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Chris Addison stars in "The Thick of It" on BBC America as Oliver Reeder.

Chris Addison was born Anatole Gorzjic in a sideshow tent during the middle of a four-week run of the Cirque du Zinfandel at Dubrovnik Municipal Rec. His father was the bearded man and his mother was an itinerant teeth-grinder. Much of his early life was spent following the circus from town to town, learning the skills of the big top and occasionally standing in as a tent peg when needed. These experiences proved formative and the influence can still be seen on Addison's act — his unconventional use of elephants, for example, which has challenged the structural integrity of a number of pub-based comedy clubs.

When his father's career was cut short by an over-keen barber in the mid-nineteenth century, the Gorzjic family settled permanently in England, a country they had grown to know and understand through the novels of Charles Dickens. Anxious to fit in, they decided to change their name to something more typically English. There followed long months of experimentation and bewildering reactions. At first they called themselves Bumberdink, then Feddlechip. They moved through Garnlevel, Moodibank and Filp until they gave the whole thing up and called themselves Addison.

Young Anatole was schooled at Manchester's only Hassidic Anglican Academy, a deeply Orthodox High Church establishment. Although he enjoyed the curriculum, he would later complain that he found the smell of incense was difficult to get out of his Homburg. It was during his years here, that Anatole took his first steps in the world of comedy, writing, directing and performing in the end-of-year reviews "Holy Moses, Here Comes Jesus!" and "Fiddler on the Roof Repair Fund."

On leaving the Academy, and following military service in the Crimea, Anatole took the professional name Chris and began trying his luck at open mics around Manchester, while earning money during the day as a pasta smelter's assistant. In November 1995 he won the prestigious City Life North-West Comedian of the Year competition, following which he was fortunate enough to be able to up his hours at the pasta smelting plant.

In 1998 Addison met a Chinese mystic at the northbound Stafford services on the M6 in the queue for sandwich prisms. Over an under-cooked panini, the mystic persuaded him to take a self-titled and largely eponymous solo show to that year's Edinburgh Festival Fringe. The mystic then got into an RAC van and drove off. Lacking any direction or decision-making facility of his own, Addison chose to follow the mystic's advice and was surprised to be rewarded with a Perrier Best Newcomer nomination for his trouble.

The rest of 1998 passed in an extraordinary whirl for Addison, who found himself much in demand by the crowned heads of Europe. Indeed, he spent a long enough time at the court of the Queen of Bohemia during the autumn to cause the Mitteleuropa rumor mill some effort. A full-blown scandal was averted when the Queen eloped with the Crown Princess of Vulgaria, the fictional nature of their two countries doing nothing to diminish the impact of the event.

Back in England, Addison spent an enjoyable few weeks sitting on a sofa under hot lights, presenting "The Alphabet Show" with his great friend, the musician, broadcaster and wit Lauren Laverne. The show was aired by the now defunct UK Play channel.

In spring 1999 Addison returned to the Crimea, where he'd left his keys. Now able to get back into his well-appointed garret in a Tooting attic, he wrote a fairly unremarkable follow-up solo show, "Gentleman, Scholar, Acrobat," with which he troubled Edinburgh audiences that August.

In 2000 Addison had two further, and very different, encounters with the world of television. In May he and his friend Gail were somehow persuaded to present the best-forgotten "Dotcomedy" program for Britain's Channel 4. Later that year, though, Addison and another friend, Geoff Lloyd, were invited to co-write the final series of "TFI Friday," for the same channel. Approaching this as an exercise in fantasy fulfillment, they used the opportunity to strand Keith Harris and Orville on a raft in the middle of the Thames, unleashing highwaymen onto the streets of Hammersmith and instigating a program of Womble-eviction, amongst other things.

The following summer saw Addison performing at the famous Just For Laughs Comedy Festival in Montreal and his third assault on the sensibilities of Scottish festival-going audiences when he arrived in Edinburgh with his new show, "Cakes and Ale." This was an exploration of what being English means these days and was jolly well-received. In 2001 Addison was invited to take the show to the Melbourne International Comedy Festival. On his return, he wrote a companion piece, entitled "Port Out, Starboard Home," an exploration of the English abroad and their wider attitudes to the world outside their borders. In 2002, the piece resulted in another trip to Melbourne where it was nominated for the Barry Humphries Award.

Addison then produced his fifth show "The Ape that Got Lucky," an exploration of the whole of human evolution. This he managed to fit into an hour. You can see that as an achievement, or you can see it as the trivialization of an important subject. It's up to you.

After the Edinburgh Festival, Addison was involved in presenting another television program for the digital channel BBC Choice called "The State We're In." It was canceled. Nobody raised any objections. However, along with Andy Zaltzman and John Oliver, he was commissioned by BBC Radio 4 to write "The Department," a satirical series set in the non-governmental organization which really runs the country. The Establishment trembled.

In December 2003 he appeared on "Have I Got News for You," as part of a protracted campaign to raise legal fees through the medium of working. This was also aided by his engagement in May to write a fortnightly column for The Guardian's Jobs & Money section, despite having had neither a job nor money for a number of years.

Early in 2004, "The Department" was finally recorded and aired. A second, longer, series was commissioned for spring 2005.

Addison returned to Melbourne with "The Ape That Got Lucky," a version of which he'd just recorded for BBC Radio 4 as a pilot for a series of the same name. It was subsequently commissioned and recorded at The Almeida Theatre, over a series of Sunday nights and was broadcast in August 2005, winning Britain's top prize for radio comedy, the Sony Gold Award, in 2006. The show sold out in Australia, as it had in Edinburgh.

Addison then wrote and performed yet another show for the Edinburgh Festival Fringe called "Civilization." It concerned the elements that go to make up that concept, and it received a nomination for that year's Perrier Award in Scotland. He was invited back to Australia to perform the show at the Melbourne International Comedy Festival and for a fortnight's run at The Sydney Opera House. At the former event, he was nominated once more for the Barry Humphries Award. The show was broadcast in April 2006.

Addison then filmed a semi-improvised, political sitcom called "The Thick of It" under the auspices of Britain's favorite Italo-Glaswegian satirist, Armando Iannucci. The program won Best New Comedy Show at the British Comedy Awards 2005, where Addison was also nominated as Best Newcomer for his performance in the role of Ollie Reeder.

He then wrote his seventh one-man show, "Atomicity," and dragged it up to Edinburgh, where it too was nominated for the Perrier Award. He later authored "Cautionary Tales for Grown-Ups," which is published by Hodder and Stoughton. The only other book he has written is "It Wasn't Me: Why Everyone Else Is to Blame and You're Not," a reflection on the state of the world and instructions on how to prove that none of it is your fault.

In 2005, the BBC commissioned a pilot episode of "Lab Rats," a sitcom written by Addison and his long-time co-conspirator Carl Cooper. The show made it to air in July 2008 and starred the young master alongside his old radio comrades Jo Enright, Geoffrey McGivern and Dan Tetsell, plus Selina Cadell and Helen Moon.

In the spring and early summer of 2008, the team who made "The Thick of It" reunited to film "In the Loop." Since then, he had a recurring role in Channel 4's "Skins" as David Blood.


How tall is Chris Addison? How old is Chris Addison? Find out here.

Age: 44 years old
Birthday: November 5, 1971
Height: 5' 11"
Birthplace: Didsbury, Manchester, England, UK

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