Born in Cardiff, Chris Addison grew up in Manchester where he attended the Manchester Grammar School before going on to study at the University of Birmingham. Following his graduation in 1994, he put ambitions to direct theatre on hold and "drifted into stand-up comedy" which became his full-time job in 1996. He wrote and performed eight one-man shows at the Edinburgh Festival, gaining two Perrier Award nominations and going on to turn two of the shows ('The Ape That Got Lucky' and 'Civilization') into series for BBC Radio.
He moved into acting in 2005, with the role of Ollie Reeder in Armando Iannucci's BBC sitcom The Thick of It (2005). Subsequent roles have included the Cameron-esque evil headmaster David Blood in three series of Skins (2007), Seb in Doctor Who (2005) and the hard-living porn Svengali Tony Power in Michael Winterbottom's movie The Look of Love (2013). In 2016 he took and co-wrote the spoken role of Smith in Emanuel Chabrier's opera 'L'Étoile' at The Royal Opera House in Covent Garden.
During the final series of The Thick of It (2005), he made his directorial debut and subsequently went on to direct many episodes of HBO's Veep (2012), for which he won the Directors Guild of America Award in 2016 as well as an Emmy nomination. In 2015 he won an Emmy for his work as Executive Producer on the show.
He has co-created two sitcoms, Lab Rats (2008) (with Carl Cooper) and Trying Again (2014) (with Simon Blackwell), both of which he starred in.
Chris has written two books, 'Cautionary Tales for Grown-Ups' (a book of comic verse) and 'It Wasn't Me' (a book of grumpy complaint).