Remembering Mel Smith: The Legacy of a Comedy Legend

Mel Smith was a prominent British comedian, writer, and director who became famous in the 1980s and 90s for his witty and irreverent style of humor. He was known for his work on sketch comedy shows such as Not the Nine O’Clock News, Alas Smith and Jones, and The Comic Strip, as well as his directorial work on films like Bean and High Heels and Low Lifes.

Despite passing away in 2013 at the age of 60, Mel Smith’s legacy lives on in the hearts of his devoted fans and the countless comedians and filmmakers he inspired over the course of his career. In this blog post, we will take a look back at Mel Smith’s life and work, exploring his most memorable moments and contributions to the world of comedy.

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1. Early Life and Career

Mel Smith was born on December 3, 1952, in Chiswick, London. He attended Oxford University, where he was a member of the renowned Oxford Revue comedy group, which also included future stars like Rowan Atkinson and Richard Curtis. After graduating, Smith went on to work as a performer and writer for various television shows and theatrical productions. He gained national recognition in 1979 as one of the performers on the satirical sketch show Not the Nine O’Clock News, which became a huge hit and catapulted him to stardom.

2. Sketch Comedy

Throughout the 1980s and early 90s, Mel Smith was a regular fixture on British television, appearing on numerous sketch comedy shows and specials. He teamed up with fellow comedian Griff Rhys Jones to create the sketch show Alas Smith and Jones, which ran for ten seasons and won critical acclaim for its mixture of sharp humor and offbeat characters. Smith also worked with the Comic Strip comedy collective, contributing to their various projects and directing several of their films.

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3. Film Work

In addition to his work in television, Mel Smith also enjoyed a successful career as a film director. He directed the hit comedy Bean, starring Rowan Atkinson, as well as the crime caper High Heels and Low Lifes. He also appeared as an actor in various films, including The Princess Bride and National Lampoon’s European Vacation.

4. Notable Characters

Mel Smith was known for his ability to create unique and memorable characters on sketch comedy shows and in films. Some of his most famous creations include the hapless detective Sergeant Ken Screech from Alas Smith and Jones, the sleazy salesman Mortimer from The Comic Strip Presents, and the bumbling conspiracy theorist Old Giffer from Not the Nine O’Clock News.

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5. Awards and Recognition

Over the course of his career, Mel Smith received numerous accolades for his work in comedy and entertainment. He won two BAFTA awards for his work on Not the Nine O’Clock News and Alas Smith and Jones, as well as the Laurence Olivier Award for Best Comedy in 1985. He was also a recipient of the OBE for his services to comedy.

6. Legacy and Impact

Mel Smith’s influence on the world of comedy cannot be overstated. His irreverent and innovative approach to humor paved the way for future generations of comedians, and his legacy lives on in the work of many of today’s top performers. The characters and sketches he created continue to be beloved by fans around the world, and his contributions to the entertainment industry will always be remembered.

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7. FAQs

Q: What was Mel Smith’s most famous role?
A: Mel Smith was known for his work on the sketch comedy show Not the Nine O’Clock News, where he created many memorable characters and sketches.

Q: What was Mel Smith’s most successful film?
A: Mel Smith directed the hit comedy Bean, starring Rowan Atkinson, which was a box office success and became a cult classic.

Q: How did Mel Smith get his start in comedy?
A: Mel Smith got his start in comedy as a member of the Oxford Revue comedy group while studying at Oxford University.

Q: Did Mel Smith work with any other famous comedians?
A: Yes, Mel Smith collaborated with many other famous comedians throughout his career, including Rowan Atkinson, Griff Rhys Jones, and Richard Curtis.

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Q: Did Mel Smith win any awards for his work?
A: Yes, Mel Smith won several awards throughout his career, including two BAFTAs, the Laurence Olivier Award for Best Comedy, and the OBE.

Q: What was Mel Smith’s impact on the world of comedy?
A: Mel Smith’s innovative and irreverent approach to humor inspired many future generations of comedians and paved the way for new styles and forms of comedy.

Q: Where can I watch Mel Smith’s work?
A: Many of Mel Smith’s most famous sketches and shows are available to stream or purchase on various streaming services and DVD collections.

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Mel Smith was a true comedy legend, whose impact on the entertainment industry continues to be felt to this day. His unique approach to humor and his ability to create memorable characters and sketches inspired generations of comedians and audiences alike. From his early days as a member of the Oxford Revue to his work on hit shows like Not the Nine O’Clock News and Alas Smith and Jones, and his successful career in film, Mel Smith left an indelible mark on the world of comedy that will never be forgotten.

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