Keith Allen
By: Patrick Cates | Categories: HiLo Heroes

As proud as he is of her, KEITH ALLEN (born 1953) must get annoyed that people only ever seem to refer to him these days as Lily Allen’s father. And who can blame him? The career of this thinking man’s bad boy has successfully spanned many more years and fields than that of his daughter: acting, art, TV presenting, music, stand-up comedy. Allen, with his shaved head, thuggish glower, and cruel cackle, is Britain’s only renaissance hooligan. When we see him walk on stage, we don’t know if he’ll tell a joke, sing a song, or jump into the audience and headbutt somebody. Strutting, shouting and ridiculing, he cheerleads a retinue of misfits down the street in the video for Vindaloo, the unofficial England anthem for the 1998 World Cup. And we can’t take our eyes off him. Nor can we look away when his chillingly evil Sheriff of Nottingham appears on the screen in the BBC adaptation of Robin Hood. And when he leads us on a fifty-minute televisual tour of the dangerously nutty Westboro Baptist Church, we are rapt with anticipation: “Is he going to make us guffaw by suddenly and nakedly simulating buggery, or is he going to go mental and beat the crap out of that crazy homophobe?” Even people who dislike Keith Allen perk up their ears when they see his name attached to a project. Because wherever Keith Allen goes, stimulation, surprise, and controversy are sure to follow.

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HUMORISTS at HILOBROW: Michael O’Donoghue | Jemaine Clement | Andy Kaufman | Danny Kaye | George Ade | Jimmy Durante | Jack Benny | Aziz Ansari | Don Rickles | Godfrey Cambridge | Eric Idle | David Cross | Stewart Lee | Samuel Beckett | Jerry Lewis | Joanna Lumley | Jerome K. Jerome | Phil Silvers | Edward Lear | Tony Hancock | George Carlin | Stephen Colbert | Tina Fey | Keith Allen | Russell Brand | Michael Cera | Stan Laurel | Ricky Gervais | Gilda Radner | Larry David | Chris Pontius | Dave Chappelle | Jimmy Finlayson | Paul Reubens | Peter Sellers | Buster Keaton | Flann O’Brien | Lenny Bruce | Sacha Baron Cohen | Steve Coogan | PG Wodehouse | A.J. Liebling | Curly Howard | Fran Lebowitz | Charlie Kaufman | Stephen Merchant | Richard Pryor | James Thurber | Bill Hicks | ALSO: Comedy and the Death of God

READ MORE about men and women born on the cusp between the Blank Generation (1944-53) and the OGXers (1954-63).

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Patrick Cates, HiLobrow's Magister Ludi and technical twiddler, is an LA-based Londoner who has written for FHM, the Boston Phoenix, Cruel Site of the Day, Significant Objects, and HiLobrow.com.