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Furious mother confronts comic Frankie Boyle over jokes about Down's syndrome victims



By Kate Loveys

Last updated at 12:35 PM on 9th April 2010




Offense: A couple was outraged by Boyle's comments


Comedian Frankie Boyle had an on-stage run-in with a mother of a Down's syndrome child after he made fun of victims.

The former panellist on BBC quiz Mock The Week devoted five minutes of a stand-up show to a foul tirade against sufferers and their parents by criticising their hair, clothing and voices.

He then turned on the audience, picking on a couple - Sharon and Keiron Smith - in the front row and accusing them of talking.

Laughter turned to awkward silence when Mrs Smith told Boyle: 'My daughter has Down's syndrome and I'm very upset.'

Boyle was unrepentant. He made fun of the couple before saying: 'This is my last tour. I don't give a **** what people think.'

His behaviour has prompted online outrage after the couple revealed their ordeal to friends in a powerful blog posting.

The blog says: 'Frankie Boyle spent a good few minutes making joke after joke about people with DS. And they weren't even clever or funny jokes either... I expected dry, nasty, crude humour, yes, but unimaginative humour poking fun at the stereotype of people with Down syndrome was not something that I expected.


'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 to be honest so pathetic. How can a stranger make me feel like that?


'So I told him that my five-year-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 isn't it?" to which I replied no, it wasn't.


'He then went on to say that it was the most excruciating 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.




Gift: Proud father Kieron Smith with his five-year-old daughter Tanzie


'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 didn't give a f***.


'He was obviously unsettled by the episode, but nothing like the way I felt. I truly have never felt so small.. I don't feel that I did my daughter any justice at all.


'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 couldn't appreciate live stand-up comedy. Which isn't the case at all.'


Gavin And Stacey actor Matthew Horne was among thousands who took to Twitter to attack Boyle.

Former marketing executive Mrs Smith said: 'Throughout his show he made fun of disabled people.

'But when given an opening he launched into a puerile, childish and ignorant attack on Down's syndrome sufferers.


'It wasn't funny. It was playground humour. My eight-year-old son could have been more astute.'

Mr and Mrs Smith's youngest child, five-year-old Tanzie, has Down's syndrome.

Mr Smith, managing director of an online book company, said: 'We're fans of comedy. We've been to lots of live stand-up shows. We knew what to expect, or we thought we did.

'This was out of the dark ages. Not the material of a highly regarded comic.

'I'm still fuming. We both believe in freedom of speech but Boyle's jokes were borne from ignorance and based on stereotypes.


'We knew he was a dry, cutting comedian, but we thought he was intelligent and clever with it. It appears not.'

Boyle has been criticised before for bad taste jokes about the Queen and Olympic swimmer Rebecca Adlington.

He no longer appears on Mock The Week but has begun a 113-date tour, titled I Would Happily Punch Every One Of You In The Face, which is almost sold out.

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