First out gay comedian on the Tonight Show, Bob Smith, dies aged 59

Joseph McCormick January 21, 2018
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Comedian Bob Smith

Comedian Bob Smith

The first out gay comic to appear on the Tonight Show with Jay Leno, Bob Smith, has died aged 59.

Smith died after a long battle with ALS, his partner Michael Zam wrote on Facebook.

As well as being the first out gay man to appear on the Tonight Show, he was the first to star in his own HBO Comedy half-hour.

He also appeared in a number of other TV shows, and wrote a collection of essays titled Openly Bob, which won the Lambda Literary Award for humour.

Another collection of essays, Way To Go, Smith, was nominated for the same award and he later wrote his debut novel, Selfish and Perverse.

Smith also wrote for the MTV Video Awards, Dennis Miller, Roseanne and MAD-TV.

He also appeared in Politically Incorrect, The Late, Late Show and Entertainment Tonight.

As well as writing for TV, Smith also contributed to Out magazine and the Advocate and his essays appeared in America’s Best Contemporary Humourists, 101 Damnations and When I Knew.

Smith was born on Christmas Eve in Buffalo.

He often joked of his mother giving him a pack of batteries for his birthday, that: “This gift is for your birthday and Christmas… You’ll need these tomorrow.”

The comedian started out on the New York comedy scene in the early 1980s.

He found success when he teamed up with Jaffe Cohen and Danny McWilliams, both out gay comedians.

The trio performed around the world and called themselves the Funny Gay Males.

Smith is survived by his partner, Michael Zam and his children Madeline and Xander. He is also survived by his mother, Sue Smith, and his brothers James and Gregory.

More: US

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