Lee Evans is a retired English stand-up comedian, actor, musician and writer from Avonmouth, England. He is a director of Little Mo Films, which he had co-directed with the late Addison Cresswell, who was also his agent prior to Cresswell’s death in December 2013. Evans became one of Britain’s most popular stand-up comedians, with his Roadrunner tour grossing £12.9 million. He is also an established actor, having appeared in the Hollywood films The Fifth Element, Mouse Hunt, There’s Something About Mary, The Ladies Man and The Medallion.
He lent his voice to Zippo the Troodon in the Emmy-nominated miniseries Dinotopia and made a notable departure from comedy with a leading role in the Irish film Freeze Frame. He had made his cinema debut with the Jerry Lewis comedy Funny Bones, earning the Paris Film Festival Award for Best Actor. In 2008, Evans’ Big tour DVD Big – Live at the O2 became the highest-selling Christmas DVD in the United Kingdom, only to be surpassed by his own Monsters Tour DVD in 2014. In November 2014 Evans officially announced his retirement.
Evans rose to fame during the 1990s with loud, hot, sweaty, energetic stage performances and physical observational comedy. His slapstick humour has led to comparisons with Sir Norman Wisdom, though Evans does not regard Wisdom as an influence. In his earlier work, he used a dysfunctional character called Malcolm to illustrate unusual characters. In 1993, he won the Perrier Comedy Award for his work at The Edinburgh Festival.
Evans’ sweat drenches him on stage. During most of his headlining performances, he often takes an intermission, during which he has a quick shower and changes into a different suit. He has also said that his suits are regularly thrown away after three performances, mainly because of the sweat, with dry-cleaners refusing to handle them. In November 2005, Evans broke the world record for a solo act performing to the biggest comedy audience, performing to 10,108 people at the Manchester Arena.
Evans toured the UK in autumn 2008 with his stand-up act entitled Big. During his Big tour he performed in front of over 500,000 people on 59 dates. This was scheduled to involve the first ever performance by a comedian at the O2 Arena in London until Chris Rockannounced dates that would take place at the venue prior to Evans. The DVD was filmed at the O2 Arena and was released on 24 November 2008 and it became the best selling comedy DVD in the UK for Christmas 2008 selling over 1,000,000 copies.
Evans appeared on the Channel 4‘s Comedy Gala for Great Ormond Street Hospital on 30 March 2010. He was the last act on stage and he received a comedy award and auctioned it to the audience for charity. Evans toured the UK again in 2011 with a new stand-up act entitled Roadrunner, with 50 dates starting with Bournemouth in August, running until November in Cardiff. He appeared at the Wyvern Theatre, Swindon on 10 June to test his new material (reading from notes) for the Roadrunner tour. He then sold out Bristol’s Colston Hall for 3 nights to perfect his routine in July.
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Watch Lee on The Jonathan Ross Show, here: