Andy Smart death: Comedian dies ‘unexpectedly’ aged 63

Andy Smart, the comedian known for his work with comedy group The Comedy Store, has died aged 63.

The news of his death was announced by Smart’s daughter, Grace, who said in a statement: “I'm very sorry to let you all know that dad passed away unexpectedly last night.

“He had so many friends and such a great life. Raise a glass for him.”

Smart joined The Comedy Store Players in 1995, with whom he performed as a guest and a permanent member for over 13 years.

Previously speaking about joining the Players as a full member in 1996, Smart said: “I was lucky because there were quite a few people they could have chosen.”

Before Smart’s time with the Players, he teamed up with Angelo Abela for their double act Vicious Boys. In 1984, the duo won Time Out’s Street Entertainer Award.

They followed the victory with appearances on Wake Up London and Channel 4’s The Tube where Smart, memorably dressed as a hotel bellboy and acting like a great dane, licked presenter Paula Yates’s face.

Three years later, the duo returned to Channel 4 to present American football.

Tributes from fellow comics have already been pouring in, led by fellow comedian Eddie Izzard, who is remembering Smart as a “very funny man and a great improviser”.

“His talent will be missed,” Izzard tweeted.

Comedian Kevin Bridges commented: “Loved all the time I spent with him at comedy festivals over the years. Thoughts with you all Grace.”

Irish presenter and comedian Dara Ó Briain called Smart “a force for joy”, adding that he “will be sorely missed”.

Fellow comedian Milton Jones said that he was “upset to hear this. Few seem to manage to enjoy life both on and off stage as much as he did”. “I’ll miss his grin.”

Actor and comedian Rufus Hound was “absolutely heartbroken” by the news, writing: “There will be others that will speak of his talent, but simply one of the great MEN died. A lust for revelry in all forms, there’s less light today. Will be drinking to him tonight. What a lad.”