And if that’s a slightly rude analogy, we’re sure Mark Gatiss will forgive us. After all, he made his name with the rude, vulgar and grotesquely hilarious League of Gentleman.
Born in 1966, Mark grew up opposite an Edwardian psychiatric hospital, the workplace of both his mum and dad (which could help explain why he turned into such a thoroughly twisted genius). He claims to have spent his childhood collecting fossils, watching Hammer Horror films and reading Sherlock Holmes stories but we prefer to picture him frying ants with a magnifying glass or something equally as strange.
Mark met fellow League members Jeremy Dyson, Reece Shearsmith and Steve Pemberton during his time at Bretton Hall drama school when he was in his late teens. After bashing their witty heads together, this comedy dream team came up with the idea for the League and took their act to the Edinburgh Fringe Festival in 1997. It proved to be pretty popular, bagging that year's Perrier award for comedy. Shortly after, the League became a radio show and then eventually, in 1999, the TV classic we know and love today. Proving that murder, madness and copious inbreeding can be a laugh riot, the League changed the face of comedy and gave Mark and his chums a British Academy Television gong, a Royal Television Society award and the much celebrated Golden Rose of Montreux. Mark has gone on to add so many strings to his bow that he’s ended up with a ruddy great harp.
He helped write the Reeves and Mortimer revamp of Randall and Hopkirk (Deceased). He polished the Little Britain scripts. He appeared in Spaced, which just on its own would qualify him as a minor deity in our book. He starred in and co-wrote the Beeb's Sherlock. He presented a three-part documentary called A History of Horror. He's even portrayed the godfather of punk, Malcolm McLaren, in a drama about the career and life of Boy George. Even his ties to his League chums have remained strong throughout his career, with Mark making a cameo appearance in the warped and twisted Psychoville.
And then there's Doctor Who, the show he’d been devoted to as a kid. A couple of childhood dreams were ticked off when he wrote for and starred as Professor Lazarus in one episode of the resurrected series (Whovians may also be interested to know he played the Master in a radio play). But don't be surprised if you don't always see Mark's name. He's regularly credited under the pseudonym Sam Kisgart, a clever anagram of Mark Gatiss, allowing him to make cameo appearances without the surprise being spoiled - clever eh?
Aside from the small screen, Mark pops up on the radio, can be seen on the big screen having had minor roles in films such as Starter for Ten and Bright Young Things and he's taken to the stage. Mark's performance of semi-transsexual Agrado in Pedro Almodóvar's All About My Mother won him rave reviews, while his role alongside Catherine Tate in a National Theatre production of Seasons Greetings has won him many a new fan. And rightly so.
Cleary a stranger to the concert of “free time”, Mark’s also penned a series of novels about a dashing Edwardian named Lucifer Box. And then there’s his acclaimed biography of pioneering horror director James Whale. All in all, a career to be teeth-grindingly jealous of. The again he was also in Sex Lives of the Potato Men so at least he's not completely perfect. We can always console ourselves with that.