Bob Smith

Bob Smith

Born in Buffalo, Bob Smith has the distinction of being the first openly gay comedian to appear on The Tonight Show and also have his own HBO Comedy Half-hour. Other TV appearances include Politically Incorrect, The Late, Late Show, Entertainment Tonight, Tom Snyder and Comedy Central's Out There. Bob's Lambda Literary Award-winning collection of essays, Openly Bob, was published to acclaim by Rob Weisbach Books/William Morrow and his most recent Lambda Literary Award-nominated book, Way To Go, Smith!, was published by HarperCollins. He's written for Amblin Films, The MTV Video Awards, Dennis Miller, Roseanne and was a staff writer for Fox's MAD-TV. His sketch, The Zapruder Films, was recently featured in The Best of MAD-TV. Bob's comic essays have appeared in the anthology, Americas Best Contemporary Humorists: Mirth of A Nation and 101 Damnations published by St. Martin's Press. His most recent essay, "The Test" appears in When I Knew edited by Robert Trachtenberg.

Bob is a regular contributor to Out magazine. He's appeared in HBO's documentary about the first gay and lesbian family cruise, All Aboard—Rosie's Family Cruise. He taped a comedy special for Logo Wisecracks/Outlaugh and was filmed for a Logo documentary called Laughing Matters about six gay male standup comics. His first novel, Selfish and Perverse, a comedy set in Los Angeles and Alaska, was published by Carroll & Graf.

Remembrance of Things I Forgot

A Novel

University of Wisconsin Press, 2011

"It's safe to say your relationship is in trouble if the only way you can imagine solving your problems is by borrowing a time machine."

In 2006 comic book dealer John Sherkston has decided to break up with his physicist boyfriend, Taylor Esgard, on the very day Taylor announces he's finally perfected a time machine for the U.S government. John travels back to 1986, where he encounters "Junior," his younger, more innocent self. When Junior starts to flirt, John wonders how to reveal his identity: "I'm you, only with less hair and problems you can't imagine." He also meets up with the younger Taylor, and this unlikely trio teams up to plot a course around their future relationship troubles, prevent John's sister from making a tragic decision, and stop George W. Bush from becoming president.

In this wickedly comic, cross-country, time-bending journey, John confronts his own—and the nation's—blunders, learning that a second chance at changing things for the better also brings new opportunities to screw them up. Through edgy humor, time travel, and droll one-liners, Bob Smith examines family dysfunction, suicide, New York City, and recent American history while effortlessly blending domestic comedy with science fiction. Part acidic political satire, part wild comedy, and part poignant social scrutiny, Remembrance of Things I Forgot is an uproarious adventure filled with sharp observations about our recent past.

Selfish and Perverse

A Novel

Da Capo Press, 2007

Nelson Kunker is trapped in his job as the script supervisor on Aftertaste, the low-rated late-night sketch television show. His life in Los Angeles has come to a halt because he's unable to finish the novel he's writing, doesn't have a boyfriend, and, at the pivotal age of thirty-four, has reached the juncture where he has to decide whether he's really talented or just gay. One day he meets Roy Briggs, a part-time salmon fisherman/full-time archaeology student who's visiting from Alaska. When Nelson attempts to make small talk with the handsome Roy, he references an obscure but haunting story about bowhead whales that startles the science nerd in both men into suspecting that they might be soulmates. Unfortunately, Nelson discovers his soul is a bit of a slut when he also meets the guest host of that week's show, the surprisingly bookish movie star Dylan Fabizak, freshly paroled after a drug bust. When the three end up at Roy's home in Alaska, hilarity, love, and debauchery ensue. Wooed by both Roy and Dylan, Nelson comes to strongly identify with the salmon they are fishing for — another insanely driven species that will overcome every hurdle in its search for love.

Openly Bob

William Morrow, 1997

In Openly Bob, Bob Smith offers his own original, whine-free perspective on being grown up and gay. From bringing your boyfriend home to your father's funeral, to being the only gay couple at a family wedding, to surviving couples counseling, Smith's unique point of view on the very ordinary events of our lives resonates with keen observation and hilarious truth. Sex education, meteor showers, lesbian ventriloquist dummies, flea-market shopping, body piercing, pot-smoking drag queens, environmental correctness, Judgment Day, Samuel Beckett, Newt Gingrich, Coco Chanel, Sigmund Freud - nothing and no one has been spared Bob Smith's incisive eye in this very human collection of comic essays - from a writer who knows how to serve up a truly fresh slice of American pie.

Rememberance of Things I Forgot

"If H. G. Wells had been funny and Oscar Wilde obsessed with time travel they might have mated and produced Bob Smith, who has written the funniest and wildest ride imaginable through the recent past and near future."—Edmund White

"His characters are brilliantly drawn, the dialogue is Preston Sturges deft, the political satire is damning without being shrill, and you will absolutely cry when you read the last line. How did Smith do that? I didn't think it was possible to be a bigger fan of Bob Smith's than I already was, but I am."—David Rakoff, author of Fraud

"An extraordinary novel: smart, funny, fiendishly inventive, often moving and ultimately profound. I've never read anything like it. Bob Smith combines the ingenuity of science fiction with the emotional weight of autobiographical fiction. He then adds politics—in the form of the greatest villain of recent American history. This is a comic novel, but reading it can be a life-altering experience, like falling through a rabbit hole in space/time, and coming out the other side a better person." —Christopher Bram, author of Gods and Monsters

"Wildly comic political satire mixes with cutting comedy, social commentary, and a touch of sf in this seriously entertaining summer read."—Booklist

"Bob Smith's Remembrance of Things I Forgot is a delightful, moving portrait of a man who is given the rare opportunity to literally revisit his past, and the novel will likely be considered one of the year's best."— Christopher Verleger, Lambda Literary

"A beautifully written and well-paced comic sci-fi extravaganza, a true page turner yet pregnant with deep social and human insight. . . . Take this book to heart: it will absorb you, change you, and—in the clincher of the last sentence—move you to tears."—Richard Canning,The Gay and Lesbian Review Worldwide

"It is abundantly clear that Smith mixed the funny with the sad in Remembrance of Things I Forgot, and he has literally turned that 'genre of life' into a tangible reflection of the time it takes for humans to forget their life experiences, big and small, sweet and sorrowful; and in the end how remembrance of all things could actually change the world."—Tony Hobday, QSaltLake


Selfish and Perverse

"Selfish and Perverse is Smith's first novel, yet it's written with skill and flair honed by his years as a comedy writer and performer....Smith has the swift, casual style that moves some slightly implausible plot-points forward with only intentional clunks and crashes. Despite the author's claims that his stand-up work is different from his fiction-writing, there is a bounty of hilarious, funny, and wry one-line insights that our narrator shares; so many, in fact, that it's easy to gradually take them for granted. Toward the finale, things do get more serious, and not so funny, but certainly touching and poignant." -- Bay Area Reporter, 10/04/07

"Smith has a clever way of...combining his narrative skills with humor....Smith isn't shy about showcasing his erotic storytelling skills. The end product reads like something Penthouse would run." -- EDGE Boston, 10/03/07

"Uproarious... It's like "Northern Exposure" with more jokes - and gays. Smith is a keen observer of human nature...from whip-smart prose to his rich characters to the enthralling detail of his settings, Smith makes all the right moves...."Selfish & Perverse" caught me hook, line and sinker."--"Metrosource"

"Smith's fluid and breezy tone propels the plot...The author sprinkles the book with comic touches... a selfishly fun read."—Boston Globe

"Bob Smith, is both: wildly talented and extremely gay. You probably recognize him as one of the first openly gay standup comedian, but he's also a gifted storyteller. His book's such a joy, all you need to know is this: Read it!"—New York Blade

"A warm and funny beach read whose protagonist, like the wild salmon at its heart, finds its way home."—Out Magazine

"A warm and funny beach read whose protagonist, like the wild salmon at its heart, finds its way home."—Out Magazine

"A hilarious and sexy romp that's also well-written."—The Advocate

"The new, sexy/hilarious Alaskan-themed novel Selfish & Perverse [is] one of our favorite books of the year."—Instinct Magazine

"Uproarious... It's like Northern Exposure with more jokes – and gays. Smith is a keen observer of human nature...from whip-smart prose to his rich characters to the enthralling detail of his settings, Smith makes all the right moves....Selfish & Perverse caught me hook, line and sinker."—Metrosource


Openly Bob

"Bob Smith is a real writer...a trusty and tart guide, and as you'd suspect, a master of the one-line observation..." -- Lambda Book Report

"Bob Smith is that rare phenomenon: a hilarious gentile." -- Paul Rudnick

"Emotionally powerful, obviously honest...a true heart and a very funny one as well." -- San Francisco Chronicle

"Hilarious." -- Entertainment Weekly.

"OPENLY BOB is a dazzlingly funny, semiautobiographical, hardcover one-man show." -- Paper


Comedian Bob Smith on The Late Late Show with Craig Kilborn.