Lee Hurst

Lee Hurst

Date of birth: 16-10-1963
Lee Hurst grew up with his family in one room of his grandmother's maisonette in Poplar, East London. His first job, aged 16, was as a trainee telephone engineer, .

After developing his stand-up act, he became a warm-up man for Have I Got News For You? The producers then needed a warm-up man for the pilot of their new comedy sports quiz, They Think It’s All Over – and ended up signing him as a regular panellist. He appeared in six series, from the first episode in September 1995 until 1998.

In 1996, he hosted an ill-fated revival of Saturday Live, and has made appearances on the likes of That’s Showbusiness, The Stand Up Show and Have I Got News For You? He also created the Channel 5 series Bring Me The Head Of Light Entertainment, which ran for three years from 1997.

However, in the late Nineties, he set up his own club, The Backyard Comedy Club, in Bethnal Green in London’s East End. He considered standing in London's 2004 Mayoral elections in protest over a proposed redevelopment which would have seen his club demolished.

However, he suddenly closed the venue without explanation in November 2007. The club then reopened under the name The FymFygBar, with Hurst compering most Saturday evenings.

He is no stranger to the headlines: In 2005, he was briefly detained under the Mental Health act after threatening to kill himself in an emotional call to a national newspaper, which he later said was a ‘cry for help’ over the way his dying father was being treated in hospital. And in 2008, he smashed an audience member's mobile phone in fury, mistakenly believing his jokes were being filmed for the internet.

Also in 2008, he returned to TV quiz shows, as a regular panelist on Five’s The What In The World?

He suffers from a form of arthritis called ankylosing spondylitis, a hereditary condition which causes acute back and joint pain.

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Twitter suspends Lee Hurst over crude Greta Thunberg post

...but not for long

Lee Hurst has briefly been suspended from Twitter over a crude tweet about Greta Thunberg.

The comedian sparked a huge backlash after posting his joke about the 18-year-old environmental activist.

He was temporarily barred from the social media site after posting: ‘As soon as Greta discovers cock, she'll stop complaining about the single use plastic it's wrapped in.’

But his account - which he headlines ‘desperately trying to be relevant’ is now back up and running again.

His initial post provoked outrage with comments such as ‘Lee Hurst talking about a woman just turned 18 and suggesting that all she needs to fix her views is "cock". Misogynistic and outright fucking creepy’; ‘What he tweeted about Greta Thunberg was genuinely unfunny and gross’; and ‘not edgy, not relevant, not funny. Why bother to be offensive? Have you even thought about what you said?’

David Baddiel said: ‘The reason that Lee Hurst is problematic isn't because it carries underneath it a sense that women, as individuals, with political opinions, are erased by male sexual power. It's problematic because it's a shit gag.

‘I know it's not either/or…. I think there is something abusive towards Greta Thunberg – and generally misogynistic – in that joke.’

He added that Hurst shouldn’t be suspended from Twitter over the comment.

It did not go without comment that Hurst was 'sexually insulting a young woman' at a time when the issue of harassment was especially prominent following the death of Sarah Everard.

But Lee defended the joke as ‘funny’ and dismissed complaints as ‘the usual suspects’ taking offence.

But one user said: ‘If you can’t see that what you wrote was disgusting and very creepy then you have a bigger problem than even I thought and the bar was already very low when it comes to you.’

Hurst, 58,  has been a prominent anti-masker on Twitter and earlier this month put his name to a letter complaining that secondary school pupils shouldn’t wear masks in class, alongside the likes of Laurence Fox, Sue Cook, Peter Hitchens,  and Mark Dolan.

Hurst, the father of a three-year-old son  was a TV regular in the 1990s as a team captain on sport panel quiz They Think It’s All Over.

He then started his own comedy club, the Backyard in Bethnal Green, East London, before selling it for £11million when the site was redeveloped into a hotel, incorporating a new venue.

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Published: 21 Mar 2021

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