Born in Kingston upon Thames, Surrey Lawrence attended Tiffin School and the University of St Andrews, where he began his stand-up career at a regular comedy night.
Lawrence's university debut led on to the Edinburgh Fringe, where he was runner up in the 2003 So You Think You're Funny competition. Subsequently, he won the Amused Moose Starsearch, York Comedy Festival New Act of the Year Competition and the BBC's New Act of the Year Competition in 2004.
He presented his first hour-long comedy show at the 2006 Edinburgh Festival Fringe entitled How to Butcher your Loved Ones. It was nominated for the if.comeddie award (as it was known for that year only) for Best Newcomer. His 2007 Fringe show, Social Leprosy For Beginners & Improvers, was nominated for the main if.comedy award. He has returned to the Fringe every year up to 2015.
As well as touring shows in the UK, Lawrence has performed abroad at the Just For Laughs Montreal Festival Showcase and the Melbourne International Comedy Festival.
Lawrence has featured in numerous radio and TV shows, mostly as a stand-up performer. He has also appeared on television as a comic actor, playing the builder Marco in the BBC TV sitcom Ideal. He has written and performed four series for BBC Radio 4, most recently the 2015 sitcom There Is No Escape.
On 25 October 2014, Lawrence wrote a lengthy post on his official Facebook page drawing attention to a perceived rise in "'political' comedians cracking cheap and easy gags about UKIP, to the extent that it's got hack, boring and lazy very quickly" and described such comedians as being "out of touch, smug, superannuated, overpaid TV comics with their cosy lives in their west-London ivory towers taking a supercilious, moralising tone, pandering to the ever-creeping militant political correctness of the BBC". Although having previously appeared on several comedy programmes on the channel, he went on to describe "liberal back-slapping panel shows like Mock the Week" as consisting of "aging, balding, fat men, ethnic comedians and women-posing-as-comedians, sit congratulating themselves on how enlightened they are about the fact that UKIP are ridiculous and pathetic".
The post, and subsequent Twitter disputes with fellow comedians such as Dara Ó Briain and Frankie Boyle, were covered by the UK press. On 3 October 3, 2015, he qualified his political beliefs in a post on his website, stating that "I've noticed a number of journalists in comedy have taken to labelling me a 'right-wing comedian'... I don't subscribe to any political ideology and I am not in any way affiliated with any political organisation." However, he also acknowledged that he has "certainly been very critical of the resurgent hard-left wing in British politics" and "critical of left-wing hysteria on the internet, and the left-wing establishment in comedy". In an October 2014 article for The Daily Telegraph, comedienne Ava Vidal wrote that, counter to the impression given by Lawrence, it had never been easy for women or ethnic minorities to work in comedy and, for the latter, the situation was deteriorating. On the issue Lawrence raised of there being few contemporary right-wing comedians with a profile: "Well it’s just a hunch, but perhaps it’s because these days, the majority of people don’t like comedy that uses the most marginalised members of society as the punchline".
In 2015 his first book Reasons to Kill Yourself was published.