Alexei Sayle's Imaginary Sandwich Bar. Alexei Sayle. Copyright: BBC.

Alexei Sayle

Alexei Sayle is an English stand-up comedian, actor, and author, best known for his influential work in the alternative comedy movement in the 1980s. He played several members of the Eastern European family the Balowskis in The Young Ones, and has hosted his own shows including Alexei Sayle's Stuff, Alexei Sayle's The Absence of Normal, and Alexei Sayle's Imaginary Sandwich Bar

Biography

Alexei Sayle was born and raised in Anfield, Liverpool, by two parents who were members of the Communist Party of Great Britain. Educated at Alsop high School in Walton, he was eventually expelled halfway through sixth form, and attended both Chelsea College of Art and Design in London and Garnet College, Roehampton.

In 1979 Sayle by chance responded to an advert in Private Eye for would-be comedians and became the first master of ceremonies at the newly-opened Comedy Store. The year after, comedy producer Martin Lewis saw Sayle perform at the Edinburgh Fringe and became his manager.

Shortly after, Sayle became the principal performer at the Comic Strip, appearing on The Comic Strip Album and The Comic Strip Presents..., notably playing the two leading roles in "Didn't You Kill My Brother?", which he co-wrote with David Stafford and Pauline Melville. He also played several roles including Vampire and 'Mussolini' Policeman on the much-loved BBC sitcom The Young Ones, for which he also wrote material. He was known here for a distinctly mordant, no-holds-barred approach to comedy, with a forceful, vociferous delivery style.

In this century he has appeared on several episodes of panel shows such as The News Quiz and Have I Got News For You. In 2016 he hosted his own stand-up series, featuring a mixture of stand-up, memoir, and philosophy, on BBC Radio 4. Running for 3 series, it was called Alexei Sayle's Imaginary Sandwich Bar. In 2019 he returned to the platform with Alexei Sayle's The Absence Of Normal, a comedy drama featuring absurd and entertaining stories told by Sayle himself.

He has also appeared regularly on the informal chat-shows Chain Reaction and Alan Davies: As Yet Untitled. In 1990, a fatwa was issued against him by a Muslim cleric from Syria after a joke on his BBC comedy how [c]Alexei Sayle's Stuff] (1988[/y]-1991[/y]). To date, this has not been withdrawn.

Alongside a role in the 1992 Carry On film, Carry On Columbus, Sayle has given his name to the title of many of his own programmes, including The All New Alexei Sayle Show and ALexei Sayle's Merry-Go-Round.

Clearly drawing inspiration from the likes of Spike Milligan and Monty Python, Sayle's comedy is characterised by political cynicism, pessimism, dark turns, and several absurd and surrealist premises that go on for several minutes.

In 2007, Sayle was voted 18th greatest stand-up comic on Channel 4's 100 Greatest Stand-ups, and 72nd on the updated 2010 poll.

Gender
Male
Nationality
England
Born
Thursday 7th August 1952 (67 years-old)

Known for

Credits

 
Year Production Role
2020 Alexei Sayle Live UK 2020 Tour Self
2019 Simon Evans Is Right Self (Archive Material)
2019 Alexei Sayle's Imaginary Sandwich Bar - Series 3 Host / Presenter
2019 Alexei Sayle's Imaginary Sandwich Bar - Series 3 Writer
2019 Alexei Sayle's The Absence Of Normal Host / Presenter
2019 Alexei Sayle's The Absence Of Normal Writer
2018 Josh Howie's Losing It - Series 2
  1. E3 - The Covenant
Ensemble Actor
2018 Gloves Off Algy
2018 The Young Ones' 20 Greatest Moments Self
2018 How The Young Ones Changed Comedy Self
2018 The Reunion: The Young Ones Guest
2017 Alexei Sayle's Imaginary Sandwich Bar - Series 2 Host / Presenter
2017 Alexei Sayle's Imaginary Sandwich Bar - Series 2 Writer
2017 Festival Tales: Edinburgh At 70 Self
2017 Alexei Sayle Self
2016 Alexei Sayle Self
2016 Alexei Sayle's Imaginary Sandwich Bar - Series 1 Host / Presenter
2016 Alexei Sayle's Imaginary Sandwich Bar - Series 1 Writer
2016 Josh Howie's Losing It - Series 1
  1. E5 - The Handyman
Dean
2016 The Roots Of Monty Python Self
2016 Alan Davies: As Yet Untitled - Series 4
  1. E5 - Episode Five
Guest
2016 Just A Minute - Series 75 Guest
2016 The Comic Strip Presents... - Red Top
  1. Red Top
Colin Goodman
2015 Legends Of Stand-Up And Bernard Righton
  1. E4 - Episode Four
  2. E1 - Episode One
Self (Archive Material)
2015 Alexei Sayle: Talking Comedy Self
2014 Rik Mayall: Lord Of Misrule Self
2014 Tears Of A Clown Guest
2014 50 Years Of BBC 2 Comedy Self
2013 Alexei Sayle Self
2012 Monty Python: Almost The Truth
  1. E5 - Episode V: Lust For Glory!
  2. E2 - Episode II: The Much Funnier Second Episode - Flying Circus Included
Self
2011 The News Quiz - Series 76 Guest
2011 Richard Herring's Objective - Series 2
  1. E4 - The Old School Tie
Guest
2011 The Story Of Music Hall With Michael Grade Self
2011 Christopher Brookmyre's Comedy Bookcase - Series 1
  1. E1 - Alexei Sayle
Guest
2010 Genius With Dave Gorman - Series 2
  1. E5 - Tim Minchin and Alexei Sayle
Guest
2010 Horrible Histories - Series 2
  1. E4 - Episode Four
Dr Usmah
2009 The Story Of Slapstick Self
2009 Clive Anderson's Chat Room - Series 6 Guest
2008 Comedy Songs - The Pop Years Self
2008 Never Mind The Buzzcocks - Series 22
  1. Special - Technically, The Best Series Ever
  2. E6 - Episode Six
Guest
2007 The 100 Greatest Stand-Ups
  1. E2 - 100 Greatest Stand-Ups 2010
  2. E1 - The 100 Greatest Stand-Ups 2007
Self
2006 Armando Iannucci's Charm Offensive - Series 2
  1. E2 - Episode Two
Guest
2006 Chain Reaction - Series 2
  1. E4 - Alexei Sayle interviews Lenny Henry
Host / Presenter
2006 Chain Reaction - Series 2
  1. E3 - Mark Thomas interviews Alexei Sayle
Guest
2006 Clive Anderson's Chat Room - Series 2 Guest
2006 The News Quiz - Series 59 Guest
2005 Armando Iannucci's Charm Offensive - Series 1
  1. E6 - Episode Six
Guest
2003 The News Quiz - Series 51 Guest
2002 The News Quiz - Series 50 Guest
2002 Room 101 - Series 7
  1. E4 - Alexei Sayle
Guest
1999 The Beginner's Guide To Being Funny Host / Presenter
1994 Have I Got News For You - Series 8
  1. Special - Christmas Special
Guest
1994 Paris Alain Degout
1993 Have I Got News For You - Series 6
  1. E3 - Episode Three
Guest
1993 The Comic Strip Presents... - Series 5
  1. E3 - Queen Of The Wild Frontier
Inspector
1992 Carry On Columbus Achmed the Barber Surgeon
1990 The Gravy Train Milcic
1990 The Comic Strip Presents... - Series 4
  1. E5 - Spaghetti Hoops
Mog
1988 The Comic Strip Presents... - Series 3
  1. E5 - Didn't You Kill My Brother
Carl Moss
1988 The Comic Strip Presents... - Series 3
  1. E5 - Didn't You Kill My Brother
Sterling Moss
1988 The Comic Strip Presents... - Series 3
  1. E5 - Didn't You Kill My Brother
Writer
1988 The Comic Strip Presents... - Series 3
  1. E1 - The Strike
Paul
1984 The Young Ones - Series 2 Balowski Family
1984 The Young Ones - Series 2
  1. E3 - Nasty
Vampire
1984 The Young Ones - Series 2
  1. E2 - Cash
'Mussolini' Policeman
1984 The Young Ones - Series 2
  1. E1 - Bambi
Train Driver
1984 The Young Ones - Series 2 Writer (Additional Material)
1982 The Young Ones - Series 1 Balowski Family
1982 The Young Ones - Series 1 Writer (Additional Material)
1982 Whoops Apocalypse Commissar Solzhenitsyn
1982 O.T.T. Actor
1981 Fundamental Frolics Crew
1981 Fundamental Frolics Actor

Non-comedy TV and film credits might be found here:
Alexei Sayle on IMDb

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