In recognition of his outstanding services to the arts, Lee Mack has been awarded the honorary degree of Doctor of Humanities at Brunel University.
This award, presented at one of the University's Graduation ceremonies on 26 July, marks a happy return to Brunel for Lee. He commented that his time studying at the University literally changed his life; not only did it inspire him to take the plunge into comedy, but Brunel was also where he met his wife Tara.
Lee graduated in Drama with Film and TV studies in 1996 and as part of his degree he set up and ran a comedy night, for which he not only booked professional comedians but also first picked up the mic for his own stand-up performances.
Talking about his time at Brunel, he said: "It was during my time as a student at Brunel that I started performing stand-up comedy. I was worried that my ambitions wouldn't fit in with the ethos of such an academic institution, but they couldn't have been any more supportive, regularly letting me turn part of their building into a stand-up comedy club where I performed many of my early gigs. I am proud to have been honoured by and associated with such an institution."
He added that as an alumnus of Brunel University, "it suggests that I might be able to build an internal combustion engine. I can't of course, I did Drama, but I can represent one through interpretative dance which is obviously better."
Speaking at the ceremony, Brunel's Pro-Vice-Chancellor Professor Dany Nobus said: "It is hard to imagine how a university might inspire one of its students to become a stand-up comedian, but that is what happened to our Honorary Graduate today. If Brunel inspired Lee to take the funny man inside onto the stage, then the seriousness with which he approaches his comedy and the dedication that he has shown to his art may also serve as an inspiration to us all, regardless of our aspirations and wherever life may take us."
Lee first came to prominence in 1995 when he won 'So You Think You're Funny' at the Edinburgh Festival Fringe. He has since appeared on TV and radio shows both in the UK and the USA. His most successful show to date is the BBC One sitcom Not Going Out, which has won both a Rose d'Or and an RTS Award. In recent years Mack has also appeared on a number of popular panel shows including Have I Got News For You and Would I Lie to You. He has performed at the Royal Variety Performance and a recent highlight was his appearance as a compere at the star-studded Queen's Diamond Jubilee Concert outside Buckingham Palace.
Mack still lives in west London with his wife and their three children.