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10 Famous Comedians With Dark Sides You Didn’t Know About

3. Lee Evans

Simply watching a Lee Evans show feels like a workout. A zany whirlwind of a man; his extraordinary facial expressions, wacky voices and crazed stage olympics have audiences crying with laughter; but his nervous, bumbling persona is more than just a stage act. Performing in a permanent sheath of sweat, Lee Evans has turned his anxiety, self-deprecation and shyness into an art form. Plagued with anxiety for the majority of his life, Lee has said he never expected to feel confident. He's suffered several nervous breakdowns, the tragic death of his young nephew, and a fair few failures in his time... though you'd never guess it when he's on stage. When asked if anger fuelled his creativity, he said half of it was anger, but only with himself. Questioned why this was, he replied: "Well, number one, look at me. I've got strange ears and an odd-looking face." As a youngster, Lee's family moved around a lot while his father performed in nightclubs around the country. He was bullied in all of the dozens of schools he attended, both kids and teachers. Punched, kicked and constantly called an idiot; he started to believe it. His eccentric childhood surrounded by musicians, comedians and singers rubbed off on him, and, despite his crippling shyness, Lee got into comedy (after originally starting a career as a boxer) when he was 20. He said the reason he went into the comedy industry was to face his fears and insecurities - to fight back, you could say. His low confidence means he's constantly battling with himself, wondering if he's doing the right thing. One breakdown came on after winning the Perrier Comedy award in 1993: he just didn't know how to cope with success, or what was expected of him, so his body closed down. Now, at 50 years old, he's loving life, and says his wife and daughter have helped him reach the point he is today. He remains admirably grounded: living in the same two-bedroom house in Essex he bought decades ago and driving a Ford Fiesta. What a dude. Lee's Best Lines "People tell me, "Lee, you should take up golf. It's good for you." You know what I say to that? "F*** off." "Peanuts! What happened to peanuts! Now every buggers allergic to peanuts! It€™s true, you open a packet of peanuts now, and a bunch of five year olds in a five mile radius slam to the floor, jabbing themselves with f***ing adrenaline!" "I like it when the waiter asks if you want parmesan cheese on your dinner, yeah, give me essence of puke all over me tea!"
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Human woman. Content Manager at What Culture. Lover of many "ologies", punk rock and cats. My god is Ilúvatar. Follow me on Twitter: @nina_cresswell