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Lee Evans (born 25 February 1964) is an Englishmarker stand-up comedian, writer, actor and musician.

Personal life

Lee Evans was born in Avonmouthmarker, Bristolmarker, Englandmarker, the son of Dave Evans, a nightclub performer. His secondary school was The Billericay Schoolmarker in Billericaymarker, Essex. After a spell as a boxer and two years at art school in Essex, Evans decided to follow in his father's footsteps in the entertainment business. In his teens he moved to Rhylmarker, Walesmarker, and played drums in a punk rock band called The Forgotten Five.

In 1984, he married Heather Nudds with whom he has a daughter, Mollie (born 1994). They currently live in Billericaymarker, Essex.

Stand-up comedy

Evans rose to fame during the 1990s, becoming noted for his loud, hot, sweaty, energetic on-stage performances, humorous voices and very physical observational comedy. His style of slapstick, physical humour has led to frequent comparisons with Norman Wisdom, though Evans does not regard Wisdom as an influence. In his earlier work, he often used a dysfunctional character called Malcolm to illustrate how he viewed unusual characters in the world. In 1993, Evans won the Perrier Comedy Award for his work at the Edinburgh Festival.

One of the trademarks of Evans's performances is his sweatiness: he is usually drenched in his own sweat. During most of his headlining performances, he often takes an intermission, during which he changes into a completely different suit; he once said that this was because he was "as nervous as a nun awaiting her pregnancy test results". He has also said that his suits are regularly thrown away after just one performance, mainly because of the sweat, with dry-cleaners refusing to handle them. An opening video shown in his Big 2008 Tour parodies his sweatiness by showing Lee panicking in his dressing room before walking on-stage, resulting in his dressing room being flooded.

A second trademark is The Lee Evans Trio, which consists of him on a bare stage, in a spotlight, miming to a recording of instrumental sound; the spotlight goes out, only to reappear in another location, to which Evans has moved during the blackout, and where he is now miming playing a different instrument. He mimes in three locations, with an imaginary drum kit, double bass and piano.

A third trademark is his apparent "stage fright". At the beginning of his act he'll often pretend to get the microphone cord tangled up or thrown over his shoulder, or even that it doesn't work (he'll begin to talk but nothing is heard, until the end of a gag or question is suddenly audible). He may spend the first few minutes rambling as if he can't remember what he came on stage for. Often he will tilt the microphone stand and pretend to machine gun the audience, again as a nervous reaction and supposed "time filler".

Evans is also known for performing music skits at the end of every gig, usually his world-famous mime to Queen's "Bohemian Rhapsody" is performed as an encore.

In November 2005, Evans broke the world record for a solo act performing to the biggest comedy audience, playing to 10,108 at the Manchester Evening News Arenamarker,.

Evans toured Britain with a brand new stand-up act, "Big", in Autumn 2008, with a DVD of the tour released in on the 24th of November 2008. This was scheduled to involve the first ever performance by a comedian at the O2 Arenamarker in Londonmarker until Chris Rock announced dates that would take place at the venue prior to Evans. The DVD became the best selling comedy DVD in Britain for Christmas 2008 selling over one million copies.

Evans completed his Big Tour around the UK in 2008, and played many sold out shows on this tour, such as in London and Belfast. During this tour he performed in front of over 500,000 people on 59 dates.

Acting and other work

Evans has made a number of film appearances, most notably in Funny Bones, MouseHunt, There's Something About Mary, The Fifth Element, The Ladies Man, The Martins and The Medallion. Evans also provided the voice for Zippo in the 2002 TV miniseries Dinotopia and Train in the 2005 film The Magic Roundabout.

From 1993-1994 Evans appeared in the Channel 4 late-night show Viva Cabaret!, both as a host and as a guest performer. In 1996, Evans starred in Channel 4 series, The World of Lee Evans. In 2001, he wrote a sitcom called So What Now?.

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).

From 2004 - 2005 he played Leo Bloom in the London production of The Producers along with Nathan Lane, with whom he also starred in MouseHunt, in which they played brothers. In 2007 he appeared in the 50th anniversay production of The Dumb Waiter. May 2007 saw him star in the television drama The History of Mr Polly.

Evans is also a singer and musician as is shown on the Lee Evans XL Live Tour 2005. He can play a variety of instruments, including the mandolin, the ukulele, the guitar, the bass, the electronic keyboard, the piano 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 refers to in his act as Little Mo.

Evans appeared as Malcolm Taylor, a Welsh scientist employed by UNIT in a Doctor Who Easter 2009 special, entitled "Planet of the Dead".

Evans was awarded an Honorary Doctorate from Anglia Ruskin University on 24th November 2009.

References

  1. http://www.filmreference.com/film/55/Lee-Evans.html
  2. 'All I've ever felt on stage is pain', Daily Telegraph, 25 Oct 2004, "I saw his films as a kid. It surprises me because if you watch my act it's nothing like his really."
  3. http://www.chortle.co.uk/news/2008/12/22/8027/lees_big_achievement
  4. http://www.chortle.co.uk/news/2009/01/12/8110/lee_evans_sells_a_million_dvds
  5. http://www.leeevansbigtour.co.uk/index.html


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