Comedy: Knowing me, knowing who?
Saturday 14 March 1998
If that series is not looked back on in 10 years' time as one of the seminal 1990s comedies, then I'm Alan Partridge. Written by Steve Coogan, Armando Iannucci and Peter Baynham, it featured many laugh-out-loud scenes - remember the excruciating lunch where failed TV presenter Alan (played by Coogan) pitched to an excruciated commissioning editor such gruesome programme ideas as monkey tennis, youth hostelling with Chris Eubank, and Knowing ME, Knowing You?
But what truly marked I'm Alan Partridge out for greatness was its willingness to dip more than a toe into some very dark waters indeed - think of the sadness of Alan dismantling his motel trouser-press because he had nothing better to do on a Saturday afternoon, or the genuinely creepy sequence in which Alan fled from a scary King of Comedy-style stalker.
The show's loyal following should ensure a good turn-out for Coogan's first live tour in some years. "Even though Alan's a berk, people like him despite themselves," the comedian says. "The Little Englander in him is in all of us. He gives vent to those things we'd all like to say but daren't. He's a mirror showing us our own hideousness."
Partridge will be joined on stage by Coogan's other deathless inventions, the endlessly student-hating "bag'o'shite" Mancunian yob Paul Calf and his slapper of a sister, Pauline, and the slimy Latino Lothario singer, Tony Ferrino.
All these creations demonstrate Coogan's uncanny ability to merge with a character so completely that you can no longer tell where he ends and the role begins. He is reluctant to be too analytical about his work, however. "I just do the characters and they're funny. Only afterwards do I read articles about them and discover they were deeper than I thought.
"I have a standing joke that journalists say to me, `I bet you don't know who you are'. Give me a break. I'm waiting for some tabloid rent-a-shrink to say that all my characters are exorcisms of my inner self. That sort of psycho-analysis is mildly irritating. Articles that deconstruct comedy are environmentally unfriendly to South American rainforests. It seems the antithesis of comedy to deconstruct it, and it's certainly dangerous for comedians to do it. Hancock went bonkers trying to do it."
Steve Coogan plays Watford Colosseum (01923 445000) tonight; the spiritual home of Alan Partridge - Norwich Theatre Royal (01603 630000) Sat, Mon & Tue; Cambridge Corn Exchange (01223 357851) Wed; and Leicester De Montfort Hall (0116-233 3111) Fri
People as diverse as David Baddiel and Dodgy have expressed their admiration for Johnny Vegas's strikingly original man-potter's wheel two-hander. Check out for yourself whether you should believe the hype on his "Balls of Clay" national tour which this week comes to The Talk of London, Parker St, Drury Lane, WC2 (0171-494 5494) 8pm Wed & Thur
Life & Style blogs
Snapchat got rid of the Best Friends feature and 'stalkers' are upset
Food secrets: the good, the bad...and the faeces
Pot of gold: tasting the world’s most expensive tea
Taylor Swift’s Twitter and Instagram accounts hacked, apparently by Lizard Squad
Selfie-obsessed men may be narcissistic psychopaths, study finds
'We would evict Queen from Buckingham Palace and allocate her council house,' say Greens
Greece elections: Syriza and EU on collision course after election win for left-wing party
British Muslim school children suffering a backlash of abuse following Paris attacks
British grandmother Lindsay Sandiford faces execution by firing squad in Indonesia
Liberal Democrat minister defends comments suggesting immigration causes pub closures
Louise Mensch says 'F**K YOU' in explosive tweets about David Cameron, Saudi Embassy and the Queen over King Abdullah tributes
- 1 Saudi preacher who 'raped and tortured' his five -year-old daughter to death is released after paying 'blood money'
- 2 Mystery man who gave mum heart-warming note on train 'wanted to put a smile on her face'
- 3 Michelle Obama highlights harsh restrictions faced by Saudi women after meeting King Salman without wearing a headscarf
- 4 Mafia's wall of silence broken: Victim of Cosa Nostra's extortion rackets in its Corleone heartland co-operates with authorities for the first time ever
- 5 Amal Clooney gives excellent answer to fashion question at European Court of Human Rights
Negotiable: Tradewind Recruitment: This post arises as a result of the need to...
£120 - £150 per annum: Tradewind Recruitment: I am recruiting on instruction o...
£70000 per annum: Ashdown Group: Head of Finance - Financial Controller - Fina...
£24000 - £28000 per annum + benefits: Ashdown Group: Marketing Executive - Wim...