My Comedy Hero: Matt Forde on Steve Coogan
- Brian Donaldson
- 13 March 2018
Matt Forde picks the man behind Alan Partridge, Paul Calf and Tony Ferrino as his comic idol
I'll never forget the first time I saw Alan Partridge because I thought he was real. I couldn't believe that this bloke was allowed to just openly insult his guests on TV. It was only when episode two of Knowing Me Knowing You aired the following week and I saw the same actors wearing different wigs that I realised it was a comedy show. In my defence I was 11 years old, but that sense of having been 'got' was so satisfying: I was completely hooked on Steve Coogan.
He's such a special talent because he has an ability to create characters who are completely different and even look different. Added to that, they're all very funny. Which sounds like an obvious point but making distinct characters with distinct senses of humour isn't easy. Alan Partridge, Pauline Calf and Tony Ferrino don't just have their own personalities and idiosyncrasies, they don't even look like they're performed by the same man.
It's hard to pick a favourite of all his characters, but it's got to be Partridge. It's not just a great observation of a local radio DJ, it's a demolition of a particular type of small-minded man. Despite being a petty, jealous bastard who bullies his assistant, Coogan makes us love Partridge and even root for him. What an achievement. There's something fundamental about Steve Coogan. He has that magical, inherent comedic talent which is so hard to define. He is a natural who's capable of still delivering, long into his career.
Matt Forde: A Show Hastily Re-Written in Light of Recent Events – Again! is on tour until Friday 8 June.