Arthur Smith

Arthur Smith

Date of birth: 30-11-1953
Arthur Smith has become one of comedy's elder statesmen: an Edinburgh Fringe stalwart and a club compere since the early days of the alternative scene, he still uses many of the same gags today.

He's also become a regular on Radios 2 and 4, one of TV's Grumpy Old Men, and a writer whose best-known work is the World Cup play An Evening With Gary Lineker.

Before joining the comedy circuit, the Bermondsy-born stand-up worked as a warehouseman and teacher, and studied the University of East Anglia, where he took the acclaimed creative writing course run by novelist Malcolm Bradbury,

He has long been a regular at the Edinburgh Fringe, where he was instrumental in many of the pranks played by his late friend Malcolm Hardee, and his raucous late-night tours of the town became legendary for their high jinks, if not their historical accuracy.

His Fringe shows include Arthur Smith Sings Leonard Cohen, and Arthur Smith's Last Hangover, about his being forced to go teetotal after he nearly died from pancreatitis. Both were subsequently broadcast on Radio 4, where he is also a frequent guest on such shows as Excess Baggage and Loose Ends. On Radio 2 he has presented the long-running Smith Lectures, linking together clips from other comedians.

As well as the Olivier-nominated An Evening with Gary Lineker, which he co-created with Chris England, Smith's other plays include 1989's Live Bed Show, which starred Caroline Quentin and Paul Merton and ran at the Donmar Warehouse.

In 2005, Smith reportedly turned down a lifetime achievement award from the Perrier Award organisers, but in 2007 an exhibition of art from other comedians that he curated won the panel prize from the Perriers' successors, the if.comedy awards.

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Stand-ups in mockumentary to aid comedy club

James Acaster, Maria Bamford, Adam Buxton and more in Save The Bill Muraay

One of London’s best-loved comedy clubs has made a mockmentary sitcom to raise funds during lockdown

 James Acaster, Maria Bamford, Adam Buxton, Nina Conti, Jamali Maddix, Arthur Smith and Tim Key are among the comics taking part in the project from The Bill Murray.

The series also features those who regularly perform at the club, including  Sunil Patel, Helen Bauer, Mark Silcox and Lynn Ruth Miller.

Bill Murray

It will be released in seven fortnightly 15-minute episodes from next Friday (January 29) to those who contribute at least £3 a month to the venue’s Patreon account.

The sitcom, called Save The Bill Murray, has been written and directed by comedian Barry Ferns – one of the driving forces behind the venue, which opened in 2017 following a crowdfunding drive - and film-maker Simon Weekes.

Save The Bill Murray mockumenrary

Ferns, who also appears on screen, said: ‘These episodes were extraordinarily made with no budget, just hopes and belief – which is exactly how the comedy industry is getting through lockdown as a whole. 

‘Having crowd-funded our very own venue, the team at The Bill Murray are no strangers to achieving the seemingly impossible and we have no intention of being taken down by something as trifling as a global pandemic.

‘Save The Bill Murray is our reaction to lockdown – a way for our artists to stay creative and generate some laughter and hope during our most difficult time.’

Other comics appearing in the series include  Ray Badran, Cally Beaton, Yuriko Kotani, John Meagher, Arielle Souma and Charlie George.

Here is a trailer:

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Published: 21 Jan 2021

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