Scots comic Frankie Boyle in hot water again as he's told Down's syndrome is no laughing matter

HE IS one of the hottest and most controversial comedians on the comedy circuit, a man whose name has become a by-word for dark, edgy humour.

• Frankie Boyle's routine involving Down's syndrome upset a woman and her friends

And yesterday Glasgow comedian Frankie Boyle found himself mired in controversy once again when the mother of a child with Down's syndrome wrote a blog post criticising him for making fun of people with her daughter's condition.

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Sharon Smith said that she sat in the front row close to tears when the comedian performed a gig in Reading, Berkshire, earlier this week.

Ms Smith wrote that Boyle had indulged in "horrible childish humour". She wrote on her personal blog that the former Mock The Week star had asked her why she was talking to her friends during his show – and when she told him she had a daughter at home with Down's he tried to laugh it off.

She said he had made jokes about the way people with Down's talk and dress, the jobs they can do, their haircuts and other "unimaginative" stereotypes.

She added: "I told him that my five-year-old daughter has Down's syndrome and that I was simply upset at some of his jokes.

"He tried to laugh it off – 'Ahh, but it's all true isn't it? Everything I have said is 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?

"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***."

Ms Smith later said of the exchange: "The whole segment my heart was racing, I was very upset about it, I wanted to cry.

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"I couldn't believe that someone who is as influential and famous and supposedly clever, was going back to such out-of-date stereotypes.

"And there was no point to the humour at all, there was nothing that he was achieving in it."

The blog has attracted a large amount of public support, the majority criticising Boyle for his comments, although some did point out that his style of comedy set out deliberately to offend and therefore people should not have been completely surprised by his show's content.

Among those who attacked the comedian was Gavin and Stacey star Mathew Horne, who described his targeting of Down's syndrome as "rubbish" and reassured Mrs Smith: "The effect of your speaking up to FB on him, will be greater than you think, I promise."

Boyle is no stranger to public controversy. Last year Mock The Week's producers were criticised by the BBC Trust over comments he made on the show about swimmer Rebecca Adlington's appearance.

Another complaint against Mock The Week, relating to a comment Boyle made about the Queen, was not upheld as a breach of editorial standards by the trust.

He no longer appears on the BBC panel show but has started a 113-date tour, entitled I Would Happily Punch Every One Of You In The Face, which is almost sold out.

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Last night Ismail Kaji, from the charity Mencap, said: "Making fun of a person's disability is not a joke… I am shocked that anyone would be so aggressive and want to hurt people's feelings in this way.

"I hope that Frankie Boyle will learn a lesson from this and I think he should apologise in public to the people he has upset."

Karen Koren, founder of the Gilded Balloon comedy venue, who had represented Boyle at the start of his career, said: "You can talk about any disability as long as it's respectfully handled.

"Down's Syndrome children do have a sense of humour and you can have fun with handicapped people, there are after all handicapped comedians.

"But sometimes you get a certain type of big mouth boy comic just blurting out the wrong type of thing. I think an apology wouldn't have gone amiss."

Ms Koren added that given Boyle's response at the time of the exchange, he himself knew he had gone too far.

"He said it was excruciating, so he must have been ashamed of what he said.

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"The thing is, if that woman hadn't been at that gig, he would have got away with saying what he did. So thank god for that. Comedians have to answerable for their actions."

Boyle's representatives were not immediately available for comment.

Another name on the list of comics hit by foot-in-mouth disease

FRANKIE Boyle is not the first comedian to find himself the subject of criticism for comments made during a live stand-up show.

Jimmy Carr is no stranger to controversy over his material, and found himself publicly lambasted last year when, during a gig at the Manchester Apollo in front of an audience of 2,500, he delivered the line: "Say what you like about these servicemen amputees from Iraq and Afghanistan, but we are going to have a f****** good paralympic team in 2012."

The ensuing row saw army veterans and government ministers criticise Carr, who was eventually moved to apologise.

Billy Connolly also came in for heavy criticism in 2004 when, during a gig before a London audience, in reference to Ken Bigley, a British hostage in Iraq, he said: "Perhaps I shouldn't be saying this … aren't you the same as me, don't you wish they would just get on with it ?"

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His comments drew heckling from the crowd and he was publicly condemned by the Muslim Council of Britain, while Mr Bigley's family expressed distaste at his comments.

Irish comedian and Perrier Award-winner Tommy Tiernan provoked a storm of protest last year when, during a Q&A session in front of audience in Ireland, he referred to Jews as "Christ-killing bastards" before saying: "F****** six million? I would have got ten or 12 million out of that. No f****** problem."

Despite claiming that his words had been taken out of context, Jewish groups attacked his comments as "disgusting and unacceptable".