Bailey was listed by the Observer as one of the 50 funniest acts in British comedy in 2003. In 2007 and again in 2010, he was voted the 7th greatest stand-up comic on Channel 4's 100 Greatest Stand-Ups. Bailey has most recently appeared in the second series of the E4 teenage "dramedy" Skins playing Maxxie's dad, Walter Oliver.Read more >>
Bill Bailey is an English comedian, musician, and actor. As well as his extensive stand-up work, Bailey is well known for his role in Black Books and his appearances on Never Mind the Buzzcocks, Have I Got News for You, and QI.
In 1984 he formed a double act, the Rubber Bishops, with Toby Longworth (a former fellow pupil at King Edward's, Bath). They achieved a certain amount of success on the club circuit, partly due to their rigorous schedule – sometimes as many as three or four gigs a night. In 1994 Bailey performed Rock at the Edinburgh Festival Fringe with Sean Lock, a show about an ageing rockstar and his roadie, script-edited by comedy writer Jim Miller. It was later serialised for the Mark Radcliffe show on BBC Radio 1. went solo the next year with the one man show Bill Bailey's Cosmic Jam. The show was very well received and led to a recording at the Bloomsbury Theatre in London which was broadcast in 1997 on Channel 4 as a one-hour special called Bill Bailey Live. It was not until 2005 that this was released in DVD uncut and under its original title. It marked the first time that Bailey had been able to tie together his music and post-modern gags with the whimsical rambling style he is now known for. After supporting Donna McPhail in 1995 and winning a Time Out award, he returned to Edinburgh in 1996 with a critically acclaimed show that was nominated for the Perrier Comedy Award. Amongst the other nominees was future Black Books co-star Dylan Moran, who narrowly beat him in the closest vote in the award's history. Though he didn't win the Perrier in 1996, the nomination was enough to get him noticed, and in 1998 the BBC gave him his own television show, Is It Bill Bailey?
Bailey won the Best Live Stand-Up award at the British Comedy Awards, 1999. In 1998, Dylan Moran approached him with the pilot script for Black Books, a Channel 4 sitcom about a grumpy bookshop owner, his put-upon assistant, and their neurotic female friend. It was commissioned in 2000, and Bailey took the part of the assistant Manny Bianco, with Moran playing the owner Bernard, and Tamsin Greig the friend, Fran. Three series of six episodes were made, building up a large cult fanbase, providing the public awareness on which Bailey would build a successful national tour in 2001.
Bailey was listed by the Observer as one of the 50 funniest acts in British comedy in 2003. In 2007 and again in 2010, he was voted the 7th greatest stand-up comic on Channel 4's 100 Greatest Stand-Ups. Bailey has most recently appeared in the second series of the E4 teenage "dramedy" Skins playing Maxxie's dad, Walter Oliver.