Lee Evans

FUNNYMAN Lee Evans may have spent most of the past couple of years making films and TV programmes but he says his first love remains stand-up comedy.

Which is good news for fans who will be going to see him over the next two nights at Bournemouth's Pavilion Theatre.

"I've been off doing telly and films,but I don't kid myself: my job is stand-up," he says. And working on films like Funny Bones, Mouse Hunt, There's Something About Mary and The Martins has given him plenty of time between takes to pen new material.

"Rather than lounging around on set, I'd always be writing routines for my live act,'' he tells me.

Now he's desperate to try the new material out on a real live audience.

"I'm tired of just making a few lighting technicians laugh," he says.

Evans' mesmerising, high-octane brand of physical comedy - he was once described as looking like Norman Wisdom on acid - makes for an electrifying show.

''I've always expressed myself through physical gags,'' he explains. ''Whereas Jack Dee will say something funny, I have to act it out."

The astonishing energy he pours into his shows is instantly apparent to anyone who has seen him coming off stage bathed in sweat.

"I try and give it absolutely everything on stage. If I don't, I'm not happy. After every three shows, I have to chuck my suits away because they won't clean them any more!''

His madcap on-stage persona, he says, is actually just an exaggeration of his own personality.

''I have trouble with normal things - like water, electricity, driving, visiting my parents, people knocking on the door,'' Evans sighs. ''I'm a constant worrier. When I go out, I leave the light on to scare off burglars. But then I spend the whole time worrying that the lights will fuse and start a fire that'll  burn the house down."

For all his worrying, Evans allows himself a small pat on the back. He says he finally feels he's arrived. ''When I left art college,'' he recalls, ''I had crap jobs cleaning toilets and working on building sites. I dreamt of one day doing something creative - and now I've achieved that.''

Lee Evans plays the Pavilion Theatre in Bournemouth tonight (March 6) and tomorrow. For tickets and information call 01202 456456.

© Jeremy Miles 2021