Karl Theobald (born 5 August 1969) is an English comedian and actor, best known as Dr. Martin Dear in Channel 4 sitcom Green Wing, and for his physical comedy style.
Karl was also the one-time comedy partner of Russell Brand when they formed their double act Theobald and Brand on Ice in the 1990s. Karl has written comedy for television programmes such as The Sketch Show. He also appeared with Russell Brand in the 2010 film, Get Him to the Greek.
Karl attended The Denes in 1985. He told us that school was a somewhat stifling experience for him. “My imagination would fly off to other worlds while my body would jitter or fall into a superficial doze. This didn’t please the teachers obviously,” he said. “I remember some teachers being cruel, racist even brimming with violence; some seemed creepy and perverse. There were some however who were encouraging and interesting, who had a talent for making education an active experience rather than a passive duty. I remember the headmistress (can’t remember her name, blonde woman). She – along with the biology teacher – was my crush.”
On the subject of reading, Karl told us, “I was impatient to get into the world. Funnily enough at school I hated reading, it was so dry and boring but as soon as I had some experience of the world I couldn’t devour enough books. I would read as if it was going to save my life, which in a way it did.” He finished by saying, “That, comedy and music saved me, hoisted me from a life hemmed in by dreariness and low expectations – I wasn’t a bright kid, but I was game.”
The proof of the pudding is in the eating, as they say. Karl’s career spiralled in the comedy and acting world. After leaving The Denes High, he joined theatrical touring companies and he appeared at the Edinburgh Festival in 2001 as a member of the Comedy Zone, he travelled throughout Great Britain performing his one-man show Mr Tinnamen’s Travelling Medicine Show.
Karl not only performs, but also writes comedy. For example, he was part of the team who were presented with a BAFTA award in 2002 for Best Television Comedy Series for scripting The Sketch Show. Since The Green Wing, Karl has starred in AD/BC, The Last Laugh, The Virgin Queen and many more. You may recall the BBC Four comic documentary series Twenty Twelve that featured people behind the scenes of the London Olympics – Karl played the part of Graham Hitchins, Head of Infrastructure. Of course, Twenty Twelve received a BAFTA award in the category of Best Sitcom.
Karl’s other TV appearances include Doc Martin, Primeval, Skins, Pramface and Plebs. Karl also starred in radio sitcoms such as The Exterminating Angels.
This year, Karl finished shooting the independent British feature film Downhill, which is a comedy about four men attempting Alfred Wainwright’s coast-to-coast walk. The film co-stars Ned Dennehy, Jeremy Swift and Richard Lumsden.
Karl’s mother, Wendy Theobald is a regular visitor to The Denes, as she is heavily involved with the local sea cadets. If you meet her, you may like to ask her about her famous son!
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