Arthur Smith: Arturart: Institute of Zoo Logic, Edinburgh, 2007
Arthur Smith: Cobbled Up Shambles: Pleasance Courtyard, Edinburgh, 2010
Charity Comedy Night: Bloomsbury Theatre, London, 2011
Arthur Smith’s Pissed Up Chat Show: Pleasance Dome, Edinburgh, 2011
The Greenwich Comedy Festival 2012: Greenwich Old Naval College, London, 2012
Arthur Smith Sings Leonard Cohen: Pleasance Courtyard, Edinburgh, 2013
Arthur Smith Sings Leonard Cohen (Vol 2): Pleasance Courtyard, Edinburgh, 2014
Arthur Smith: Oh Hazel: Southbank Udderbelly, London, 2015
Barry Cryer’s 80th Birthday Roast: Gilded Balloon, Edinburgh, 2015
Barry Cryer and Friends: An 80th Birthday Celebration: Palace Theatre, London, 2015
Loving Linda Smith Gala Concert: In Aid of Target Ovarian Cancer: Assembly Rooms, Edinburgh, 2015
Arthur Smith’s Festival of Socks: Pleasance Dome, Edinburgh, 2016
Arnold Brown’s 80th Birthday Bash: The Comedy Store, London, 2016
Arthur Smith Sings Leonard Cohen – The Final Tribute: Pleasance Courtyard, Edinburgh, 2017
Angel Comedy: Camden Head Pub, Islington, London, 2017
Arthur Smith: Syd: Pleasance Dome, Edinburgh, 2018
Arthur Smith In Conversation with Beyond The Title: Museum of Comedy, London, 2021
Saturday Night Comedy Cabaret: Downstairs at The Kings Head, Crouch End, London, 2022
Headliners Comedy Club: George IV pub, Chiswick, London, 2022
Arthur Smith: My 75 Years at The Edinburgh Fringe: Pleasance Courtyard, Edinburgh, 2022
Best of Irish at The Craic Den: Leicester Comedy Festival 2023 – King Richard III Pub, Leicester, 2023
Leicester Comedy Festival 30th Anniversary Celebration: Leicester Comedy Festival 2023, Sue Townsend Theatre, Leicester, 2023
Downstairs at The Kings Head 40th Anniversary Show: The Kings Head pub, Crouch End, London, 2023
An Edinburgh Fringe institution and stalwart, I have seen Londoner Arthur Smith perform many times over the years. Smith has many strands: comedian, poet, playwright and exhibitionist. To date he has had two exhibitions at the Fringe, Arturart in 2007 featuring life paintings and Festival of Socks in 2016 featuring the history of stockings.
I saw his solo show Cobbled Up Shambles in 2010. Whilst I was queueing, Smith handed myself and the other people in the queue a rock just for attending. The performance was a series of jokes and songs most notably Arthur Smith and His Amazing Dancing Bear with a person in a bear suit dancing next to Smith as he sang it. The show also memorably featured whilst Smith was deep in monologue to the audience a stark-naked woman who appeared from one side of the stage walking to the other at the start and end of his show. Smith made no reference at all to her which made the routine extremely funny.
In 2011 his Pissed-Up Chat Show featured Smith as host who was sober, and his guests were drunk. In 2013, 2014 and 2017 Smith present his trio of Leonard Cohen tribute shows. These featured The Smithereens who have since become a regular fixture with Smith singing the classic songs of Cohen with comedy asides. The shows, all of which I attended, were big hits at the Fringe.
In 2015, Oh Hazel was a very personal and poetic tribute to his mother with very poignant and funny prose building up a picture of her struggle with dementia and life.
In 2017, he made a guest appearance at Angel Comedy for a Christmas show where the old master conducted the audience in singing traditional carols with substitute rude words.
In August 2018, Smith’s show Syd told the story of his father who fought at El Alamein, became a Prisoner of War and ended up in Colditz Castle in Germany. In the 1950s his father became a Policeman patrolling the streets of London’s Southbank and meeting characters who evaded arrest. Smith told the story with poignancy, comedy and music and was backed by the ever-faithful Smithereens. The show was a touching tribute from a fringe legend to his dad.
Smith was the special guest for the Beyond The Title live podcast at the Museum of Comedy in September 2021. The comedy star chatted to comedian Phil Reid about his 40-year career for the podcast created by Josh Barry. Smith had a treasure trove of wonderfully funny stories and took questions from the audience (which included Phil Nice and Steve Nallon) before completing a very entertaining afternoon with a five-minute set.
Brilliant twenty-minute sets (including a wonderful tribute to Barry Cryer) were perfectly delivered by Smith at the Saturday Night Comedy Cabaret night, Downstairs at The Kings Head that I watched in February 2022 and Headliners Comedy Club in March 2022.
The comedian’s 75 Years at The Edinburgh Fringe was the first show I watched at the Edinburgh Festival in August 2022. A glorious hour celebrating Smith’s shows and adventures at the world’s greatest arts festival since arriving in 1977 and performing every year since. It was a wonderful tribute in celebration of the Fringe’s 75th birthday.
Even though Smith is of course not Irish, I watched him perform a brilliant ten-minute set as part of the Best of Irish at The Craic Den comedy showcase for the Leicester Comedy Festival in February 2023. Having accidently interrupted Ian Stone’s show earlier in the evening with a wonderful throw away line, ‘you’re not talking about Arsenal again, are you?’ and then again interrupting the Monster Stand Up Show with ‘I’m trying to find the loo’, Smith delivered wonderfully funny stories and jokes from his extraordinary career to an enthused audience.
Smith also interviewed Leicester Comedy Festival founder Geoff Rowe for the Leicester Comedy Festival 30th Anniversary Celebration. Whilst I attended the event, I had the pleasure of meeting Mark Boosey, editor of The British Comedy Guide website (www.comedy.co.uk). I also visited the Leicester Comedy 30th Anniversary Exhibition at the Old Library Café and Galleries in Leicester. The interview and exhibition documented how the festival began and stories about the comedians who have played the festival over the years.
Smith was the first act on an amazing bill to celebrate 40 years of Downstairs at The Kings Head that I attended in April 2023. His set included a specially written poem about the comedy club and it’s exceptionally loved promoter, Peter Grahame.
One of the best innovators and an absolute Fringe legend, Smith has always delivered very entertaining and humorous shows at the Edinburgh Festival and beyond.