Always Be Comedy 5th Birthday: The Tommyfield pub, Kennington, London, 2016
Always Be Comedy: The Tommyfield pub, Kennington, London, 2018
Amused Moose National New Comic Award Final 2018: The Space @ Symposium Hall, Edinburgh, 2018
Ian Smith: Craft: Underbelly, Bristo Square, Edinburgh, 2018
Ian Smith: Half-Life: Underbelly, Bristo Square, Edinburgh, 2019
Best of The Fest: Assembly Hall, Edinburgh, 2019
Ian Smith’s Lunchtime Walk: Online: 2020
Always Be Comedy Online: Online: 2020
Comedian Ian Smith played Always Be Comedy 5th birthday show which I saw in London in 2016. Smith delivered distinctive material with an understated confidence. With his offbeat view of the world, he displayed a mastery of phrasing, and summoned up some fine comic images.
Hailing from Goole in Yorkshire and using the fact to construct a brilliant opening joke, Ian Smith returned to Always Be Comedy in April 2018 and then again in October 2018. He was extremely affable on stage and had a humble, self-effacing presence that was endearing to the crowd. Smith told some very amusing, inventive and accomplished stories which made me want to see him perform a longer set.
I watched Smith compere at the Amused Moose National New Comic Award Final 2018 at the Edinburgh Festival Fringe. He proved to be an excellent compere effortlessly entertaining comedy producers, promotors and the audience. Whilst the industry panel were counting the audience votes to decide the winner, Smith brilliantly ad-libbed for a good fifteen minute on stage culminating in him inviting the audience (who had been asked to write down star quality marks out of ten on voting cards for each act) to throw their pens at him which they did. He was bombarded with pens and Smith’s method to play the jester either by design or by accident was an ideal tonic to the awards show.
I had been so impressed by Smith’s compere skills that on the strength of this I booked a ticket for his new show. He really came into his own for his solo show Craft. His vigorous performance instantly linked with the crowd, enchanting individuals with hilarious rapport, and very good jokes based on his amusing daily observations. Smith frequently shouted at the audience adding drama and excitement to his stories. The punters were even treated to his origami skills and with a particularly soggy and very funny conclusion to the show.
I saw Smith again at the Edinburgh Fringe in August 2019 with his new show Half-Life based on his love of the word game Scrabble and featuring classic stories including an unlikely holiday to Chernobyl with his brother. There was an audience rendition of the irritatingly catchy Wake Up, Wake Up children’s song complete with actions. I also saw Smith at the Fringe effortlessly compere the popular late-night showcase Best of The Fest.
In May 2020 when everyone was watching comedy online due to the Coronavirus epidemic, I watched Smith give a guided walking tour of Howden. Situated near his home, Smith walked the viewer through the market town, which was overlooked by its stunning minster (reminiscent of York), which lead to a Georgian town centre with narrow cobbled streets and renovated buildings. Smith was extremely amusing stopping at a cheese shop, having a chance meeting with a school friend and experiencing trouble with bees and proved an amiable guide. The comedian also relaunched his award nominated podcast 100 Reasons To Hate… (https://m.youtube.com/watch?feature=youtu.be&v=FZy6iTQqw4o) where he hysterically and furiously ranted and complained about various subjects such as Valentine’s Day, beds and the theatre.
Smith made a welcome return to Always Be Comedy, this time for an online show that I watched online in November 2020. He talked about such diverse subjects as his experiences of attempting to be cast in a TV soap and finding a heart by the river whilst out on a walk. He proved once again that even in difficult times, his surrealism, energy, and enthusiasm was so irresistible, his jokes were very relevant and he was an extremely likeable and funny comedian.