority of babies with DS are born to mums under 35 - fact!

    and yes people with DS have a lower life expectancy but not to the extent he was suggesting last night. Most live to old age these days (historically it was heart problems that caused a lower life expectancy but better scanning/treatment has helped improve that).

    And where did i say I laughed about cancer or aids? I said i laughed at some of his jokes and i winced at some.

    I dont believe I will get you to change your viewpoint, and I do not have the time or energy to get into further discussion about it (my bed calls!) so I will leave it there.

    Obviously my blog is one sided, it is my point of view. I wrote it for my purposes (to communicate with my friends and for therapeutic reasons - as you will see from my post above), I did not write it to cause a huge media storm. In fact if anything i am feeling quite upset and vulnerable about how big this has become today.

    I am obviously more naive than i thought.

    Good night!

  98. Sorry, but I don't see the difference between jokes about countries/race etc and jokes about disability. There's always someone that's the butt of the joke.

    Like I said, I'm disabled myself and I've laughed at jokes about disability before. It's all to do with context. Personally, I think most things are acceptable at comedy gigs but then I have got a very weird sense of humour!

    To be honest, if I didn't laugh at myself at times, my life would be much more depressing! I'm not saying I'd enjoy every joke but you have to take the rough with the smooth. As long as it's not overty personal, I don't see the problem.

    I'm sorry you had a rubbish evening though and I respect you an awful lot for your actions and for this blog. Not many people would have been as bold.

  99. A majority of DS babys being born to woman under 35?

    Surely something to do with a majority of babies being born to woman under 35.

    See the stats below:

    The likelihood of having a baby born with Down's syndrome increases with the mother's age:

    * 20 years - 1 in 1,500
    * 25 years - 1 in 1,300
    * 30 years - 1 in 900
    * 35 years - 1 in 350
    * 40 years - 1 in 100
    * 45 years - 1 in 30

  100. i never disputed that. but what i was saying was that he was wrong to say that babies with DS have old out of touch parents - the majority of babies with DS have been born to mums under 35.

    And i really am off to bed now.

  101. I like Boyle as well and, as some people have mentioned here, sometimes you have to find humour in the places you are, especially when you've not chosen them. As a parent of an autistic child there are some moments which leave my wife and I laughing, some sobbing. Boyle is clever, but not someone I would choose to spend time with as I can imagine what he has to say and I hope he doesn't find himself in a similar place.

    Anyhow: don't agree with Apples in some ways - if something's upsetting it's upsetting and not easy to step aside from. You didn't expect the routine to go the way it did and Boyle deserved to se the result of his unrepentant nastiness at close quarters. Then again I agree with Apples a little as well, his comedy is about targetting people less lucky than himself and so at some point he's going to get onto something that we can be hurt by. It's a clever form of distanced bullying but bullying regardless.

    What I do think is that you (glitter) have coped with this magnificently, written about it succinctly, and have done brilliantly for both yourself and your daughter. I can imagine how upsetting all of this can have been and hope that when the comments have blown over you can remember the positive ones most and the negative ones least.

  102. Grrr spent half an hour writing a post and it doesn't seem to have been posted. Oh well.

    Anyhow from the post and the replies you've done magnificently. Boyle is clever and affable in places but ateotd a clever bully is a bully regardless. I hope that you can take more from the positive posts than from the negatives... As a parent of a child with ASD I only hope I can stand up as positively - at the time and in this blog - as you have done if ever put in such a hurtful place.

  103. Sharon - what a dignified and intelligent response. Your daughter will be proud. Frankie Boyle is very funny - but that's just cheap comedy that does little to stop stigma and misconception.
    Best wishes

  104. .... this is all getting a bit silly Apples. A blog's a blog isn't it? Sharon was never saying she was being consistent in her critique of FBs show, she was just describing how her evening got spoilt by some jokes she wasn't expecting to hear, or I would guess feel offended by. I would guess it has started a re-appraisal on her part of the kind of humour she finds acceptable. All perfectly understandable. To start quoting statistics to try and back up FBs use of people with DS as the butt of his jokes is entirely besides the point.

    ... I think she's admitted she made a bit of a mistake and she has apologised if she ruined everyone's evening. All perfectly human.

  105. It sounds like a relentless onslaught. Really sorry you were put through this and that FB was so graceless as to compound the damage with his response to your distress. Your post has a lot more style and humanity than he'll ever have.

  106. I don't think I've ever liked Frankie Boyle, now I never will. You should make a post about why all of his stereotypes were wrong, considering the amount of views you're getting.

  107. It's all fun and games as long as you are laughing at someone else. How many of those other stereotypes, that you laughed at are also false or misleading? Not enough for you to be upset by those jokes. Only when it impacted you do you get upset. Get over yourself.

  108. We have a son with autism and there is no one more qualified to to laugh (or cry) than the parents and siblings of anybody with a disability. It does however have to BE FUNNY!!! stereo-typing pisses me off (excuse the language).The entire point of observational humour is to as it states, to observe. All he appeared to do (allegedly,ha ha ha)was to take some childhood playground taunting and put it on stage.
    Its a shame when a man who although apologetically cutting (shall we say)and seems very intelligent with most of his humour and observations. Has to lower himself to get a cheap laugh. I know i would much prefer to work at something than just poke fun.
    for all the hard work I am sure he puts in.....
    He will lose a lot of fans and support over this.

  109. @Apples I don't think you're quite getting the point, had they been clever or observant jokes about disability then maybe even if the author didn't laugh at them, they wouldn't have offended as they wouldn't have been out and out wrong. The point is they were wrong and it doesn't really matter what situation you're in, stating things as fact to lots of people who may not know better and telling them wrong things would offend those who know better surely?

  110. You're a legend. I can only imagine the pressure you must have been under to keep your moth shut, but you didn't, you stood up for your daughter.

    I know you didn't want, or ask for, all this attention, but I just wanted to say I don't blame you in the least for being affected by the jokes. Of course it's going to feel different when it's your daughter he's mocking.

    She's beautiful, by the way. No wonder you're a proud parent.

    A x

  111. Oh for goodness sake. I for one do not feel sorry for you. Why go and see Frankie in the first place?! EVERYONE knows what he is like. Isn't it sad that you can laugh at jokes about other people but can't laugh at ones about yourself? So you were offended, so what? Get a grip woman, there are worse things going on in the world than someone joking about DS.

  112. I couldn't bear Boyle after seeing his first standup DVD - That was just saying offensive things to illicit a laugh in the absence of jokes as well. Such a shame when clever comedians like Dave Gorman or Alun Cochrane are out there.

    I'm just waiting for the Daily Mail to get hold of this.

  113. Unfortunately, what Frankie says one night, finds it's way into the playground one day, it becomes accepted. It gets throw around as taunts and ends up at bullying. People have commited suicide recently because of the intolerence shown to people with disabilities.

    I thought we had got away from this sort of humour, it's not far from the racist comedians of the seventies and Chubby Brown etc. Yes, offense has its place but it needs to be directed at more deserving targets or for more deserving reasons.

  114. You were hardly seeing "Happy Fluffy Laughter Time with Frank Funnyface Love-You-All Boyle" though, were you?

  115. You got my back.
    Frankie is one of many that makes fun of other people's challenges, That's why I'm not a big fan of stand-uppers.
    It is tasteless and disrespectful.
    I'm the proud father of a 3-year old daughter myself and I think it's important that she learns to treat people of all ages with respect and not to make fun of people, no matter what challenge they are up against.
    You have a lovely little girl by the way, she looks so sweet.


  116. Your husband runs an online book company- which one? I will publicise it.

  117. Reminds me of that couple of girls who went on Watchdog to complain about all the drink and sex at a club 18/30 holiday.

    So you don't mind him offending others, but when you have a nerve touched.. that's wrong. How hypocritical of you.

  118. Your daughter is honestly so pretty! Hope she always knows that (cos in life, she is going to meet lots of nit wits like Boyle who would try to knock it out of her).

    And don't worry abotu "not doing justice" for your daughter; you did your best. Actually, your clear headed response under such attack is admirable. Most of us would have struggled to defend ourselves if we found ourselves/ loved ones so unexpectedly under attack. I think you did a pretty good job.

    As for me, I'll never throw a penny in Boyles direction, ever! I must say that the puerileness of so much stand up "comedy", their thinking it is okay to make fun of "easy targets" is one of the key reasons I'm not interested in seeing any of the shows. I hear Michael McIntyre's not like that though. May be I'll check him out some day.

  119. He wasn't funny, your daughter is beautiful and to attack those who can't defend themselves is inexcusable. End of.

  120. A fine example of an idiot comedian who thinks he can say anything and call it 'humour.' It's not unlike the Ross/Brand fiasco. This is not humour, it's a form of bullying and they are safe because their targets cannot answer back. This man should never be on seen on the BBC again. I don't want my licence fee being used to support this sick, talentless man.

  121. What I complete swine that man is.

  122. I really feel for you! I attended a Frankie Boyle gig last year at Hammersmith Apollo and had to leave the gig in tears.

    He discussed abused children and actually said there was a reason the unattractive ones are the ones who are usually found safe and well. He even used Shannon Matthews as his example. He continued to say the most disgusting comments that were simply not funny but cruel!
    I left the gig when it got too much, dragging my poor fiancee with me and burst into tears before Id even left the venue. I've never experienced anything like him and hope to never see the likes of him again! He is disgusting!

  123. This is an excellent blog, Sharon, and I fully support your viewpoint here, in fact, I'm appalled to read about the behaviour of Frankie Boyle. I'm not a fan of his kind of "comedy", if indeed it can be called comedy, rather than mindless abuse!

    I am an ex-drama teacher, and I once taught a delightful girl who had Down's Syndrome. She was worth more than a million Frankie Boyles!

  124. You'd think Mr Boyle would've come to terms with being ginger by now wouldn't you?

  125. I'm sorry, but you're an idiot. Have you ever seen Frankie Boyle before? He regularly mentions Down's Syndrome and if you're (understandably) sensitive to that, why on earth would you pay for front row seats where you're very likely to be singled out?

    He wasn't slagging off your daughter, he was getting his laughs in the usual crude way he does, and you paid to see him do it. Down's Syndrome is a serious issue but you leave those issues at the door when you go to watch Frankie Boyle. Anybody with sense knows that.

    Quit playing the hard-done-to game and using it for publicity, your 'story' doesn't make Boyle look bad it merely portrays you as an attention-seeking fool I'm afraid.

  126. This is wonderful stuff - well done Sharon for standing up for your daughter.

    The most fascinating part is where you describe your feelings as you speak truth to power - it sounds like you felt humiliated and small. Yet the facts speak for themselves: your courage has shown you to be someone with pride and strength, who took a difficult choice in the moment and stood firm when challenged.

    I love comedy when it brings down those who aggrandise themselves (like dishonest politicians or aggressive TV comedians). This can cause problems - I have little time for Jonathan Ross and Frankie Boyle, I also have little time for the kind of overkill reaction that led to the whole of BBC Comedy tiptoeing about in an atmosphere of Daily Mail-created paralysis.

    I love comedy when it tickles my own liberal complexes about right and wrong, and when a comic gets this right it can be powerfully funny - into this bracket fall gags about race, gender, disability and so forth. When pitched right (and that is the point that we all argue about) these jokes target me and my assumptions about a members of a group rather than the group itself, which is why it is different hearing jokes about fat birds from Jo Brand, or about disabled people from Francesca Martinez. They also force us to confront the most important issue about minority groups - that they aren't ultimately groups, or issues, but actual individual people whose race, disability, sexuality is not necessarily the defining element of their identity. Hence Sharon's photograph of her real, beautiful daughter here is a complete and forceful rebuttal of Boyle's lazy and dumb schtick. Wish I'd heard his explanation of 'why I'm so awful'.

  127. I do empathize, but you knew what kind of comedian Boyle was when you bought the ticket. And you chose to sit near the front.

  128. You can't be a fan of controversial humour and then pick and choose what is acceptable for dark humour which is blatently what Frankie Boyle is. I think you either find it all funny, or none of it at all. at least should be prepared for jokes about molestation, cancer, dead babies, etc and when down syndrome comes up it would really be of no suprise and maybe you may find it less humourous than the rest of the content it's almost hipocritical as well as rather naive to have disagreed to the point of taking offence.

  129. 1. Go to comedian's gig, specifically because he's "dry... nasty... [and] clever", and "to hear him say things he could not get away with on mainstream TV".

    2. Arrive fully expecting to hear nastiness directed at a *whole bunch* of inappropriate groups and subjects.

    3. Get all surprised and butt-hurt when Boyle happens to touch on the one group *you* identify with, instead of allowing you to continue laughing along with him at all the *other* groups you don't give a flying crap about.

    You're nothing but a hypocrite, who got exactly what she asked for, but didn't think through what she asked for enough to make sure it was what she actually wanted.

    And lest anyone think this comment is motivated by some rabid Frankie Boyle fanboyism, I hate the guy and his attempts at "comedy".

    I just hate self-regarding, puffed-up hypocrites with a complete absence of justification even more.

  130. It make me so mad and upset that a so called comedian or comedians have to try and make people laugh by making jokes about children and adults with you two stopped in your seats takes great courage,me i would have punch him in the mouth.

    West Yorkshire

  131. Minxymadam. So you think that people with children who have a shortened life expectancy should "get a grip" do you? People like you are a worry for the future.

  132. Good on you for posting this (came via a twitter feed). Someone said "Keep on writing. This blog started due to a bad experience but it doesn't have to be limited to this."

    I wouldn't like you to be seen as "starting a witch hunt" against FB as some people seem to think your response is - that only serves to give more publicity to his mis-guided concepts.

    More about the joys (and pain) of living with disabled people of all kinds is what we need.

    My DS son loves laughing at comics - not sure how much it he understands mind.

  133. Just heard you on 5 Live. Top marks and respect to you for standing up to this inadequate fool. The argument that you are fair game at events like this simply doesn't hold water. You politely and respectfully gestured that you didn't wish to be singled out for very personal reasons but he carried on anyway. What a pathetic bully. Glad he met his match, more power to you.

  134. So you went to a shock humour comedy show and laughed at the remarks that would offend others and as soon as a joke offended you, you got pissed off.

    "loved his humour, how dry he is, how nasty he is". As long as he is not being nasty towards you or someone you know your fine with it! Now you have the nerve to complain about one that offends you.

    You are a hypocrite!

  135. Dude what the hell were you expecting?ITS FRANKIE BOYLE!!!!!! You never seen his act before?If you're easily offended by stuff DON'T GO! Instead you ruined the show for everyone else

  136. Are his remarks about D.S not breaking the law? Are the organisers of the event, breaking the law because they know his humour surrounding disability- surely there must be some responsibility on their part as well?

    peter street

  137. Seems to me that Boyle is only capable "entertaining" at the expense of someone else's misfortune. Time we stopped buying tickets for his shows. television companies stopped giving him air time and he slipped into the slime where he so blatantly belongs
    Graham Mills

  138. Hi, I found the link to your blog on sky news, you dont know me but as a frankie boyle fan and a person with cerebral palsy i just felt i had to comment.

    I'm sorry but you CANNOT get FRONT ROW SEATS to a FRANKIE BOYLE gig and then kick up a fuss just because he completely rips into something that you happen to have personal experience of and it makes you feel uncomfortable.

    Presumably if the words 'Downs Syndrome' had been replaced with any other disability in that particular routine, you would have continued laughing, as I'm sure you did during the other parts of his set?

  139. I agree with Daveytyke. Well done for telling him what you think. To all those that say it's only 'joking' I say that this kind of behaviour creates the conditions for allowing people to think that attacking disabled people physially is OK. It's not and should be a crime.

  140. I found out about this story on the Digital Spy forum which, in turn, linked to a story on the Chortle website. So Sharon please don't apologise for how big this story has become, you've struck a nerve with many people who think you're a hero for standing up to a bully. It doesn't matter that this is a highly-paid professional who can hide behind a veneer of humour, his attitude is no better than the dregs of the school yard.

    I love a wide range of comedy from all ages, including a lot of risqué, controversial stuff, but Boyle only ever comes across as cold and vicious. I've never seen the appeal of him and I certainly wouldn't pay a penny to see him live, so I can see why people are saying you should have known what you were getting. This is a classic case, though, of someone who can't take what he dishes out and you've handled yourself with more dignity than he's shown in his whole career.

    Congratulations and best wishes.

  141. Presumably Mrs Smith, you had no problems with him making jokes about gay people, women, people living with HIV, the terminally ill, Princess Diana, bomb victims, old people, immigrants, disabled people, child abuse, animal abuse, terrorism or Iraq.

  142. Most of the people who are here disagreeing with Sharon's viewpoint have a perfectly valid viewpoint, for them. Being guardian of someone who will need your voice to a far greater degree that 'normal' kids is a total gamechanger. This is one of the points that you are missing above, @apples. When you say 'Im afraid you are very wrong on this one' you are forgetting to add that that is your opinion only. You are entitled to it, of course, but it does not make it the universal truth. None of us has that, and some of us realise it. In the meantime we will go about doing what we need to do for our special children, having the wonderful and different emotional highs that you may never get to experience, and fighting the specific fights that we must to protect these loving, giving and innocent people who are being set up for a lifetime of playground/bus stop/supermarket/swimming pool/name a venue abuse by unthinking idiots like Frankie Boyle. If you're lucky you'll also get to live a life where you don't need to experience that either. It is clear that you do not have this understanding, and that is not your fault, but condescending to Sharon, and to us, about how simply wrong we are to want to be who we have to be makes you wrong. And stepping into the forum of a woman who has a child with Down syndrome and quoting the statistics of age v likelihood makes you twice as wrong. We are not dealing with a statistical argument here. We are already aware of how 'inconvenient' our children are. The statistics - 90%+ of Down syndrome babies are terminated in the womb in the UK - are about as funny as Frankie Boyle's ability to spot an easy target.

  143. Punching you in the face would have been preferable? Honestly I think it's a shame he didn't.

    You have demonstrated hypocrisy and a sense unwarranted self-importance by laughing at the misfortune of others but not being able to laugh at your own.

    People like you ruin comedy for the rest of us who can accept that nothing should be sacred. If 'mongoloid' jokes were off limits, then everything else you've chuckled at would have to be too!

    Sorry, but that's not fair. We either laugh at everyone, or we laugh at no one.

    Get over yourself. You do not deserve special treatment. Please don't ever watch this kind of comedy again. The comedians don't want you watching and spoiling their careers with your tears, and neither do we. Go away.

  144. I understand that you're upset but if you watch Mock the week you should have expected this kind of humour. All I'm getting from this article is that he can joke about whatever he wants just once you haven't had to deal with the issue personally.

  145. Get over it, you knew what Frankie's humour was like when you bought the tickets. Comedy has no barriers, to create limits is facism. There are many great shows and comedians who make jokes about nuff-nuffs and r/tards. As has been said before you laughed at the other stuff but didn't like it when it got close to home. Stay away from comedy nights in future.

  146. Why would you want to go and see this man in the first place anyway? You obviously like his sense of humour otherwise you wouldn't have booked tickets to go and see him? Now you know what it's like to be on the receiving end of an offensive joke that is too much to bear given your own personal circumstances? Your daughter is beautiful - she certainly doesn't deserve ridicule because of her disability. It's not nice to make fun of anyone who is more disadvantaged than ourselves, is it?

  147. "I expected dry, nasty, crude humour, yes, but unimaginitive humour poking fun at the stereotype of people with Down syndrome was not something that I expected. "

    So it's OK when Boyle (and his ilk) act like disgusting bullies to everyone else, but when someone's precious child is mocked then suddenly it's beyone the pale ????

    For the record I can't any stand bullying comedy. "Jokes" about people are vunerable minorities and those already on the fringes of social acceptance, it is picking on the weak and is pathetic and foul.

  148. As some have pointed out, THIS IS A BLOG! The author should not be criticised for writing down her experiences on HER BLOG. Take the flame-throwing to some discussion forum or something. As David said, this is all getting a bit silly.

    Glitter: Please don't be discouraged from blogging after all this. Keep it up. You have a great style, and you're a very eloquent and articulate writer. Rock on.

  149. I signed up here because after reading the news story and then reading your account I don't think I have ever encountered such a hypcritical person such as yourself.

    You find offensive humour funny but don't like it when the jokes start hitting close to home.

    I'm quite surprised the audience didn't start booing you - your attitiude is in complete contrast with both the performer and those that pay to see him - find another comedian, one that'll only offend targets of society you like to laugh at.

  150. Good Lord, there are some idiots in these comments, aren't there?
    Well said, Sharon. Boyle may market himself as an offensive comedian, but he still crossed the line.
    You, on the other hand, haven't been 'small and pathetic' - despite what he's said, you've probably made Boyle sit up and think about his act.

  151. If you go to see a comedian that is known for caustic, insulting humour, then you have to expect to be shocked. I've had cancer and I wince when comedians take the micky - what the hell is there to be funny about cancer? But that doesn't mean I don't laugh at their other jokes, which undoubtedly will be at the expense of others - whether it's a situation, a minority or a celebrity committing an indiscretion. It's his humour.

    It's what you paid good money to go and see. He's utterly tasteless, totally hillarious & wasn't having a personal dig. He was making light of a situation in the same way that he always does. You can't go to see a comedian like Frankie and expect him to tone down - you yourself said you wanted to see him without the confines of the TV editing suite & that's eactly what you got. You live and learn.

  152. I had absolutely no clue who F Boyle was until his 'spoon' incident, and decided to watch Mock of the Week. Wow what a waste of time, that show in itself is absolute trite, and anyone who enjoys crass humour which isn't even humour, is a moron.

    I'm not sure why people find Frankie Boyle funny, his 'comedy' is on the same level as Bernard Manning. Cheap shots which are desperately seeking to be on the edge, but are actually asinine attempts which fall flat.

    The only people who find his comedy funny, probably read the Daily Mail.


  153. As a fellow parent with a child with Down Syndrome (my son Ronan turns 14 on Monday), not only do I think you've done your beautiful daughter proud, you've done all the people with DS and all the people who know someone with DS proud! And don't believe anyone who tells you otherwise.

  154. Congratulations for standing up to him at all. Most other people would have been too embarassed and just sat there, sweating with the prickly heat of fury.

    I do think that FB can be very funny indeed, but I've stopped watching most things with him in because sometimes he is just that - too close to the bone.

    I agree with many of the posts here though, the ones who say "you know what he's like", but it still doesn't feel nice when it's too close to you.

    Your daughter looks lovely and I am sure you and your husband are very proud of her.

  155. Respect to you Sharon for maintaining your self control.
    From a front row seat, I'd have gone for him with every intent of punching his mouth in.
    What a classless idiot. I hope his career nose-dives after this.

    Shane, Dublin

  156. @ Mekon: You signed up to Blogger JUST so that you could call the author a hypocrite?
    Wow. Just... wow.
    The words "get a life" spring to mind here.

  157. Im sorry but you have to be the biggest hypocrite ever.
    As you said, you were well aware before of Frankie Boyle's style of humour before buying the tickets. You said you enjoyed all his previous jokes, except this one. Why?? Because it was too close to home for you. Why is it ok that you can laugh at Frankie Boyle's jokes that are the expense of other people, but not at you?

    2nd of all you bought front row tickets to a comedy gig, an experienced comedy goer like yourself already know that you are likely to be singled out and poked fun of, its what happens at ALL comedy gigs. So you can't exactly go crying that he picked you out and you didn't like it.

    As you said, everyone else in the audience was laughing at the DS jokes, so I can only assume the joke wasn't that bad, and it was just too close to home for you. If it really was that bad, no-one else would have laughed.

    Im sorry but im 100% on team Frankie for this one. You just appear to be another riled Daily Mail reader craving attention!

  158. I hope this becomes bigger than he is (won't be difficult). I have never liked this type of humour so wouldn't personally have gone.
    It has always amazed me that these people make money out of pointing out the obvious and poking fun at other people’s misfortune. Perhaps in some way the ‘joke’ backfired as he became the target after you pointed out why you were upset – they rely on people not biting back.
    Anyway as some have pointed out here – don’t go!! - find some nice ‘proper’ comedians!

  159. Wonderfully written blog and right on. Disgusted at FB, although I never did like him.

    There is dry humour and there is ignorant, offensive humour. It sounds like his was the latter. I cannot believe that you were the only one in the audience to be offended, but you were certainly the only one who had the courage to speak out (although granted, he approached you). Even so, you could have shrugged it off and not told him or everyone what you felt. It takes a lot to stand up to the majority, and few people can do it. You did and however traumatised you and your family have been from the experience, that is something you should take heart from.

    I am disabled myself, and have had a few humiliating situations in my time as a result of my physical disability. It's taught me strength and given me a sense of social justice. It sounds like you (and obviously your daughter when she gets older) are experiencing the same, esp from the blog. Kudos to you! :)

    Thank you for posting. You're not alone.


  160. Well done you I have a daughter with DS she is 4 months old. Some guy on Face book wrote about sticks and stone may break your bones but words can never hurt you, but when it's your child words do hurt as they are vulnerable.
    I only have one thing to say with all the technology we have in this world you never can tell an arsehole till he opens his mouth x
    Thank you for sticking up for my daughter x

  161. I'll happily punch frankie in the face for you if I happen to see him around. We'll see if he doesn't give a f*ck then...

  162. "The only people who find his comedy funny, probably read the Daily Mail."

    What a stupid baseless comment!

    You probably cry into your pillow every night of the cruelty of this world - if you go to see Frankie Boyle you know what his style of commedy is, sorry live with it.

    We can all be sensitive but the fact remains commedy is usually laughing at someone elses misfortune - reality hurts i'm afraid. My advice to you 'sensitive flowers' is not take stand up commedy personally, maybe find other forms of entertainment.

  163. I have always liked Boyle - thought Mock the Week had blundered in getting rid of him. But after reading this I am so shocked and upset. I can't imagine how hurt you must have been, sitting there while he harangued and bullied you. Having realised he'd stopped being funny and started being offensive and cruel, why couldn't he just apologise, and drop the DS 'humour'? He could have saved at least some of his pride by doing so. We all respect someone who has made a pig's ear of things and admits it.

  164. Pete said...

    "I'll happily punch frankie in the face for you if I happen to see him around. We'll see if he doesn't give a f*ck then..."

    Internet tough guy alert!

  165. I went to see him 2 years ago and he made jokes about cancer patients which upset me as at the time my mother was in the last stages of termial breat cancer. I didn't find the jokes he made funny in the slightest, lots of others did. He made jokes I'm sure that I laughed riotously at when I'm sure it made some other audience members uncomfortable.

    Point is, I didn't complain, I didn't start a pathetic blog about it and I didn't run to the Guardian to hold my hand and pat my head. I paid money to see Frankie Boyle... The famously rude and offensive Frankie Boyle. I sat in the front row and my boyfriend and I got hounded mercilously!

    If I'd turned up and got nice, 'safe' comedy, THEN I would have complained! He didn't intend to personally offend you, your daughter or anybody, he was doing a routine. If you feel the need to trot out such rubbish in future, I suggest you don't bother going to comedy nights again!


  166. @Mark Base That's right Mark, I signed up to Blogger JUST so I could call the author a hypocrite. Her story was on my news channel with a link to her blog. The only way I can post a reply is by having some sort of account here. But thanks for your interest - you may now continue climbing up the ass of this blogger.

    This woman loves Glitter and Mika and found herself at a FB Show. That in itself is situation comedy.

  167. Sharon, I think you're right.
    But then I think Frankie's right too.

    To put it simply, perhaps you just shouldn't have gone. It wasn't for you. Perhaps he made an error of judgement in going on at you and perhaps you did too by going.

    How about you put it down to experience, and leave the mighty hordes of Daily Mail readers who hunt down the next thing to be offended by to do their customary ruination of another individual (but never their own writers, of course)

    Ah, no, a blog. Oh dear. Ah well.

    Next week, an AC/DC gig where people complain about the loud noise and a boxing match were spectators realise that two guys hitting each other is appallingly violent...

  168. ^^ Agree, Mekon! I've done exactly the same after this idiocy appearing on my 'news' feed (Of which I'm about to change the setting! Frankie being offensive is about as newsworthy as Ricky Martin announcing he's gay!)

    Go Team Frankie!

  169. I'd hazard a guess that those who have commented here accusing you of being 'hypocritical' or a 'sensitive flower' or whatever, have no experience whatsoever of disability and as such do not understand what it's liking having to constantly strive to 'appear normal' and live a normal life. These are the ignorant people who quite simply, don't have a clue. No one is immune from disability. For those who are lucky enough NOT to be born with a disability (I have a congenital disability) may develop a disability in later life, through illness or through an accident. In such cases, it's interesting to see how their opinion on such matters change when it suddenly affects them.

    It's not a question of being hypocritical. Her point was that while she appreciates some controversial humour this totally overstretched the mark and was utterly inappropriate and distasteful. The stand up was from ignorance rather than from knowledge.

  170. @ Annie, you obviously didn't bother reading mine then, did you?!

    He made awful jokes about cancer which I found excruciating to hear, considering my mother was in the last stages of terminal cancer. No I didn't find them funny, yes others did. Yes I laughed at other jokes about other things. I know he's offensive, I enjoy that humour. Did I think his cancer jokes were aimed at my mum? No, of course not... it's a JOKE!! Sheeesh.

  171. @Annie

    Don't go and see an offensive comedian if you're easily offended.

    Didn't the original blogger ever for once think..'HOLD ON I've got a disabled kid.. there's a chance - a mighty big one.. that a comedian who makes his living from politically incorrect jokes may - JUST MAY take the pi$$ out of those less fortunate than ourselves.. disabled children being quite high up that list..

    BUT NO.. too much Mika & glitter methinks..

    Michael Mcintyre is thataway-->

  172. That is Frankie Boyle's humour, if you didn't know that then you shouldn't have gone.

    If you did know that I can only assume that you are happy to laugh at cruel jokes when it is at somebody else's expense, but get all indignant when it affects you directly.

    Double standards I fear.

  173. What has Mike and glitter got to do with anything?!? other than the fact she LIKES them? Nothing to do with the point she was making!

    Beth - I hadn't actually seen your post when I posted - so I wasn't including you in my comment.

    Also, I like offensive comedians (within reason, haha). I object to that type of 'comedy' though. I don't see FB as comedy so I wouldn't go to see it.

    However, she liked him in the past and didn't think he would go that far. Also, you're forgetting that this is her own blog and has a right to her opinions. To pass judgement on someone's blog which details her experience is a little out of order.

    Right, back to work now :)

  174. her opinions got foisted into our news.. so she can have her opinions back - with a few of ours to go with 'em.

  175. @ Annie

    "One of the reasons that we wanted to see Frankie Boyle was that we have seen him on shows like Mock the Week and have loved his humour, how dry he is, how nasty he is, how clever he is. We wanted to see him out of the confines of a TV editing suite, to hear him say things he could not get away with on mainstream TV."
    Bloggers own words

    Rather a case of getting what you wish for, surely? It is hypocritical to bang on about how awful he was about DS, when clearly the blogger is happy to laugh about jokes that are 'nasty' about situations that don't effect her personally!

    And I feel the need to pass on MY opinion, because I don't want hypocrites like this to impact on what edgy comedians put in their routines.

  176. I agree with Beth and others with a similar sentiment.

    I live For Glitter, from where I am sitting it looks like a joke has come too close to home and you have taken it personally which is not the thing to do. Particularly, I think, when you are familiar with the routine of the comedian and the subject matter used.

    Presumably the rest of his routine, where other people of various disadvantages and disabilities were made fun of, was acceptable to you?

    It is unfortunate that you feel upset but quite frankly (excuse the pun) you could have just walked out rather than sitting there feeling insulted and making an issue out of it.

  177. I really felt for you when reading this. You're a lady though and you should be proud of yourself.

    Frankie Boyle, however, behaved despicably. I won't comment on his 'jokes', but his disgusting manner when he questioned you leaves a lot to be desired. He could have handled the matter better than that. Shame on him!

    You're right to put it behind you. I look forward to reading more of your blog. :)

  178. You were absolutely fantastic on Victoria Derbyshire's show on Five Live this morning. Well done for having the bravery to draw attention to this.