Richard Ellef Ayoade is an unassuming and down to earth actor with a lot of credit to his name yet.
Born of Norwegian mother Dagny Amalie (Baassuik), and Nigerian Father Layide Ade Laditi Ayoade, on June 12, 1977 at Whipp’s Cross, London, England, UK, Richard grew up in Suffolk, England where he studied Law at Cambridge University.
With Fuzzy hair, thick rimmed glasses and high pitched voice as trade mark, Ayoade has starred in many standup comedy shows.
He was a member of Cambridge Footlights, a contemporary of David Mitchell, Robert Webb and Matthew Holness.
Ayoade’s first real TV break was directing, co-writing and starring with Matthew Holness in the cult classic Garth Marenghi’s Darkplace (2004) a parody of shlocky 1980’s science fiction television shows, noticed for its “so bad it’s good!” aesthetic.
“I was directing before I started doing ‘The IT Crowd.’ It wasn’t something that led on after acting I guess. I was sort of doing this stuff before acting.” He says.
Notably shy and self-effacing in interviews, his performance as the debauched, self-assured publisher/pornographer/nightclub owner ‘Dean Learner’ showcased the young comedian’s acting talent.
After cameos in another cult series The Mighty Boosh (2003) as the shaman “Saboo”, his position in the popular consciousness was cemented in the series The IT Crowd (2006) where Ayoade played the social oblivious, dweebish savant known as “Moss”.
Close friends with lead singer of the Arctic Monkeys, Alex Turner, he has directed three of their music videos. Alex did the soundtrack music for Ayoade’s film, Submarine.
Ayoade who claims, “I find performing very difficult. It’s difficult to be a good actor. I get very nervous,” has gone on to win numerous laurels; he won the Martin Steele Prize for play production during university. He followed in the footsteps of British Comedy legends like Monty Python’s Eric Idle, Hugh Laurie and Graeme Garden when he became the president of the Cambridge Footlights Dramatic Club between 1997 and 1998.
Ayoade was nominated for a Perrier Award at the Edinburgh Fringe Festival for Garth Marenghi’s Fright Knight in 2000. He won a Perrier Comedy Award for Garth Marenghi’s Netherhead in 2001. Won Best Video for “My Mistakes” by The Last Shadow Puppets at the 2007 NME Awards and was nominated for both Best Director and Best Rock Video at the 2008 UK Music Video Awards.
Ayoade helped write The Mighty Book of Boosh with Noel Fielding and various others.
The Nigerian who says “ I don’t really know what my personality is anyway. I don’t really have one” is not slowing down. He is marching on with several other prospects to further shore up his personality, status and fan base. An inspiration indeed.