Lee Evans (comedian)
Lee Evans in 2004 outside the Metro Radio Arena
|Birth name||Lee M. J. Evans|
25 February 1964 |
Avonmouth, Bristol, England
|Spouse||Heather Nudds (1984–present)|
Lee M. J. Evans (born 25 February 1964) is an English stand-up comedian, writer, actor, and musician. Evans 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 2013.
As a stand-up comic he has become one of Britain's highest selling stand-ups with his "Roadrunner" tour grossing £12.9 million. He has become an established actor, appearing in many big budget movies including: Mouse Hunt, There's Something About Mary and The Fifth Element. In 2008, his "Big" tour DVD became the highest-selling Christmas DVD in the United Kingdom.
Lee Evans was born in Avonmouth, Bristol, the son of an Irish mother, Shirley Hunt, and a Welsh father, Dave Evans. He has an older brother, Wayne (born 1962). His father was a nightclub performer. His family left Bristol in 1975, moving to Essex, where he attended Billericay School and reportedly was the victim of bullies. After a spell as a boxer and two years at Thurrock Art College, also in Essex, Evans followed his father into entertainment. During his teenage years, he moved to Scarborough, North Yorkshire, and he was a drummer in the punk rock band "The Forgotten Five".
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 Rock announced 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.
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. The tour visited most of the UK’s major cities, plus two nights in Dublin, and included four nights in Wembley Arena and four in the O2 Arena, meaning around 100,000 seats in London alone. Tickets went on sale Friday 15 October 2010 at 9 am.
Evans sold £7,000,000 worth of tickets the first day they went on sale. Due to popular demand, there were a further 17 dates added to the tour in Bournemouth International Centre, Brighton Centre, Capital FM Arena, Wembley Arena, National Indoor Arena, The O2, Echo Arena, Motorpoint Arena, Odyssey Arena and The O2 (Dublin). This brought the tour up to 67 dates in 14 cities which is 8 more than the record breaking tour of 2008. In 2011, he was honoured by the British Comedy Awards with the Channel 4 award for special contribution to comedy.
On 30 June 2014, reading from notes, he performed at The Mayflower theatre in Southampton, testing material for the forthcoming Monsters tour. Evans received two standing ovations from the audience. Evans once again performed two shows testing material at the Blackpool Grand on 11 and 12 July.
Acting and other work
Evans has made a number of film appearances, most notably in Funny Bones, MouseHunt, There's Something About Mary (where he played an American posing as a Brit), The Fifth Element, The Ladies Man, The Martins, The Medallion and Undertaking Betty. Evans provided the voice for Zippo in the 2002 TV miniseries Dinotopia and Train in the 2005 film The Magic Roundabout. From 1993–94, Evans appeared in the Channel 4 late-night show Viva Cabaret!, both as a host and as a guest performer. In 1995, he starred in Channel 4 series, The World of Lee Evans. In 2001, he co-wrote and starred in the sitcom So What Now? for the BBC.
In 2004, he starred as a paranoid murder suspect in his first non-comic role in the film Freeze Frame. Although warned they may never grow back, he shaved his eyebrows (as well as his hair). In 2004, Lee appeared in Samuel Becket's Endgame, and from 2004 to 2005, he played Leo Bloom in the London production of The Producers along with Nathan Lane, with whom he also starred in MouseHunt. In 2007 he appeared in the 50th anniversary production of The Dumb Waiter. May 2007 saw him star in a television adaption of the book The History of Mr. Polly.
Evans is also a singer and musician, as shown on his arena tours. He can play the guitar, bass guitar, electronic keyboard, piano, mandolin, ukulele, and drums. He also has his own production company that produces his stand up DVDs called Little Mo Films, named after his daughter whom he often refers to as Little Mo. Evans appeared as Malcolm Taylor, a Welsh scientist, in the 2009 Doctor Who Easter special "Planet of the Dead". Since September 2013, Lee has been starring in the play Barking in Essex at London's Wyndham's Theatre.
On 22 September 1984, he married Heather Nudds, with whom he has a daughter, Mollie (born 1994). They moved to Billericay in 1997, having previously lived in Westcliff-on-Sea, Essex. Evans was awarded an Honorary Doctorate from Anglia Ruskin University on 24 November 2009.
This was followed by a second Doctorate from the University of East London on 9 December 2010 and is an Honorary Fellow of the Welsh College of Music and Drama. In 2010 Lee ran the London Marathon and finished in a time of 4 hours, 55 minutes, and 10 seconds. In 2012, Evans' nephew, Maxwell, died of a defective lung. ‘He was an amazing little kid,’ says Evans. ‘He was funny, he was talented. He was one of us. When you go through that it changes you. He left behind a lot of joy and for me he made me feel I should never waste another day of my life. I think about little Max a lot of the time.’
|1994||Live At Her Majesty's Theatre|
|1995||Live From The West End|
|1996||Different Planet Tour||114|
|1998||Don't Try This at Home|
|2002||Wired and Wonderful|
Box office score data
|Venue||City||Tickets Sold / Available||Gross Revenue|
|The O2 Arena||London||88,037 / 93,432 (94%)||£4,119,760|
|Manchester Arena||Manchester||53,391 / 54,558 (98%)||£2,567,080|
|The O2||Dublin||17,733 / 17,733 (100%)||£861,649|
|TOTAL||159,161 / 165,723 (96%)||£7,548,489|
|1994||Live At Her Majesty's Theatre||Her Majesty's Theatre, London|
|1995||Live From The West End||Lyric Theatre, London|
|1996||Live – Different Planet Tour|
|1998||Live In Scotland||Playhouse Theatre, Edinburgh|
|2002||Wired And Wonderful – Live At Wembley||Wembley Arena, London|
|2005||XL Tour 2005 – Live||International Arena, Cardiff|
|2008||Big – Live at the O2||The O2 Arena, London|
|2011||Roadrunner – Live at the O2|
|2014||Monsters – Live at the NIA||NIA, Birmingham|
|1995||The World of Lee Evans||Lee|
|1996||The World of Lee Evans||Lee|
|1998||Clair de Lune||Pete|
|2001||So What Now?||Lee||Writer|
|2007||The History of Mr Polly||Alfred Polly|
|2007||The Dinner Party||Leo|
|2009||Doctor Who||Dr. Malcolm Taylor||Episode: "Planet of the Dead"|
|1995||Funny Bones||Jack Parker|
|1997||The Fifth Element||Fog|
|1998||There's Something About Mary||Norm ("Tucker")|
|2000||The Ladies Man||Barney|
|2001||The Martins||Robert Martin|
|2002||Plots with a View||Delbert Butterfield|
|2003||The Medallion||Arthur Watson|
|2004||Freeze Frame||Sean Veil|
|2005||The Magic Roundabout||Train||Voice|
|2004–2005||The Producers||Leo Bloom|
|2007||The Dumb Waiter||Gus|
|2013-2014||Barking in Essex||Darnley|
Accolades and awards
|British Comedy Award||
|Paris Film Festival||
|Edinburgh Comedy Award||
|Time Out Comedy Awards||
- "Index entry". FreeBMD. ONS. Retrieved 15 July 2014.
- "Lee Evans IMDb profile". Internet Movie Database. Retrieved 27 February 2008.
- Cook, William (30 August 2001). "No more crying for this clown". The Daily Telegraph (London).
- Gillan, Audrey (31 October 2008). "Profile: Addison Cresswell, he's a cockney wide-boy, not unlike Jonathan, very canny at building a business to represent big stars to the BBC". The Guardian. Retrieved 23 August 2013.
- "'I was bullied everywhere I went by the kids, the teachers... I was an easy target': The extraordinary trials and triumphs of Lee Evans, comedy's great survivor". Daily Mail (London).
- Lee Evans on "Opie and Anthony"
- "Lee Evans profile at FilmReference.com". Filmreference.com. Retrieved 4 June 2011.
- White, Jim (27 January 1996). "Oooh, er, cripes". The Independent (UK). Retrieved 28 April 2008.
- 'All I've ever felt on stage is pain', Daily Telegraph, 25 October 2004, "I saw his films as a kid. It surprises me because if you watch my act it's nothing like his really."
- "if.comedy – Past winners.". if.comedy. Retrieved 27 February 2008.
- Lee Evans interview. Daily Mirror (UK). 31 October 2007. Retrieved 27 February 2008.
- "Comic Evans breaks crowd record". BBC News. 20 November 2005. Retrieved 27 February 2008.
- "Lee Evans: Big On Tour 2008". Leeevansbigtour.co.uk. Retrieved 4 June 2011.
- "Lee's Big achievement: News 2008". Chortle.co.uk. 22 December 2008. Retrieved 4 June 2011.
- "Lee Evans sells a million DVDs". Chortle.co.uk. Retrieved 4 June 2011.
- "Lee Evans to Tour again in 2011". Chortle.co.uk. Retrieved 4 June 2011.
- "Lee Evans announces extra tour dates". Leeevans2011tour.co.uk. Retrieved 4 June 2011.
- "All Aboard For Next Special!". BBC Doctor Who Website. 23 January 2009. Retrieved 23 January 2009.
- "Lee Evans IMDb profile". IMDb. Retrieved 27 February 2008.
- "Essex comedian Lee Evans to get honorary degree". thisistotalessex.co.uk. 15 October 2009. Retrieved 3 April 2010.
- "Current Boxscore". billboard.biz. 12 November 2011. Retrieved 19 April 2012.
- "Current Boxscore". billboard.biz. 26 January 2012. Retrieved 19 April 2012.
- "Current Boxscore". billboard.biz. 19 February 2012. Retrieved 19 April 2012.