Comedian Arthur Smith is an Edinburgh Festival stalwart and regular on the TV series, ‘Grumpy Old Men’.
In addition to stand-up comedy, such as his recent hit Arthur Smith Sings Leonard Cohen (later broadcast on Radio 4), he is also a radio presenter on such BBC Radio 4 programmes as ‘Excess Baggage’ and ‘Loose Ends’. He took over as narrator of the TV series ‘A Life of Grime’ after the death of John Peel.
His comedy is best described as observational comedy with a strong flavour of the absurd, although he is an expert at delivering one liners.
One of his more unusual roles was in the sitcom Red Dwarf in the episode Backwards. He gave a speech (in reverse) blaming Kryten and Rimmer for starting a fight. If, however, you play the speech forwards, he is actually insulting the person who is translating his speech.
He also appeared in a cameo role in the first series of the BBC science-fiction radio comedy Married. He played an alternate-universe version of himself who eked out a living as a children’s party entertainer. This role expanded in the second and third series.
In 2005 he turned down a lifetime achievement award from the Perrier Award organisers. He said that “Comedians rather dislike the Perrier Awards and the public aren’t interested”.
The festival kicks off with a comedy gala night hosted by Stephen K Amos. Joining him on the night will be Arthur Smith, Matt Rees and Barry from Watford.