Bob Smith is widely regarded as the first openly gay comedian to perform on “The Tonight Show,” and went on to write fiction and nonfiction books full of heart and humor. His talent and heart are greatly missed.
Mr. Smith’s humor was gentle but smart, even when navigating the subject of his sexuality during a time when mainstream audiences were not accustomed to hearing such material.
“I think what I bring to stand-up comedy,” he said in “We’re Funny That Way,” a 1998 documentary, “is a point of view of a gay man that isn’t the victim, isn’t the butt of the joke; I’m making the joke.”
He told one of his favorites on “The Late Late Show With Craig Kilborn” in 2000.
“I come from a very conservative family,” he said, “and it wasn’t easy telling my parents that I’m gay. I made my carefully worded announcement at Thanksgiving. I said, ‘Mom, would you please pass the gravy to a homosexual?’ She passed it to my father.”