Will Smith (comedian)

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Will Smith
William James Smith

(1971-06-08) 8 June 1971 (age 49) [1]
OccupationActor, screenwriter, stand-up comedian, novelist, producer
Years active1996–present
Known forTV, film and radio comedy

William James Smith (born 8 June 1971) is an English stand-up comedian, screenwriter, novelist, actor and producer.


As co-writer and co-producer of the HBO sitcom Veep , he was among the recipients of two Emmys and two Writers Guild of America Awards, and has received nominations for the Golden Globe Award for Best Television Series – Musical or Comedy and the Producers Guild of America Award for Best Episodic Comedy. [2] [3] [4] [5]

Early life and education

Though born in Winchester, Hampshire, [6] Smith grew up in Jersey and was educated there at Victoria College. His brother is the TV presenter and wine critic Olly Smith. [7]

Stand up comedy

Smith started his career in stand-up comedy, winning awards including Chortle Best Headliner 2005 and Time Out Comedy 2004. [8] One critic called him 'the Hugh Grant of comedy', [9] and he appeared in The 11 O'Clock Show with Sacha Baron Cohen and Ricky Gervais as the character 'Posh Boy'. [10] He took solo shows to the Edinburgh Fringe Festival every year from 2003 to 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), [11] "Ten Arguments I Should Have Won", [12] and "How To Be Cool". [13] Smith supported Gervais on his record-breaking sell-out 2007 "Fame" tour, and supported Ardal O'Hanlon and Johnny Vegas on national tours.


Smith is involved with both British and American political satire. He is a writer and one of the executive producers on HBO's Emmy-winning sitcom Veep , starring Julia Louis-Dreyfus. [14] He wrote or co-wrote the Veep episodes: Chung (Season 1); Midterms, Running (Season 2); Some New Beginnings, Fishing (Season 3); Storms and Pancakes, Testimony (Season 4); Thanksgiving, C**tgate (Season 5)[ citation needed ]. Smith also wrote on the BAFTA-winning BBC political 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 , the Anglo-American film spin-off.

He is an executive producer on HBO sitcom Avenue 5. Other writing credits include sitcoms Damned and Back (TV series), both airing on Channel 4.[ citation needed ] With Armando Iannucci and Roger Drew he devised BBC future comedy Time Trumpet , six episodes that screened in 2006. [15] In 2018 he was reported to be working on co-writing a television series of Scarfolk . [16]

In December 2020 he was reported to be working on the television adaptation of espionage novels Slow Horses, filming in the UK and starring Gary Oldman. [17]


Comedy books by Smith include How To Be Cool [18] (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, [19] a parody of The Joy of Sex .

Smith 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. [20]

In 2015 Smith published his first novel, Mainlander (4th Estate, a division of HarperCollins), [21] a thriller about a schoolboy who goes missing on Jersey. The Independent described it as 'John le Carré meets Middlemarch', [9] and ShortList called it a 'knockout'. [22]

Smith reflects on the difference between writing for television and writing a novel in The Guardian . "The chain from author to reader is short and simple – agent, editor, proofreader, shop/website. In TV, the script will have to be signed off by producers, executive producers, genre commissioners and channel commissioners, and that’s still only a starting point". He cites as his influences John Cleese and Stephen Fry, as well as Charlotte Brontë and George Eliot. [14]


Smith has appeared on BBC Radio 4 as a guest in comedy panel shows and in his own shows.

Acting credits

1997 The 11 O'Clock Show
2000 Time Gentlemen Please
2003 Gash
2004 A Wife For William
2005Back 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
2007The C WordThe euphemism for "cunt", not "cancer"
2007 The Late Edition
2008For One Night Only
2009 Argumental 2 guest appearances
2011 Comedy Lab TonySeason 12, Episode 5
2012 Have I Got News for You
2012 Dead Boss Governor GoreySeason 1, Episode 6
2014 Paddington (film) Geographer
2016-2018 Damned (TV series) Zac
2017 Hampstead (film) Leon Rowlands
2019 Greed (film) Teacher

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  6. Archived 11 February 2015 at the Wayback Machine
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  13. "Will Smith: How To Be Cool' review : Chortle : The UK Comedy Guide". Chortle. Retrieved 11 October 2012.
  14. 1 2 Will Smith (21 February 2015). "A screenwriter turns novelist, looking for less interference and fewer turkeys | Books". The Guardian. Retrieved 25 November 2015.
  15. "Credits". Time Trumpet. Archived from the original on 3 March 2016. Retrieved 25 November 2015.
  16. "Gaffe as civil service magazine prints poster telling parents to shoot rabid children". Sky News. Retrieved 22 January 2019.
  17. Thorne, Will; Thorne, Will (14 December 2020). "Kristin Scott Thomas and Jonathan Pryce Join Gary Oldman in Apple's 'Slow Horses'".
  18. How to Be Cool: Make Social Blunders a Thing of the Past!: Amazon.co.uk: Will Smith: Books. ASIN   0719524903.
  19. Smith, Will; Drew, Roger (2005). The Joy of No Sex: A Guide to Life Without Lovemaking: Amazon.co.uk: Will Smith, Roger Drew. ISBN   9780718148379.
  20. http://www.moreintelligentlife.com/content/will-smith-learns-do-something-new-this-issue-the-banjo . Retrieved 8 October 2008.Missing or empty |title= (help)[ dead link ]
  21. Will Smith. Mainlander. ISBN   9780007594269.
  22. "The ShortRead: Will Smith | ShortList Magazine". Shortlist.com. 25 February 2015. Retrieved 25 November 2015.
  23. "BBC – Programmes – Categorised as will smith" . Retrieved 18 April 2009.
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  25. "BBC Radio 4 – Mr and Mrs Smith". Bbc.co.uk. 21 February 2012. Retrieved 11 October 2012.