Lee Evans is quitting comedy. Lee Evans. The man who has basically kept dry cleaners in business with all that on-stage sweating – and has hit himself with his microphone more times than is probably healthy – is quitting. It’s a huge blow.
“This is it. Finished… it’s the end,” Evans will tell Jonathan Ross on his chat show this weekend, as his current tour Monsters speeds towards its end. No more gigs, he confirms. “I’m not doing anything. This is it.”
“My dad always said to us ‘You’ve got to work’ so I’ve just continuously worked, done comedy, toured. But I’ve ignored, I think for far too long, my missus, and I want to spend a lot more time with her.”
It’s a fair enough reason, obviously. But what about us fans? The fans who’ve spent years spouting his hilarious lines, yelling at bemused friends, “IT’S FROM LEE EVANS!”
I can’t get through an airport trip without the man. When you’re sent to gate 95, lugging bag upon bag, you want to scream Evans’s words: “Where’s gate one? I’ve never seen a f***ing gate one. Why do we have to walk the first mile and a half ourselves? Are you trying to save on petrol?”
I’m that person in the restaurant, when they ask “Table for two?”, who replies with Evans-esque disdain: “Er, hang on, let me count, one, two, yes f***ing, please.”
He’s like a cartoon made real. His energy, albeit soaking the front row, is infectious. His inability to get through his own jokes without laughing is endearing. His comedy-filled songs are a delight.
This year he was named the UK’s favourite comedian. It’s no surprise. Evans sells out arenas so big he often jokes that the people on the top row have snow on their heads.
But with Evans now calling time on his tours, we’re going to miss out on so much. Who’s going to tell us what really happens when his daughter Mollie brings her first boyfriend home to meet ‘Mr Evans’? Who’s going to tell us the next time his wife buys a kitchen appliance so big he has to break it to fit it in the car? WHO’S GOING TO TALK ABOUT MALCOLM?
Bye, Lee. Now sing us out…
See The Jonathan Ross Show Saturday 22nd November, 10.45pm, ITV