Richard Ellef Ayoade (/aɪ.oʊˈɑːdi/, born 23 May 1977) is a British actor, comedian, writer, director and television presenter. He is best known for his role as the socially awkward IT technician Maurice Moss in Channel 4sitcom The IT Crowd (2006–2013), for which he won the 2014 BAFTA for Best Male Comedy Performance. He has often worked alongside Noel Fielding, Julian Barratt, Matt Berry, Matthew Holness and Rich Fulcher.
Born in Hammersmith, Ayoade served as the president of Footlights at St Catharine's College, Cambridge. Ayoade and Matthew Holness debuted their respective characters Dean Learner and Garth Marenghi at the Edinburgh Festival Fringe in 2000, bringing the characters to television with Garth Marenghi's Darkplace (2004) and Man to Man with Dean Learner (2006). Ayoade appeared in the comedy shows The Mighty Boosh (2004–2007) and Nathan Barley (2005), before gaining exposure and recognition for his role in The IT Crowd. After directing music videos for the Arctic Monkeys, Vampire Weekend, Yeah Yeah Yeahs and Kasabian, Ayoade wrote and directed the comedy-drama film Submarine in 2010. He co-starred in the American science fiction comedy film The Watch in 2012 and his second film, the black comedy The Double, premiered in 2013.
Ayoade has frequently appeared on panel shows, mostly prominently on The Big Fat Quiz of the Year and served as a team captain on Was It Something I Said? in 2013. Ayoade presents the factual shows Gadget Man(2013–2015), its spin-off Travel Man (2015–present) and the 2017 revival of The Crystal Maze. Ayoade has provided his voice to a number of animated projects, including the films The Boxtrolls (2014) and Early Man (2018), and the television shows Strange Hill High (2013–2014) and Apple & Onion (2018–present). Ayoade has written two comedic books centring around film, Ayoade on Ayoade: A Cinematic Odyssey (2014) and The Grip of Film(2017).