Skip

Alas Smith
July 20, 2013 9:29 AM   Subscribe


 
.
posted by Gelatin at 9:36 AM on July 20, 2013


.
posted by Samuel Farrow at 9:37 AM on July 20, 2013


.
posted by LobsterMitten at 9:41 AM on July 20, 2013


Alias. I thought the Alas was a quasi-joke in your headline, but the name of the show was Alias Smith and Jones.
posted by zadcat at 9:41 AM on July 20, 2013


Alias Smith and Jones was an American show, zadcat. Alas Smith and Jones parodied the name.
posted by oneirodynia at 9:43 AM on July 20, 2013 [5 favorites]


Oops. Can someone clean up my mess please?

Sorry.
posted by zadcat at 9:46 AM on July 20, 2013 [2 favorites]


RIP Mel. He had a huge impact on British comedy through his company Talkback, formed with Griff Rhys Jones and Peter Fincham, including mentoring Graham Linehan & Arthur Matthews in their early writing days.

He also played this one to perfection - Gerald The Gorilla
posted by DanCall at 9:46 AM on July 20, 2013 [8 favorites]


zadcat and oneirodynia, thank you for resolving the Alias/Alas issue - I had also been confused about those names without realizing it.
posted by LobsterMitten at 9:48 AM on July 20, 2013


When I was a teenager a local television station (not PBS) used to show Not The 9 O'Clock News *. No one, ever, anywhere, knew what the hell I was talking about when I referenced one of their skits. They were fantastic, though. I wish "Sex Shop" was on YouTube.

*Every weekday night, along with Doctor in the House and some other, even more random British shows. I think they were cheap to syndicate or something.
posted by oneirodynia at 9:52 AM on July 20, 2013 [2 favorites]


.

So sad to lose another part of my youth. A seriously funny man.

Not to forget Colin's Sandwich.
posted by arcticseal at 9:54 AM on July 20, 2013 [3 favorites]


.
posted by droplet at 9:54 AM on July 20, 2013


A very funny man is gone. The head-to-head chats on Alas Smith and Jones were brilliant; some of my favourite comedy, I could watch them for hours.

.
posted by N-stoff at 9:58 AM on July 20, 2013 [1 favorite]


awwww fuck

.
posted by lalochezia at 9:59 AM on July 20, 2013


I'm absolutely livid.
posted by steganographia at 10:00 AM on July 20, 2013 [7 favorites]


.
posted by inpHilltr8r at 10:01 AM on July 20, 2013


The head-to-head chats on Alas Smith and Jones were brilliant

These are what remember most as well. Hilarious.

.
posted by jontyjago at 10:01 AM on July 20, 2013


Another comic genius is lost to us. From the head to head smith and jones:

Mel: Well you know what they say, there's a little bit of the homosexual in all of us
Griff: There's never been a little bit of homosexual in me.

.
posted by marienbad at 10:15 AM on July 20, 2013


.
posted by Wemmick at 10:17 AM on July 20, 2013


As an American I mostly know him through his bit parts in films like European Vacation and the Princess Bride, but he was always memorably funny. I need to watch Brain Donors again. It's a peculiar 1992 movie, basically a loose remake of the Marx Brothers' A Night at the Opera with John Turturro, Mel Smith, and Bob Nelson as analogs of Groucho, Chico and Harpo respectively. I remember it having some funny parts in its old-fashioned way.

.
posted by usonian at 10:24 AM on July 20, 2013 [2 favorites]


.

For me he will always be the hapless Bernard in Morons From Outer Space.
posted by urbanwhaleshark at 10:34 AM on July 20, 2013 [2 favorites]


.
posted by ambrosia at 10:38 AM on July 20, 2013


A huge part of my younger life has gone - but the punchlines remain. "Neizer, I vant it for my arm-pits". "With your eyes shut?" "I am afraid so.".

The memory kinda lingers.

I don't know much about Mel Smith's life, but the obits from friends seem to suggest that he did not abstain from the sort of pleasures that makes a heart attack at 60 not such a surprise. Comparing that with the recent thread on how it's not necessarily a good thing to exchange quality of life for extra hours on the clock - a complicated equation indeed.
posted by Devonian at 10:50 AM on July 20, 2013 [2 favorites]


.
posted by Wordshore at 10:52 AM on July 20, 2013


Is he fully dead, or only mostly dead?
posted by Guy Smiley at 11:26 AM on July 20, 2013 [2 favorites]


IIIIIIIIIIII aaaaaaammmmm...

Ahem.

.
posted by Samizdata at 11:35 AM on July 20, 2013


Morons from Outer Space! Colin's Sandwich! Zut alors, I loved him growing up.
posted by Admiral Haddock at 11:40 AM on July 20, 2013


He was a wonderful Toby Belch in an entirely wonderful film of Twelfth Night from 1996. He was funny, subtle, sorrowful, and fully human.

.
posted by feste at 11:42 AM on July 20, 2013


.

I was especially impressed that HIS Smith and Jones show's title was a specific reference to the American short-lived Western. It reminded me that, as original as most British humor was, they were keeping an eye on us stupid Americans and could go after us at any time... they just didn't usually bother.
posted by oneswellfoop at 12:11 PM on July 20, 2013


.
posted by DreamerFi at 12:17 PM on July 20, 2013


Last thing I saw from him was a straight role in the BBC drama about pre-war jazz and race issues Dancing on the Edge and he was great in that too.
posted by Abiezer at 12:28 PM on July 20, 2013 [1 favorite]


.

Though I saw him in NTNOCN, he made the biggest impression on me with “Smith and Goody”, a kids' show about reading. It was chaotic, funny, and about books. It spoke to my nerdy 11-year-old soul. Funny bloke, we'll miss him.
posted by scruss at 12:56 PM on July 20, 2013 [1 favorite]


.
posted by w0mbat at 12:56 PM on July 20, 2013


.
posted by ipsative at 1:15 PM on July 20, 2013


.
posted by shelleycat at 2:04 PM on July 20, 2013


.
posted by NailsTheCat at 2:05 PM on July 20, 2013


.

Oh, dear, another figure from my youth, bit the dust.

Really good post, btw - I didn't remember "the albino" but that tiny clip cleared it right up for me and the Mrs., to great laughter...
posted by lupus_yonderboy at 2:50 PM on July 20, 2013


.
posted by Smart Dalek at 3:13 PM on July 20, 2013


Something about Mel always made him seem like a member of my family more than other British comedians. Maybe he reminded me of members of my family more, or maybe he had a talent for clowning in a way that reminded me of my most loved uncles but this leaves me more sore than losing other performers like him that I might find strictly technically funnier.

NTNOCN remains a classic, especially dear Gerald and his handler.

Farewell Mel.

.
posted by edd at 3:31 PM on July 20, 2013 [1 favorite]


.
posted by Joh at 4:28 PM on July 20, 2013


Good lord, I would have said he was nearing 60 when he did The Princess Bride. Seems like he'd been one of those guys I heard about from the UK for so long that he was like Dave Allen's generation.

.
posted by Etrigan at 4:59 PM on July 20, 2013


.
posted by motty at 6:09 PM on July 20, 2013


been done before but...

kinda lingers me old pal...
posted by DaRiLo at 6:28 PM on July 20, 2013


. Grew up watching him. What a shame.
posted by biscotti at 6:33 PM on July 20, 2013


Tall Guy trailer

.
posted by jonp72 at 7:07 PM on July 20, 2013


Un film de Mel Smith. I loved that bit at the end of The Tall Guy. Loved that whole damn movie.

.
posted by RakDaddy at 7:55 PM on July 20, 2013


.
posted by Mezentian at 9:51 PM on July 20, 2013


.
posted by bouvin at 11:43 PM on July 20, 2013


:( no
posted by niccolo at 12:44 AM on July 21, 2013


"The Tall Guy" is unironically one of my favorite films. Goofy and sweet and madly funny (it was one of the early film scripts of Richard Curtis). Just love it. So thanks for that, Mel.
posted by jscalzi at 2:49 AM on July 21, 2013 [2 favorites]


Scruss - thanks for the Smith and Goodie ref. For me that's his best role. But apparently I am the only person who thinks so. Now I can't get the theme song out my head.

"Good books, bad books, funny books, ever-been-had books and sad books/There’s a book about a ship that disappears without trace/There’s a book about a thing that came from outer space/there's a book about a bandit blowing up a bank and a book about a big brown bear and a boy with a blue balloon …”
posted by EnterTheStory at 6:17 AM on July 21, 2013


Just to add my own favourite Smith and Jones sketch:

The Nazi Generals.

He will be sorely missed.
posted by garius at 6:30 AM on July 21, 2013 [2 favorites]


Ah, what does TV Cream know about books, EnterTheStory? I still remember the song S&G did for Fungus the Bogeyman… sort of a lumpen punk song about Fungus's existential angst. It must've been pretty well worded, 'cos I didn't know about existential angst before.

Somewhere released from me is a Smith & Goody "Get the book!" badge.
posted by scruss at 7:32 AM on July 21, 2013 [1 favorite]


I wouldn't have been as disappointed that he had done so little acting after Alas Smith and Jones had I known that his Talkback Productions made Da Ali G Show, I'm Alan Partridge, QI, Never Mind the Buzzcocks, Big Train, et al. Either aspect of his career would have ensured his legacy in British comedy.
posted by Doktor Zed at 11:24 AM on July 21, 2013 [1 favorite]


.
posted by PippinJack at 12:29 PM on July 21, 2013


Was reminded on another forum that he also played a straight part (bad guy again) in the seminal British film on reggae sound systems and black life in London, Babylon. That alone is a worthwhile career!
posted by Abiezer at 10:48 AM on July 22, 2013 [1 favorite]


Cheerio, old bean. Safe journey.....
posted by On the Corner at 2:04 AM on July 23, 2013


.
posted by monkey closet at 6:27 AM on July 24, 2013


« Older The Dean of the White House Press Corp   |   Writing On Not Writing Newer »


This thread has been archived and is closed to new comments



Post