Lee Evans (comedian)

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Lee Evans
Lee Evans 2004-11-13.jpg
Evans in November 2004
Lee John Martin Evans

(1964-02-25) 25 February 1964 (age 59)
Bristol, England
Years active1984–2017
Heather Nudds
(m. 1984)
Lee Evans' Signature.png

Lee John Martin Evans (born 25 February 1964) is a British retired film and television actor, musician, singer, writer and stand-up comedian. He co-founded the production company Little Mo Films with Addison Cresswell, who was also his agent prior to Cresswell's death in December 2013.[1]

Evans became one of the United Kingdom's most popular stand-up comedians, with his Roadrunner tour grossing £12.9 million.[2] He made his cinema debut with the Jerry Lewis comedy Funny Bones (1995), earning the Paris Film Festival Award for Best Actor, and went on to appear in the Hollywood films The Fifth Element (1997), Mouse Hunt (1997), There's Something About Mary (1998), The Ladies Man (2000), and The Medallion (2003). He lent his voice to Zipeau the Troodon in the Emmy-nominated miniseries Dinotopia (2002) and made a notable departure from comedy with a leading role in the Irish thriller film Freeze Frame (2004).

In 2008, the DVD of Evans' Big – Live at the O2 show 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, he announced his retirement from stand-up comedy. In 2017, he briefly came out of retirement to star in a run of William Shakespeare and Harold Pinter plays.

Early life[edit]

Lee John Martin Evans[3] was born in the Avonmouth suburb of Bristol on 25 February 1964,[4][5][6] to Irish mother Shirley Hunt and Welsh father Dave Evans (died June 2019).[7] He has an older brother, Wayne (born 1962).[citation needed] His father was a comedian, musician, and impressionist.[8][9] The family left Bristol in 1975, moving to Essex,[10] where Evans attended The Billericay School. After a spell as a boxer and two years at Thurrock Art College in Essex, he followed his father into entertainment. During his teenage years, he moved to Scarborough, North Yorkshire, where he was a drummer in a punk rock band called The Anonymous Five.[11]


Stand-up comedy[edit]

Evans rose to fame during the 1990s with abrasive, exciting, sweaty, energetic stage performances, and physical observational comedy. His slapstick humour has led to comparisons with Norman Wisdom, though Evans does not regard Wisdom as an influence.[12] In 1993, he won the Perrier Comedy Award for his work at the Edinburgh Festival.[13]

Evans's 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.[14] 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.[15]

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.[16] 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. It became the best-selling comedy DVD in the UK for Christmas 2008, selling over 1,000,000 copies.[17][18] 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 in Bournemouth in August, running until November in Cardiff. He appeared at the Wyvern Theatre, Swindon, on 10 June to test his new material for the "Roadrunner" tour. He then sold out Bristol's Colston Hall for three 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 15 October 2010 at 9 am.[19]

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 the Bournemouth International Centre, Brighton Centre, Motorpoint Arena Nottingham, Wembley Arena, the National Indoor Arena, The O2 London, Liverpool Arena, Motorpoint Arena Cardiff, Odyssey Complex Belfast and The O2 Dublin. This brought the tour up to 67 dates in 14 cities which is eight more than the record-breaking tour of 2008.[20] In 2011, he was honoured by the British Comedy Awards with the Channel 4 Award for Special Contribution to Comedy.

In November 2014, Evans announced on The Jonathan Ross Show that he was retiring from stand-up comedy to spend more time with his wife and daughter.[21][22]


Evans has made a number of film appearances, such as in Funny Bones, Mouse Hunt, There's Something About Mary (where he played an American posing as British), 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 to 1994, 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 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, Evans 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. For his role in The Producers, Evans received a nomination for the Laurence Olivier Award for Best Actor in a Musical; Lane won the award.[23] In 2007 he appeared in the 50th anniversary production of The Dumb Waiter. May 2007 saw him star in a television adaptation of the book The History of Mr. Polly.

Evans appeared as Malcolm Taylor, a Welsh scientist, in the 2009 Doctor Who Easter special "Planet of the Dead".[24]

Between September 2013 and January 2014, Evans starred in the play Barking in Essex at London's Wyndham's Theatre.[25]

In October 2017, Lee Evans came out of retirement to perform scenes from Shakespeare's plays in a one-off fundraiser along with Jack Whitehall in the play "Whither Would You Go?" at the Harold Pinter Theatre, London.


Evans is also a singer and musician, as shown on his arena tours.[citation needed] He can play the guitar, bass guitar, keyboards, piano, turntables, mandolin, ukulele, and drums.[citation needed]


In 2001, he co-wrote and starred in the sitcom So What Now? for the BBC. Eight episodes were written in total.

He also has his own production company that produces his stand up DVDs called Little Mo Films, named after his daughter, to whom he often refers as Little Mo.

Personal life[edit]

Evans met Heather Nudds when they were both 17 years old; they were married on 22 September 1984,[26] and reside in Billericay, Essex.[27]

His daughter, Mollie, was studying at the University of Florida as of 2014.[28][29] She is now an illustrator.[30]


Tour dates[edit]

*Not including "work in progress" shows.
Year Title Shows
1996 Different Planet Tour 116
1998 Don't Try This at Home 100
2002 Wired and Wonderful 121
2005 XL 29*
2008 Big 59*
2011 Roadrunner 67*
2014 Monsters 65*

Box office score data[edit]

Venue City Tickets sold / available Gross revenue
The O2 Arena London 88,037 / 93,432 (94%) £4,119,760[31]
Manchester Arena Manchester 53,391 / 54,558 (98%) £2,567,080[32]
The O2 Dublin 17,733 / 17,733 (100%) £861,649[33]
TOTAL 159,161 / 165,723 (97%) £7,548,489

VHS/DVD releases[edit]

Year Title Venue
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 – Live International Arena, Cardiff
2008 Big – Live at the O2 The O2 Arena, London
2011 Roadrunner – Live at the O2
2014 Monsters – Live Barclaycard Arena, Birmingham



Year Title Role Notes
1995 The World of Lee Evans Lee Writer
1997 Brooms Can man
1998 Clair de Lune Pete Series Rik Mayall Presents
2001 So What Now? Lee Writer
2002 Dinotopia Zipeau (a Troodon) Voice
2007 The History of Mr Polly Alfred Polly
2007 The Dinner Party Leo
2009 Doctor Who Dr. Malcolm Taylor Episode: "Planet of the Dead"


Year Title Role Notes
1995 Funny Bones Jack Parker Film debut
1997 The Fifth Element Fog
1997 Mouse Hunt Lars Smuntz
1998 There's Something About Mary Tucker / Norm Phipps
2000 The Ladies Man Barney
2001 The Martins Robert Martin
2002 Plots with a View (a.k.a. Undertaking Betty) Delbert Butterfield
2003 Stealing Bess Toady
2003 The Medallion Arthur Watson
2004 Freeze Frame Sean Veil
2005 The Magic Roundabout Train Voice


Year Title Role
2004 Endgame Clov
2004–2005 The Producers Leo Bloom
2007 The Dumb Waiter Gus
2013–2014 Barking in Essex Darnley Packer
2017 Whither Would You Go? Various Roles
2018 Pinter Three Various Roles

Accolades and awards[edit]

In 2010, Evans received an Honorary Doctorate of the Arts at the University of East London's graduation ceremony.

Awarding Body/Event Awarded
British Comedy Award
  • 2011 Outstanding Contribution to Comedy
Whats on Stage Awards
Paris Film Festival
Edinburgh Comedy Award
  • 1993 Perrier Award
Time Out Comedy Awards
  • 1992 for Achievement in Comedy


  1. ^ 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. London. Retrieved 23 August 2013.
  2. ^ "Lee Evans – Mirror". Daily Mirror. London: Reach plc. Retrieved 26 November 2016.
  3. ^ "Index entry". FreeBMD. ONS. Retrieved 15 July 2014.
  4. ^ Evans, Lee (10 May 2012). The Life of Lee. Penguin Books. p. 1. ISBN 978-0718156190.
  5. ^ "Lee Evans". Chortle. Powder Blue Web Agency. Retrieved 12 July 2016.
  6. ^ "Lee Evans Biography". IMDb. Retrieved 11 November 2020.
  7. ^ Saunders, Emmeline; Newman, Vicki (10 June 2019). "Comedian Dave Evans – dad of Lee Evans – dies". Daily Mirror. Retrieved 13 June 2019.
  8. ^ Opie and Anthony – Lee Evans part 4. 28 July 2010. Archived from the original on 21 December 2021 – via YouTube.
  9. ^ "Lee Evans profile at FilmReference.com". Film Reference. Retrieved 4 June 2011.
  10. ^ "Lee Evans returns to the West End". Chortle. Powder Blue Web Agency. 30 November 2012.
  11. ^ White, Jim (27 January 1996). "Oooh, er, cripes". The Independent. UK. Retrieved 28 April 2008.
  12. ^ 'All I've ever felt on stage is pain'. The Daily Telegraph. London. 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."
  13. ^ "if.comedy – Past winners". if.comedy. Archived from the original on 28 September 2007. Retrieved 27 February 2008.
  14. ^ Lee Evans interview. Daily Mirror YouTube. 31 October 2007. Archived from the original on 21 December 2021. Retrieved 27 February 2008.
  15. ^ "Comic Evans breaks crowd record". BBC News. 20 November 2005. Retrieved 27 February 2008.
  16. ^ "Lee Evans: Big On Tour 2008". LeeEvansBigTour.co.uk. Retrieved 4 June 2011.
  17. ^ "Lee's Big achievement: News 2008". Chortle. Powder Blue Web Agency. 22 December 2008. Retrieved 4 June 2011.
  18. ^ "Lee Evans sells a million DVDs". Chortle. Powder Blue Web Agency. Retrieved 4 June 2011.
  19. ^ "Lee Evans to Tour again in 2011". Chortle. Powder Blue Web Agency. Retrieved 4 June 2011.
  20. ^ "Lee Evans announces extra tour dates". LeeEvans2011Tour.co.uk. Retrieved 4 June 2011.
  21. ^ "Lee Evans: I'm retiring from comedy to spend more time with my wife". The Daily Telegraph. London. 20 November 2014. Retrieved 20 November 2014.
  22. ^ "Lee Evans announces retirement from comedy on The Jonathan Ross Show". The Independent. 20 November 2014. Retrieved 20 November 2014.
  23. ^ Olivier Winners 2005
  24. ^ "All Aboard For Next Special!". BBC Doctor Who. 23 January 2009. Retrieved 23 January 2009.
  25. ^ "Barking in Essex – Wyndhams Theatre London – tickets, information, reviews". London Theatreland.
  26. ^ "Lee Evans". IMDb.
  27. ^ Hawkins, Elliot (14 September 2019). "What it's like to live on Essex's 'millionaire rows'". Essex Live.
  28. ^ "Lee Evans: I'm retiring from comedy to spend more time with my wife". The Daily Telegraph. London. 20 November 2014. Retrieved 20 November 2014.
  29. ^ "Lee Evans announces retirement from comedy on The Jonathan Ross Show". The Independent. 20 November 2014. Retrieved 20 November 2014.
  30. ^ "Mollie Evans (@littlemotac) • Instagram photos and videos".
  31. ^ "Current Boxscore". Billboard. 12 November 2011. Archived from the original on 19 February 2012. Retrieved 19 April 2012.
  32. ^ "Current Boxscore". Billboard. 26 January 2012. Archived from the original on 19 February 2012. Retrieved 19 April 2012.
  33. ^ "Current Boxscore". Billboard. 19 February 2012. Archived from the original on 19 February 2012. Retrieved 19 April 2012.

External links[edit]