Ayoade at the Soho Hotel, London, 7 March 2011
|Born||Richard Ellef Ayoade
23 May 1977
Hammersmith, London, England
|Residence||East Dulwich, South London|
|Alma mater||University of Cambridge|
|Occupation||Actor, comedian, writer, director, presenter|
|Height||6 ft 2 in (1.88 m)|
|Spouse(s)||Lydia Fox (m. 2007)|
|Children||Esmé Bibi Ayoade (b. 2009)|
Richard Ellef Ayoade (// eye-oh-AH-dee, born 23 May 1977) is an English comedian, actor, writer, TV presenter and director, best known for his roles as Dean Learner in Garth Marenghi's Darkplace and Maurice Moss in The IT Crowd. He is a team captain on panel show Was It Something I Said? He presents factual show Gadget Man, having taken over from Stephen Fry after series one. He is a director, having directed films such as Submarine (produced by Ben Stiller), The Double, which stars Jesse Eisenberg, as well as directing various music videos for well known bands such as Arctic Monkeys, Vampire Weekend, Yeah Yeah Yeahs, and Kasabian. Ayoade often works alongside Noel Fielding, Julian Barratt, Matt Berry and Rich Fulcher in shows such as The Mighty Boosh, Nathan Barley and Noel Fielding's Luxury Comedy.
Early life and education
Ayoade was born in Hammersmith, London to Layide Ade Laditi Ayoade, a Nigerian father, and Dagny Amalie (née Baassuik), a Norwegian mother. The family moved to Ipswich in Suffolk when he was young. His name "Ayoade" means "The Blessed Crown" or "Joy of the Crown" in the Yoruba language.
Ayoade studied at St. Joseph's College in Ipswich and later read law at St Catharine's College, Cambridge (1995-1998), where he won the Martin Steele Prize for play production and was president of the Footlights from 1997 to 1998. Ayoade studied law, and says that his parents would not approve of studies considered to be of the "Regency era," adding that "a non-vocational degree seemed such an outlandish indulgence." Ayoade states that the law is no longer a viable "fall back" for him and would need to "go back to square one."
While in Footlights, Ayoade acted in and wrote many shows. He and Footlights vice-president John Oliver wrote two pantomimes together: Sleeping Beauty, and Grimm Fairy Tales. Ayoade acted in both Footlights' 1997 and 1998 touring shows: Emotional Baggage and Between a Rock and a Hard Place (directed by Cal McCrystal).
Ayoade co-wrote the stage show Garth Marenghi's Fright Knight with Matthew Holness, whom he also met at the Footlights, appearing in the show at the Edinburgh Fringe in 2000 where it was nominated for a Perrier Award. In 2001, he won the Perrier Comedy Award for co-writing and performing in Garth Marenghi's Netherhead, the sequel to Fright Knight.
In 2004, Ayoade and Holness took the Marenghi character to Channel 4, creating the spoof horror comedy series Garth Marenghi's Darkplace. He directed and also appeared as Dean Learner, Garth's publisher, who plays Thornton Reed, a hospital administrator who bears a trademark shotgun and answers to hospital boss "Won Ton". Ayoade's Darkplace character, Dean Learner, was resurrected in 2006 to host a comedy chat show, Man to Man with Dean Learner, on Channel 4. The different guests were played each week by Holness.
The Mighty Boosh
In The Boosh radio series Richard played the part of Tommy Nookah in the second episode, Jungle, originally aired on 23 October 2001. Ayoade was part of the original cast of Julian Barratt and Noel Fielding's The Mighty Boosh: he was selected to play the role of dangerous villain Dixon Bainbridge. However, by the time the radio series transferred to television he was under contract by Channel 4 and was only able to act in the pilot before leaving the Boosh. The part was taken by fellow Darkplace actor and eventual IT Crowd costar Matt Berry. He later returned in the second series, to play the part of the belligerent shaman Saboo, where he improvised the line "an erotic adventurer of the most deranged kind" when describing Kirk, a fellow shaman played by Noel Fielding's girlfriend's nephew. Ayoade continued his association with The Mighty Boosh in the third series, acting as script editor and also reprising his role of Saboo in the episodes "Eels", "Nanageddon", "The Strange Tale of the Crack Fox" and "Party".
The IT Crowd
Ayoade is now a recognisable face in Britain owing to his role as the technically brilliant but socially awkward Maurice Moss in Channel 4's The IT Crowd. In 2008 he won the award for an outstanding actor in a television comedy series at Monte-Carlo Television Festival for his performance. Also in 2009, Ayoade co-starred with Joel McHale in an unaired Americanisation of The IT Crowd pilot, reprising his character without any changes to his appearance or character. In May 2014, Ayoade won a BAFTA for Male Performance in a Comedy Programme for his performance in the show's 2013 special.
Was It Something I Said?
Ayoade is a team captain on the Channel 4 panel show Was It Something I Said?, which began airing on 6 October 2013 and co-starring David Mitchell as host and Micky Flanagan as fellow team captain.
In 2010, Ayoade released his debut directorial feature, Submarine, a coming-of-age comedy-drama film adapted from the 2008 novel of the same name by Joe Dunthorne. The film stars newcomers Craig Roberts and Yasmin Paige with Sally Hawkins, Noah Taylor and Paddy Considine. The film was produced by Warp Films and Film4 and musician Alex Turner of Arctic Monkeys contributed five original songs to the soundtrack.
The film premiered at the 35th Toronto International Film Festival in September 2010. Following a generally positive reception it was picked up by the Weinstein Company for a North American release. The film also played at the 54th London Film Festival in October 2010 and was played out of competition at the 27th Sundance Film Festival in January 2011. It was also screened along with 400 other films at the 61st Berlin International Film Festival the next month. It went on general release in the UK on 18 March and was released on 3 June in the US. It won the 2011 London Awards for Art and Performance. Ayoade was also nominated for a BAFTA for Outstanding Debut by a British Writer, Director or Producer at the 65th British Academy Film Awards.
Music video work
Ayoade has directed videos for the Arctic Monkeys ("Fluorescent Adolescent", "Crying Lightning" and "Cornerstone"), Super Furry Animals ("Run Away", which has Matt Berry in the lead role), the Last Shadow Puppets ("Standing Next to Me" and "My Mistakes Were Made For You") and Vampire Weekend ("Oxford Comma" and "Cape Cod Kwassa Kwassa"), as well as for Kasabian ("Vlad the Impaler", which starred Ayoade's frequent collaborator Noel Fielding) and the Yeah Yeah Yeahs ("Heads Will Roll"). In 2007 he directed a live Arctic Monkeys DVD entitled At the Apollo, which was recorded at the Manchester Apollo. It was previewed at Vue cinemas across the UK during October 2008 and was released on DVD the following month, winning the "Best DVD" title at the NME Awards that year.
In 2005, he played the role of Ned Smanks in Chris Morris' and Charlie Brooker's Nathan Barley. Ayoade directed, co-wrote and co-starred (with fellow Darkplace and IT Crowd cast member Matt Berry) in AD/BC: A Rock Opera, and has appeared on T4. He helped write The Mighty Book of Boosh, along with Noel Fielding, Julian Barratt, Rich Fulcher, Dave Brown and Michael Fielding. He is also featured in Paul King's film, Bunny and the Bull, where he plays the role of an extremely boring museum tour guide.
In November 2007, Ayoade appeared on Channel 4's The Big Fat Anniversary Quiz, which marked the channel's 25th anniversary. In January 2011, he appeared on The Big Fat Quiz of the Year 2010, then appeared again in December 2012 on The Big Fat Quiz of the Year 2012, and once again on The Big Fat Quiz of the Year 2013 in December 2013. In March 2011, Ayoade directed the episode Critical Film Studies in season 2 of Community. Ayoade directed comedian Tommy Tiernan's world stand-up tour, Crooked Man, which was released in November 2011.
Ayoade starred in the American comedy film The Watch (2012), alongside Submarine producer Ben Stiller. He co-wrote and directed the comedy film The Double, starring Jesse Eisenberg and Mia Wasikowska. He also plays various characters in the show Noel Fielding's Luxury Comedy.
Ayoade wrote a book which satirises the nature of interviews and books written which document and analyse the careers of iconic film directors (e.g. Orson Welles and Martin Scorsese). The format of the book is Ayoade interviewing himself and there are many jokes which reference film. The book was published by Faber and Faber on October 2nd 2014.
|2003||Hello Friend||Computer man||Short film|
|2004||The Life and Death of Peter Sellers||Wedding photographer|
|2008||At the Apollo||Director
|2009||Bunny and the Bull||Museum curator|
|2013||The Double||Writer, director|
|2014||The Boxtrolls||Mr. Pickles (voice)|
|2003–2007||The Mighty Boosh||Saboo||5 episodes
Wrote episode: "The Chokes"
|2004||Garth Marenghi's Darkplace||Dean Learner/Thornton Reed||Co-creator, writer, director|
|2004||AD/BC: A Rock Opera||Joseph||Television special
|2005||Nathan Barley||Ned Smanks||6 episodes|
|2006||Man to Man with Dean Learner||Dean Learner||Co-creator writer, director, executive producer|
|2006||Time Trumpet||Himself||6 episodes|
|2006||Snuff Box||Music Show Host||2 episodes|
|2006–2010, 2013||The IT Crowd||Maurice Moss||25 episodes
British Academy Television Award for Best Male Comedy Performance (2014)
Episode: "Critical Film Studies"
|2012–2014||Noel Fielding's Luxury Comedy||Various roles||6 episodes|
|2012||Full English||Edgar (voice)||6 episodes|
|2013–present||Strange Hill High||Templeton (voice)||26 episodes|
|2013–present||Gadget Man||Host||14 episodes|
|2013||Was It Something I Said?||Himself||8 episodes|
Music videos (directed)
|2007||Arctic Monkeys||"Fluorescent Adolescent"|
|2007||Super Furry Animals||"Run Away"|
|2008||Vampire Weekend||"Oxford Comma"|
|2008||The Last Shadow Puppets||"Standing Next to Me"|
|2008||The Last Shadow Puppets||"My Mistakes Were Made for You"|
|2008||Vampire Weekend||"Cape Cod Kwassa Kwassa"|
|2009||Kasabian||"Vlad the Impaler"|
|2009||Arctic Monkeys||"Crying Lightning"|
|2009||Yeah Yeah Yeahs||"Heads Will Roll"|
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