Childhood & Early Life
Joe Cornish was born Joseph Murray Cornish, on December 20, 1968, in Westminster, London, in an upper middle class family. In his own words, he had a very comfortable childhood.
He grew up in a multi-cultural post Second World War London and had many friends from different backgrounds. He grew an artistic sensibility as a kid and laced with a unique sense of humour, he aspired to enter the show business.
He had a vivid imagination as a kid and he loved watching fantasy films. ‘E.T.’ was one of the first films that he watched as a kid that left a strong influence on his psyche.
He attended Westminster School located in Central London and at school he met his future collaborator Adam Buxton. He also met famous documentary filmmaker Louis Theroux in his school as well.
Adam and him remain best friends until now and started working together in school. They had formed a duo and along with Louis, they made many amateur comedy short films. Some of those films turned out to be really good and were later telecasted on Channel 4.
Following his high school graduation, Joe decided to follow his lifetime dream of becoming a filmmaker and enrolled into Bournemouth Film School.
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In 1994, Joe, along with Adam, formed a duo called ‘Adam and Joe’, a comedy duo, and owing to their short amateur films that they kept making all through their early 20s, they got their own show titled ‘The Adam & Joe Show’ on Channel 4. The series began in 1996 and ran for 4 seasons and 22 episodes and became critical and commercial success.
In the beginning, Adam presented the show alone and Joe joined him later. The duo performed sketch comedy and pranks on the show and also filmed comedy shorts to showcase. The show’s success resulted in them winning several awards and honors.
In 1998, they won the Best Newcomers Award by the Royal Television Society and in the very next year, they had a book published, titled ‘The Adam and Joe Book’.
The show culminated in May 2001, and before that, Adam and Joe came out with several spin-off shows such as ‘Adam & Joe’s Fourmative Years’ and ‘Adam and Joe’s American Animation Adventure’.
Together they also appeared on many other TV shows and commercials, most popularly on two Surf washing powder ads in the early 2000s.
They further took the hosting duties for the ‘Coca-Cola New Music Podcast’ in 2006 for a year, which featured unsigned indie music bands.
They further took to radio in 2007 and began hosting the BBC Radio 6 ‘Music Saturday’ morning show. The show had a very popular segment called ‘Song Wars’, in which Adam and Joe composed original songs on common themes. The listeners voted for the best one among them. The show further became popular among the masses and won a Broadcasting Press Guild Award for the best radio programme of the year in 2008.
The duo’s ‘The Adam and Joe Show’ is considered to be an iconic pop culture phenomenon until now and sells highly on DVDs. However, outside of his partnership with Adam, Joe has also went on forging a separate career for himself.
Joe has made many famous behind the scenes documentary films and video diaries. One of the most popular one among them are his the behind the scenes documentary of the ‘Little Britain’ series which was telecasted on BBC 3 and has also been included in the series’ DVD.
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He had also played an uncredited cameo role as zombie on Edgar Wright’s zombie comedy film titled ‘Shaun of the Dead’ in 2004 and he had made a video diary on the making of the film.
He has also made a documentary on Edgar Wright’s film ‘Hot Fuzz’, titled ‘Fuzzball Rally’, wherein he shot Edgar and film’s star Simon Pegg on the US press tour for their film. However, the documentary contains very strong language and hence, the DVD of the film has been rated as suitable only for adults.
Joe has been working as a director in television since the early 2000s. He directed a few scenes in the pilot of the British comedy series titled ‘Modern Toss’. In addition, he has also directed the pilot episode of Channel 4’s comedy series titled ‘Blunder’. He was hired to direct a few more episodes of ‘Blunder’ but he denied that due to creative differences.
He became an assistant to Steven Spielberg in the early 2010s during the making of the film titled ‘The Adventures of Tintin: The Secret of the Unicorn’. Along with Steven Moffat and Edgar Wright, Joe was also credited as one of the screenwriters of the film. The 2011 film turned out to be a critical and commercial success and Joe received the necessary push in Hollywood.
In the same year, Joe directed his debut film, a science fiction horror comedy film titled ‘Attack the Block’. Although the film failed to create a buzz on the box office, it was a huge critical success and won many accolades at film festivals.
Collaborating with his long-time friend Edgar Wright, Joe also worked on the screenplay of the Marvel film titled ‘Ant-Man’.
In 2019, Joe further directed the film ‘The Kid Who Would Be King’, which was a commercial debacle but received mostly positive reviews.
Joe is reportedly working on the cinematic adaptation of the classic novel titled ‘Snow Crash’.