1959 - 2023
Andy Smart joined the Comedy Store Players in 1995. He had been a guest from the early days, often with his double-act partner Angelo Abela.
Andy and Angelo performed as the Vicious Boys on the streets of Covent Garden along with Eddie Izzard and others, winning the 1984 Time Out Street Entertainer of the Year Award. They performed at the Edinburgh Fringe and on the Arts Centre circuit, and made trips to New York with new airline Virgin Atlantic, who used to take comedy acts on board as live in-flight entertainment.
Their TV appearances included Wake Up London, Get Fresh and The Tube where, dressed as a bell boy and pretending to be a Great Dane dog, Andy licked Paula Yates' face. They presented coverage of American Football on Channel 4, broadcasting live from San Diego for Superbowl XXII in 1988.
Andy went on to do a wide variety of work, from compering comedy clubs to appearing in Morwenna Banks' 1996 TV movie The Preventers. Andy was also one of the Stephen Frost Impro Allstars, performing at the Glastonbury Festival and at comedy venues around the world. Andy compered the Glastonbury Cabaret Tent on Sunday mornings in his trademark dressing gown.
A regular at the Edinburgh Festival Fringe since 1980, Andy wrote and performed the solo shows Look Back At Danger and The Dope, and he appeared in the comedy play Twiglet Anyone? in 1989. In 2003 Andy played Juror no. 11 in the hugely successful Edinburgh Fringe production of Twelve Angry Men, which toured to Australia and New Zealand the following year. Andy was an Ugly sister in Improbable Theatre's Improvised Cinderella and he was the first guest to be interviewed for Keith Johnstone's improvised format Lifegame.
Andy's love of sport took him to Iran with Nick Hancock to film the Channel 4 documentary The Outsiders, which followed the Iranian national football team as they prepared for the 1998 World Cup. Andy loved every sport, and the more dangerous the better. He presented TalkSport's coverage of the annual Royal Shrovetide Football Match in Ashbourne and the Cheese Rolling at Cooper's Hill in Gloucestershire. He was a dedicated fan of Farnborough Football Club, travelling the country to watch them play and provide commentary.
Andy ran with the bulls in Pamplona over 50 times and completed the Crest Run. He was a member of WARDA, the Western Australian Roof Drinking Association, who drink beer on the roofs of moving trains. Andy wrote about many of his adventures in his memoir A Hitch In Time.
Andy is remembered for his huge smile, his infectious laughter, his generosity and his willingness to help others, particularly his work every Christmas with the homeless charity Crisis. He enjoyed performing as much as the audience, who laughed along with him.
Andy died in May 2023. The Comedy Store Players wrote:
"Shocking news. Andy Smart has died. We the Comedy Store Players are utterly heartbroken. We cannot say how much we will miss him. He was a joy. He laughed more than anyone we knew. He did so much crazy stuff but mostly he made our little world way more fun. We loved him so much."
The news triggered an outpouring of grief, love and admiration from all those he had met around the world.
Bill Bailey wrote "Very sad to lose Andy, someone who was not only very funny and a brilliant improviser but was such a joy to be around. I loved spending time with him."
Jason Manford said "I am so gutted to hear about Andy Smart’s passing. Had some very fun nights at various festivals over the years and he was always a gentleman full of great anecdotes & stories."