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Addison Cresswell

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Addison Cresswell
Addison Lee Cresswell

(1960-06-28)28 June 1960[1]
Died23 December 2013(2013-12-23) (aged 53)
London, England
OccupationTalent agent and producer
Spouse(s)Shelly Cresswell (??-2013; his death)

Addison Lee Cresswell (28 June 1960 – 23 December 2013) was a British comedy talent agent and producer.[2]

He was notable for finding many stand-up "alternative" comedians at the Edinburgh Festival Fringe and at other venues,[3] promoting them and finding spots for them on television and radio over a 30-year period from the 1980s.[1] He has been called "one of the most influential people in British comedy",[4] "arguably the most powerful man in UK comedy" for two decades[5] and "the Darth Vader of the Fringe".[5]

Early life

Cresswell was born in Brighton, East Sussex.[6] His father, Peter Cresswell, was the dean of arts at Goldsmiths College, University of London. His younger brother, Luke, became a founder of the dance and percussion group Stomp.[1] He was educated at St Luke's Primary School (Brighton), Longhill High School (Rottingdean), and Brighton Polytechnic, where he studied graphic design and was the student entertainments officer.[7]

As Ents Officer at Brighton Polytechnic, he booked bands such as U2, Killing Joke, Joy Division, New Order and Madness.[8] He was able to live off the money he made.[5]


He first visited the Edinburgh Fringe in 1982 with Tony Allen.[5]

He founded 'The Comedy Boom' with club promoter and comedian Ivor Dembina (who he'd viewed as a rival[5]) in Edinburgh in 1987.[9] It was the Edinburgh Festival Fringe's first venue for stand-up comedy. They found the venue - the Abercraig Lounge - simply by walking round Edinburgh. The landlord was initially sceptical, but they persuaded him to show them the basement function room and knew it was going to work.[5]

The performance poet and comedian John Hegley was Cresswell's first client. He founded a production company called Wonderdog with Paul Merton and Julian Clary who he had met at 'The Comedy Boom'.[1] His client list went on to include: Sean Lock, Jon Richardson, Jonathan Ross,[10] Lee Evans, Michael McIntyre,[3] Alan Carr, Kevin Bridges and Rich Hall.[1] He was behind Live at the Apollo, which was hosted by Michael McIntyre and Stand Up for the Week on Channel 4 Television from 2010.[10]

He founded and ran the Off the Kerb talent agency which has a television division called 'Open Mike Productions'.[1] He organised the Channel 4 Comedy Gala annually in support of Great Ormond Street Hospital.[2] Off The Kerb was a name he had been using since the early days.[5]

"He liked the idea of being a Svengali figure, like Brian Epstein with The Beatles," said Dembina, but "he wasn't a greedy person. And the thing people forget about Addison is what a brilliant designer he was. He created the most eye-catching posters".[5]

He helped his client Jonathan Ross secure a BBC contract worth £18m. When Ross became involved in the Sachsgate controversy, and lost the prime-time TV slot, it was taken over by Live at the Apollo, a show produced by Cresswell's TV production company, which helped to launch another of Cresswell's clients, Michael McIntyre.[5]

Grave of Addison Cresswell in Highgate Cemetery (West)
Grave of Addison Cresswell in Highgate Cemetery (West)


Cresswell died of a heart attack on 23 December 2013 at the age of 53;[3][11] Cresswell is survived by his wife, Shelley.[2]


  1. ^ a b c d e f Coveney, Michael. "Addison Cresswell obituary". The Guardian. Retrieved 24 December 2013.
  2. ^ a b c "Addison Cresswell". Off The Kerb. Archived from the original on 28 December 2013. Retrieved 27 December 2013.
  3. ^ a b c "Comedy agent Addison Cresswell dies aged 53". BBC. Retrieved 25 December 2013.
  4. ^ Walker, Danny. "Jonathan Ross' agent Addison Cresswell has died aged 53". The Mirror. Retrieved 27 December 2013.
  5. ^ a b c d e f g h i Venables, Ben (6 June 2017). "How Comedy Captured the Edinburgh Fringe: Part 3". The Skinny. Retrieved 13 October 2017.
  6. ^ General Register Office index of births registered in July, August, September 1960 – Name: Addison L. Cresswell District: Kensington, London Volume: 5C Page: 1732.
  7. ^ "Addison Cresswell: 'Larger Than Life' Agent Dies". Sky. Retrieved 27 December 2013.
  8. ^ "The 'Art College' Basement: some recollections". Retrieved 5 January 2013.
  9. ^ "How To Promote a Fringe Show". How To Promote a Fringe Show.
  10. ^ a b Dowell, Ben. "Addison Cresswell – leading agent to top stars like Jonathan Ross – dies suddenly". Radio Times. Retrieved 27 December 2013.
  11. ^ Urquhart, Conal. "Addison Cresswell, top agent in British comedy, dies aged 53". The Guardian. Retrieved 25 December 2013.

External links

This page was last edited on 5 September 2020, at 01:01
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