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Hodder Faith, Avalon

Frank Skinner talks about wincing at blasphemy and releasing his prayer book

Comedian Frank Skinner has released a prayer book, giving readers an insight into his conversations with God.

Skinner, who hosts Absolute Radio's award-winning Saturday breakfast show and their poetry podcast, has become increasingly vocal about his Catholic faith in recent years, now releasing A Comedian's Prayer Book with Hodder Faith. It features his musings on Hell, judgement, atheism, money, faith and the X-Men. 

"God is a tough audience as far as audible response is concerned, but I love that I don't have to explain the references" Skinner said. 

Having grown up in a Catholic family in the West Midlands, he left the church when he was 17 and returned about 12 years later, after struggling with alcoholism, something he jokes about but he has now been sober for decades.  

Speaking to The Telegraph, he said stopping drinking didn't necessarily coincide with his return to faith: "Heavy drinking and Catholicism are not necessarily mutually exclusive." 

He exaplined how talking about his Catholicism was harder than talking about his time as an alcoholic: "People are much easier with my battle-with-the-booze stories than 'Here's some of my prayers'… I think they were delighted to find that those who seem to have everything going for them have got dark demons. What they don't really want to know is that you believe in actual demons.

"When I was doing interviews 25 years ago, I would talk about how I read poetry and had two English degrees, and that I was a Roman Catholic, but it never made it into print."

The comedian has massively changed his image and jokes since his 90s lad act. His stand-up now rarely has lewd sexual jokes and is more likely to reference the Benedictine monk the Venerable Bede. 

In fact, he told the newspaper that he does notice when people around him take the Lord's name in vain. 

"I do wince...and this happened to me yesterday in the street, every time I hear anyone say, 'Jesus Christ!' This is the age to be offended, If you are not being offended, then you are an unfashionable individual. I'm not one of the anti-woke people who go round complaining that you can't say anything now. In a way, I think the woke movement has done a lot of things that I wish religion in general had done."

Frank Skinner said that praying to God is the only place he doesn't need to put on an act: "When I pray, it is the only conversation I have where I utterly drop my guard about every doubt and fear and idiocy and imperfection. If I didn't pray, I don't know where I'd find that unwrapping of myself."

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