Will Smith (comedian)

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For other people named Will Smith, see William Smith (disambiguation).
Will Smith
Born Will Smith
Nationality British
Occupation Actor, writer, stand-up comedian
Known for TV and radio comedy

Will Smith (born 1971) is an English comedian, screenwriter, novelist[1] and actor.

Early life and education[edit]

Though born in Winchester,[2] Smith grew up in Jersey and was educated there at Victoria College. His brother is the TV presenter and wine critic Olly Smith.[3]


Smith is a writer and supervising producer on HBO's Emmy-winning sitcom Veep, starring Julia Louis-Dreyfus.[4] Smith also wrote on the BAFTA-winning BBC comedy The Thick of It. He was the only writer on the programme who acted in it – as MP Peter Mannion's inept adviser, Lord of the Rings-obsessive Phil Smith. He also has a cameo role in the closing credits of "In the Loop". With Armando Iannucci and Roger Drew he devised BBC future comedy Time Trumpet.[5]

Smith started his career in stand-up comedy, winning awards including Chortle Best Headliner 2005 and Time Out Comedy Award winner 2004.[6] One critic called him 'the Hugh Grant of comedy',[7] and he appeared in The 11 O'Clock Show with Sacha Baron Cohen and Ricky Gervais as the character 'Posh Boy'.[8] He took critically acclaimed solo shows to the Edinburgh Fringe Festival every year from 2003–2006: "Will Smith Is Much Obliged", "Misplaced Childhood" (inspired by his love of the rock band Marillion and their 1985 album of the same name),[9] "Ten Arguments I Should Have Won",[10] and "How To Be Cool".[11] Smith supported Ricky Gervais on his record-breaking sell-out 2007 "Fame" tour, and supported Ardal O'Hanlon and Johnny Vegas on national tours.


2015 saw the publication of Smith's first novel, Mainlander, published by Fourth Estate.[12] A thriller about a schoolboy who goes missing on Jersey, The Independent described it as 'John le Carré meets Middlemarch',[13] and ShortList called it a 'knockout'.[14] The Daily Mail also gave it a positive review, hailing it as 'a proper work of fiction... A carefully worked plot, seen through the viewpoints of a clutch of cast members, builds nicely to a satisfying climax.'[15] Smith wrote about the difference between writing for television and writing a novel in The Guardian.[16]

Comedy books by Smith include How To Be Cool[17] (Harry Enfield said of it 'Will Smith is the coolest guy in the world (if uncool is the new cool) – he's also terrifically funny'), and The Joy of No Sex, published by Penguin,.[18]

Smith also writes for various publications, including the magazine Intelligent Life, in which he learns something new for each issue. Articles have included banjo-playing, ice-sculpting, circus skills and making a soufflé.[19]


Smith frequently appears as a guest in comedy panel shows on BBC Radio 4, as well as appearing in his own shows including Mr and Mrs Smith, a sitcom about a couple in marriage counselling, and Will Smith Presents the Tao of Bergerac.


Year Title Role Notes
1997 The 11 O'Clock Show
2000 Time Gentlemen Please
2003 Gash
2004 A Wife For William
2005 The Comic Side of 7 Days
2005 Back in the Day
2006 The Charlotte Church Show
2006 Never Mind the Buzzcocks
2006–2012 The Thick of It Phil Smith 2006, one hour special in 2007, 2009, 2012
2007 The C Word
2007 The Late Edition
2008 For One Night Only
2009 Argumental 2 guest appearances
2011 Comedy Lab Tony Season 12, Episode 5
2012 Have I Got News For You
2012 Dead Boss Governor Gorey Season 1, Episode 6


  1. ^ [1]
  2. ^ http://www.independent.co.uk/arts-entertainment/books/features/will-smiths-new-book-mainlander-john-le-carr-meets-middlemarch-10037021.html
  3. ^ "Twitter / jollyolly: @tvpeanuts Yes I am related". Twitter.com. Retrieved 11 October 2012. 
  4. ^ http://www.theguardian.com/books/2015/feb/21/will-smith-screenwriter-turns-novelist
  5. ^ Time Trumpet official credits, URL accessed 5 November, 2006
  6. ^ "Will Smith on : Chortle : The UK Comedy Guide". Chortle. Retrieved 11 October 2012. 
  7. ^ "Will Smith's New Book: John Le Carre Meets Middlemarch". Independent. Retrieved 10 March 2015. 
  8. ^ http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0224452/fullcredits/.  Missing or empty |title= (help)
  9. ^ Ritchie, Jason. "Interview: Will Smith". Get Ready to Rock. Retrieved 8 August 2014. 
  10. ^ "Will Smith: 10 Arguments I Should Have Won' review : Chortle : The UK Comedy Guide". Chortle. Retrieved 11 October 2012. 
  11. ^ "Will Smith: How To Be Cool' review : Chortle : The UK Comedy Guide". Chortle. Retrieved 11 October 2012. 
  12. ^ http://www.amazon.co.uk/Mainlander-Will-Smith/dp/0007594267
  13. ^ "Will Smith's New Book: John Le Carre Meets Middlemarch". Independent. Retrieved 10 March 2015. 
  14. ^ http://www.shortlist.com/entertainment/books/the-shortread-will-smith
  15. ^ http://www.dailymail.co.uk/home/books/article-2960581/LITERARY-FICTION.html#ixzz3U4lpKk9b
  16. ^ http://www.theguardian.com/books/2015/feb/21/will-smith-screenwriter-turns-novelist
  17. ^ "How to Be Cool: Make Social Blunders a Thing of the Past!: Amazon.co.uk: Will Smith: Books". Amazon.co.uk. Retrieved 11 October 2012. 
  18. ^ Amazon page for The Joy of No Sex
  19. ^ Intelligent Life article
  20. ^ "BBC – Programmes – Categorised as will smith". Retrieved 18 April 2009. 
  21. ^ Amazon page for The Tao of Bergerac
  22. ^ "BBC Radio 4 – Mr and Mrs Smith". Bbc.co.uk. 21 February 2012. Retrieved 11 October 2012. 

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