Steve Coogan is the King of Comedy in The Look of Love

Alice Jones' Arts Diary
  • @alicevjones

Never mind the King of Soho, Steve Coogan shows himself to be the King of Comedy in his new biopic of the strip club baron Paul Raymond.

The Look of Love ropes in a host of funny men including Chris Addison as Men Only editor Tony Power, David Walliams as Soho vicar Edwyn Young and Simon Bird as Debbie Raymond’s husband. Elsewhere, Matt Lucas has a cameo as a drag queen, Miles Jupp as a reporter and Dara O’Briain as a stand-up at Raymond’s Revue bar.

The Mock the Week host based his character on Alexei Sayle, but wrote his own jokes. “It was all quite all quite improvised”, he tells me. “The script had some old Alexei joke as a guide which I replaced. I sort of wrote an 80’s routine... And Michael Winterbottom got me to expand it on the day. There were Falklands jokes and a Hunger Strikes references and Thatcher. I have no real idea if it was funny as the audience were acting too, of course, but I left feeling I could have made a living in the 80s.”

It is the comedian’s acting debut. “And I play 'comedian'. Quite the range I’ve got”, he adds.

Also in the arts diary:

SXSW: Max and Ivan fly the flag for British comedy in Texas

Isabella Blow's life to be dramatised by Sex Addict playwright Tim Fountain