Simon Benjamin Brodkin (born 29 September 1977) is an English comedian, performing both on the stand-up circuit and in comedy television series. He is best known for playing a cheerful chav character called Lee Nelson, but also performs as other comedy characters. Performing solo stand-up since 2004, he has also written for and appeared on the television shows Al Murray's Multiple Personality Disorder in 2009, Lee Nelson's Well Good Show in 2010 and Lee Nelson's Well Funny People in 2013.
|Birth name||Simon Benjamin Brodkin|
|Born||29 September 1977|
Camden Town, London, England
|Education||University College School|
|Alma mater||University of Manchester|
|Notable works and roles||Al Murray's Multiple Personality Disorder|
Lee Nelson's Well Good Show
Lee Nelson's Well Funny People
Brodkin was born in Camden Town, London on 29 September 1977. Brodkin attended the independent University College School, Hampstead, in the London Borough of Camden. Brodkin studied medicine at the University of Manchester, graduating in 2001. He practised medicine in Manchester city hospitals until 2007, when he began performing stand-up comedy full-time.
In his Lee Nelson stand-up routine, Brodkin's character typically interacts with his audience, telling them about his life, asking them questions, then replying with responses that reflect his world view, his own ignorance or his own stereotypically antisocial attitudes. His act is peppered with slang words.
In character as Lee Nelson, he briefly stood as a candidate in the 2013 South Shields by-election. He withdrew because the BBC would not have been able to broadcast his shows during the electoral campaign due to their code of impartiality.
Brodkin also performs a selection of other characters, including Jason Bent, an unintelligent Premiership footballer with a Merseyside accent. Other characters have included the sleazy and incompetent Dr. Bob.
Brodkin began appearing on television in 2003, in a series of shorts entitled From Baghdad To Balham on Channel 4, playing a recently arrived Iraqi asylum seeker, and twice on Absolutely Fabulous on BBC One.
In 2005, Brodkin appeared as Nelson in three episodes of Channel 4's The Morning After Show, alongside fellow guest Bob Mugabe.
In 2007, Brodkin wrote for and appeared on Al Murray's ITV1 prime time sketch show Al Murray's Multiple Personality Disorder, where he appeared playing his characters of Jason Bent and Lee Nelson, as well as alongside Murray in sketches about mobile phone shop assistants.
In 2011, Brodkin appeared as Lee Nelson in 28 January episode of ITV's Comedy Rocks with Jason Manford and in Heat 3 of Let's Dance for Comic Relief on BBC One. In 2011, Brodkin starred as Clinton Faberge in Channel 4's short-lived comedy strand Another One Bites the Crust. Also in 2011, on 11 November, he appeared as Lee Nelson in BBC One's Live at the Apollo Series seven, episode two, alongside Sean Lock and Ed Byrne.
In 2013, Brodkin again returned as Nelson in Heat 3 of Let's Dance for Comic Relief on BBC One, dancing with street dance duo Twist and Pulse. He won the "judges' vote", thus performing again in the final. However, he did not win. His actual final position is unknown as the unsuccessful finalists were called in "no specific order".
In December 2013 Brodkin performed stand-up on John Bishop's Christmas Show on BBC One.
Lee Nelson's Well Good ShowEdit
In 2009, Brodkin was commissioned by the BBC to write his own show for BBC Three. Titled Lee Nelson's Well Good Show, it was broadcast from 10 June 2010 on BBC Three in the 10.30pm slot. It features Brodkin in character in a studio setting, but also features television sketches of his other characters. The show was commissioned for a second series, which aired on 25 August 2011.
Brodkin has won several competitions and awards for his work, including Brighton’s Komedia comedy competition and The Writers' Guild Award for Best Newcomer in Edinburgh for his show Everyone But Himself.
In reviewing his Nelson stand-up character in 2009, James Kettle of The Guardian stated that, in comparison to Matt Lucas's aggressive Vicky Pollard, and Catherine Tate's Lauren Cooper, Brodkin's portrayal has "a three-dimensional personality" and is a "gentler, more likeable soul, with a dopily comprehensive lack of self-awareness", and that in playing the 'chav', "no one's done it quite like Simon Brodkin".
Many of Brodkin's pranks were featured in a TV programme Britain's Greatest Hoaxer which was shown on Channel 4 on 7 February 2017.
On 16 March 2013, Brodkin, in character as Jason Bent, ran onto the pitch at Goodison Park and attempted to warm up with the Manchester City team ahead of their Premier League match with Everton. He was arrested and charged with pitch encroachment contrary to the Football (Offences) Act 1991. When the case came to court, the judge agreed to the charge being withdrawn and Brodkin was given a six-month conditional caution for the incident.
On 20 July 2015, Brodkin gatecrashed a press conference at the headquarters of the football governing body FIFA in Zürich, Switzerland amidst the organisation's corruption scandal. He walked onto the stage and threw a wad of United States dollar bills worth $600 over the FIFA president Sepp Blatter, claiming that it was part of a bid to bring the 2026 FIFA World Cup to North Korea. Brodkin was promptly led out of the conference by security personnel, and Blatter temporarily postponed the news conference. Brodkin was arrested and charged with trespassing.
Television talent showsEdit
In January 2016, Brodkin auditioned on Britain's Got Talent, dressed as a rabbi, and pretended to be an awful rapper named Steven Goldblatt, as a way to prove his opinion that untalented acts do well on the show. He was selected for a Judge's Audition at the Dominion Theatre in London, where he performed a rap about Britain named "Red, White and Blue". Proving his point, even though Brodkin was deliberately not talented, the judges put him through.
On 24 June 2016 at the re-opening of Donald Trump's Trump Turnberry golf resort, Brodkin hijacked Trump's speech with Nazi golf balls. The US presidential candidate was about to take to the podium at his Turnberry resort when Brodkin interrupted, dispersed the balls amongst the podium, and began giving out balls to the crowd.
On 4 October 2017, Brodkin interrupted Prime Minister Theresa May's speech to the Conservative Party conference; handing her a mocked-up P45 (a form given when a person's employment is terminated in the UK) and telling her "Boris asked me to give this to you." Brodkin's remarks were given at a time when there was much speculation regarding whether or not the Foreign Secretary, Boris Johnson, would seek to replace May as leader of the Conservative Party. He then went over to Johnson and gave him the 'thumbs up' gesture before he was removed from the venue. Brodkin had obtained the appropriate documents to attend the event, which led to calls to revise security measures.
In November 2012, during a signing at HMV on Oxford Street in London, Brodkin performed a prank as Nelson in which he "stole" his own DVD and was chased by an actor dressed as a policeman. A real policeman believed it was an actual theft and arrested Brodkin.
At Glastonbury Festival 2015, Brodkin as Nelson interrupted a performance by Kanye West by running onto the stage and proceeding to join in with the performance. He was removed promptly by security.
In March 2016, Brodkin invaded a speech by Volkswagen at the Geneva Motor Show. He was seen dressed as a VW engineer attempting to add a "cheat box" to the car (a reference to the Volkswagen emissions scandal) whilst VW board member Jürgen Stackmann was making a speech. "No-one is going to find out about this one," Brodkin told the audience. He was subsequently removed by security before the speech continued.
On 6 September 2016, Brodkin, in character as Lee Nelson, "renamed" Philip Green's £100m super yacht Lionheart to BHS Destroyer, in reference to the recent collapse of the BHS department stores of which Green was previously the owner. Whilst the boat was moored in Monaco, Brodkin and a small crew hired a small dinghy and, unnoticed by the yacht's crew, sailed out to it. Unfurling a banner reading "BHS Destroyer", he attached it over the yacht's actual name. Brodkin later posted on Twitter: "Good of Sir Philip Green to rename his £100 million yacht to something more appropriate. I was glad to help."
- Lee Nelson Live (19 November 2012)
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- Chortle page for Simon Brodkin. Chortle.co.uk (17 March 2013). Retrieved on 2016-12-21.
- Ben, Welch (4 October 2017). "Theresa May conference speech gatecrashed by Jewish comedian Simon Brodkin". The Jewish Chronicle. Retrieved 5 October 2017.
- Niemtus, Zofia (20 August 2007). "Simon Brodkin: One Man Comedy Club". Metro. Retrieved 9 November 2014.
- "Lee Nelson's Well Good Show". BBC. Retrieved 7 February 2010.
- Parker, Robin. (7 July 2009) BBC3 eyes character-based sketch show, article at ''Broadcast Now'' 7 July, 2009. Broadcastnow.co.uk. Retrieved on 2016-12-21.
- Lee Nelson's Well Good Show British Comedy Guide
- Kettle, James (25 April 2009). "Comedy preview: Simon Brodkin, on tour". The Guardian. Retrieved 4 October 2017.
- Hornby, Mike (3 April 2013). "TV comic Simon Brodkin (aka Lee Nelson aka Jason Bent) cautioned over stunt limbering up on pitch with Manchester City players". The Independent. Retrieved 30 August 2014.
- "World Cup 2014: comedian tries to join England team plane". The Guardian. Press Association. 1 June 2014. Retrieved 30 August 2014.
- "UK prankster Simon Brodkin throws money at Fifa's Blatter". BBC News. Retrieved 20 July 2015.
- Smith, Daniel (22 July 2015). "Comedian Simon Brodkin charged by police over Sepp Blatter cash stunt". The Guardian. Retrieved 23 July 2015.
- "Who is Lee Nelson? And his 5 best stunts". The Daily Telegraph. 21 July 2015.
- Taylor, Frances (6 February 2017). "Britain's Got Talent rejects 'fake' claims as comedian Simon Brodkin reveals how he pranked his way on to the show". Radio Times. Retrieved 4 October 2017.
- "Who is prankster Lee Nelson (aka Simon Brodkin)? Here are his most controversial stunts". The Daily Telegraph. 4 October 2017.
- "Conservative conference: May handed P45". BBC News. 4 October 2017.
- "Theresa May speech prank prompts security review". BBC News. 4 October 2017. Retrieved 4 October 2017.
- Halliday, Josh (28 June 2015). "Kanye West's Glastonbury show disrupted by Lee Nelson". The Guardian. Retrieved 28 June 2015.
- "Comedian Simon Brodkin disrupts VW speech at Geneva Motor Show". BBC News. Retrieved 2 March 2016.