Lee Evans (born 25 February 1964) is an English stand-up comedian, writer, actor and musician. Lee Evans was born in Avonmouth, Bristol, England, the son of Dave Evans, a nightclub performer and Shirley Evans. His secondary school was The Billericay School in Billericay, Essex. After a spell as a boxer and two years at Thurrock art college in Essex, Evans decided to follow in his father’s footsteps in the entertainment business. In his teens he moved to Rhyl, Wales, 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 Billericay, Essex.
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 Arena.
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 Arena in London 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.[
Evans has confirmed that he will return to stand-up with a new tour in 2011.