Lee Mack opens up on ditching Catherine Tate early in his career

Richard Bevan
Richard Bevan
3 Min Read

In a revelation from his autobiography, “Mack The Life,” popular British comedian Lee Mack opened up about his profound regret over a career decision that altered the course of his sketch comedy journey. Mack, best known for his role in “Not Going Out,” confessed that his biggest mistake was parting ways with comedy mates Catherine Tate and Dan Antopolski when offered a chance at a TV break.

The trio had joined forces for the Edinburgh sketch show, “Lee Mack’s Bits,” a comedy extravaganza that graced the Fringe stages in 1999 and 2000, earning a nomination for the prestigious Perrier award. Their chemistry was undeniable, and the audience loved the dynamic blend of humour each brought to the table.

However, fate intervened when Mack received an enticing offer to join ITV’s “The Sketch Show,” which aimed to adapt many of the scripts from the successful festival performances. The catch? Mack had to leave behind Tate and Antopolski, his trusted partners in comedy crime.

Lee Mack starred alongside Tate and Antopolski at Edinburgh shows.

Reflecting on the pivotal moment in his career, Mack shared, “Of course I wanted to be in it. Why wouldn’t I want to be in it?… The reason I didn’t want, or shouldn’t have wanted, to be in it was that they didn’t want Dan or Catherine.”

Lee Mack Reveals Remorse Over TV Switch

In the book, Mack expressed remorse over the decision, admitting, “I’m not a great believer in regret, but looking back over the last eighteen years of me doing this job, not keeping our sketch show ‘Bits’ together and jumping at the first offer to put a version of it on telly is probably the biggest mistake I’ve made.”

The sketch show in question, “Lee Mack’s Bits,” had its origins at the Edinburgh Festival Fringe in 1999. The core cast featured Mack himself, alongside the immensely talented Catherine Tate and Dan Antopolski. The trio’s comedic synergy garnered attention and applause, setting the stage for what could have been a formidable team in the world of televised comedy.

Unfortunately, Mack succumbed to the allure of a television breakthrough, joining “The Sketch Show” alongside Tim Vine, Jim Tavare, Karen Taylor, and Ronni Ancona. While Mack acknowledges that the experience was enjoyable, he revealed his discontent with the approach towards material, citing “just one stinker too many allowed through because it was felt that we were doing a ‘mainstream’ show, and so what the heck.”

Despite the regrettable decision, both Lee Mack and Catherine Tate have enjoyed successful careers. Mack, with his enduring presence in “Not Going Out,” has become a household name, while Tate has soared to new heights with her iconic characters and successful solo ventures.

Share this Article
Leave a comment