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Lee Evans exclusively reveals his retirement from comedy on The Jonathan Ross Show

Published: Thu 20 Nov 2014

Lee Evans exclusively reveals his retirement from comedy on The Jonathan Ross Show
Broadcasts Saturday 22 November on ITV
Funny man, Lee Evans, made an entrance onto The Jonathan Ross Show - which will air on ITV on Saturday - as he climbed through the set pretending to clean the windows of Jonathan’s famous skyline backdrop. In an emotional and moving interview, Lee exclusively revealed that he will retire from comedy at the end of his current tour.
Speaking to Jonathan Ross about whether he has a ‘game plan’ following his Monsters tour, Lee said: “This is it. Finished… It’s the end.” Shocked, Jonathan said, “I wouldn’t have asked if I knew that was the answer. You’re not going to tour anymore?” “No,” Lee responded, “I’m not doing anything. This is it. Yeah finished.”
Opening up about his decision, Lee spoke about the death of his manager - Addison Cresswell - who also managed Jonathan: “Well my manager died last year… To be fair, I’ve been working... I started off cleaning toilets when I was a kid and I’ve had loads of jobs and I just kept working and working and working and 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.”
He continued: “This is it, I ain’t doing nothing I’m going to go and see my wife, I’m going to give her a big hug and say ‘I am yours’ and I know what’ll happen, in a week [she’ll say] ‘get out, you’re getting on my nerves!’ But I’ve said to her, ‘look love, I’m really sorry that I’m always away.’ I’m a nightmare to live with because I’m always working... I don’t know I’ve come to a junction in my life where - please forgive me it sounds very narcissistic - I’ve done musicals and plays and films and stand up and you sort of get to a point where you go ‘I don’t know what else to do next.’”
Asking whether he wants to retire because there’s no challenge or because he wants to be with his family, Lee simply replied: “I’ve just got to go and see my wife. I love her very, very much.”
Remembering Addison, Jonathan spoke about how he died unexpectedly at the age of 53. Lee continued: “He was a great bloke. I mean he was completely... anyone who knows him always says the same thing ‘he’s mental your manager!’ I mean I told you that story… I was flying, I was in Hollywood, I was making films, I was doing stand up at The Improv and Addison flew in and we both flew out… He just ruined my whole career in Los Angeles!” he joked.
Addison managed Lee for his whole career. The comedian reminisced about their relationship: “He used to say to me every gig I ever did he used to get me round the neck and he’d say ‘Lee, this is your Wembley!’ and then one day, we played Wembley and he knocked on my dressing room and he said ‘Lee this is your Wembley’ and I went ‘Addison, this is Wembley!’ and he went ‘Oh yeah we’re at Wembley, how about that!’ So I started off with him, I was just a kid… I’ve known him ever since I was a kid.”
Jonathan mentions some of the other comedy stars that Addison managed, including Michael McIntyre and Alan Carr. He said: “I always got the feeling that the two guys he [Addison] was closest to was you and Jack Dee because he’d known you all along and I thought you in particular, you had a relationship which was - even though you were essentially the same age - it was a bit like a father and son relationship…”
Lee agreed, “If you meet me in the street, I’m very polite, I’m very well mannered and I’m not very strong as a person, I can’t push myself. I’m not an ambitious person, the reason I’m sat here today is because I’m sat here… I’ve arrived here, I haven’t asked you to come on the show, people asked me to do a film, I didn’t want to get a film, they asked me to do an arena, I didn’t want to do an arena and I’ve just ended up here.” Visibly choked, Lee finished: “All I’ve ever done is work and Addison used to put his arm around me and say ‘don’t worry, it’s alright, I’ll look after you, it’s ok.'”
Comforting Lee, Jonathan said, “it was a horrible, horrible blow. It was a horrible shock… I get the feeling that you’re still really coming to terms with it?”
Lee responded, “No I’m not at all, no absolutely not, it happens in life, people pass away that’s what happens… It really does put things in perspective. For example, doing these arenas right, what happens is, it’s absolutely amazing because it’s so humbling… You walk out and you do three or four or five nights… and loads of people turn up and we have a massive big laugh and the atmosphere is amazing and it’s just a humbling experience and you’re standing on stage going 'I want to take this in because it's really important because it doesn’t last long.'”
Looking to the future, Lee told Jonathan: “I want to go and see my wife, she deserves my time, I’ve been working solidly,” and said he will be dedicating his time to his wife and daughter, Mollie, now: “I want to be there… every single week I’ve been doing plays and… I’ve always said to Little Mo [his daughter] ‘I’m sorry Little Mo I can’t go to the school play because I’ve got to do this work…’ Now I can go ‘Yeah let’s go and see Little Mo, let’s go and be with Hev [his wife, Heather] let’s go and do the stuff that we never did when we were kids.’”
At the end of the emotional interview, Jonathan finished: “Well I hope that you will still find time to come back and entertain us on television with appearances like this whenever you have the time, whenever you have the inclination because I’m going to keep asking!” and Lee finished, “I love you very much, thank you Jonathan, you’re a really good bloke.”