On the first day of school I remember asking another kid their name about five times.

I can still recall the increasing frustration in his four year old voice. I can still feel the panic when I realised I’d forgotten again - and I will always remember Mark, or Chris or James or whatever their name was. From that day on I have been disproportionately stressed about forgetting people’s names.

The point I’m trying to make is that small moments from childhood can affect your entire personality.

In my second year of Primary School I told a joke in front of the class and everyone laughed. It felt great. Maybe that’s why I’m a comedian now.

Ian Smith
Ian Smith


When I was first getting into comedy I would watch Phoenix Nights with my brother. We loved the outtakes on the DVD – the camaraderie and laughter made it look like the most fun job in the world. My ambition was not necessarily to be in a sitcom, but to ruin a scene in a sitcom repeatedly.

After my first Edinburgh Fringe run in 2010, performing in a compilation show in a basement, I was cast in a BBC2 sitcom after some producers came to the show. The sitcom was called Popatron. Was the sitcom good? Well, let’s just say in one scene I had to improvise with N-Dubz, and Dappy pretended to have a fake ear. I’ll let you decide for yourselves.

It remains one of the best experiences I’ve had and when I found myself repeatedly ruining a scene by laughing, it really hit home that I was doing the thing I watched on DVD.

Unfortunately, Popatron has never been released on DVD. Perhaps understandably so. Still, 13 years on, I’ve got my fingers crossed that a second series is just around the corner.

Comedian Ian Smith
Comedian Ian Smith


The northern lights are one of only a few things on my ‘bucket list’ – the other being to remember that kid’s name.

I went to Tromsø in Norway to see them, but also hoping this solo adventure would lead to some comedy anecdotes. Luckily for me, I crashed a husky sled with a fellow traveller in it as his two distressed children watched on. I got a good five minutes out of that.

Ever since that trip, I’ve tried to embellish my stand-up shows with some form of adventure: I’ve been to Chernobyl with my brother, seen glow worm caves in New Zealand, and for my latest show, went to Slovakia with my hairdresser and drove a tank over a car.

A big part of my comedy has become putting myself in unusual situations to overcompensate for a relatively boring life.

Ian Smith


About a year before this Edinburgh Fringe, my dentist told me I grind my teeth in my sleep and that I have to wear a mouthguard – and it’s due to stress.

The first night I put it in, I woke up with no mouthguard. My first thought, ‘Where has that gone!?’ I was 90% sure I’d swallowed it on the first go, which led to a panicked search around my bedroom until I found it discarded across the room. That’s how stressed out I am: in my sleep I will discard any apparatus designed to help my stress.

It was the starting point to writing a show about stress and embracing the fact that always being stressed is my defining comedic characteristic.

It has also led to me spending a stupid amount of money on toothpastes that claim to have some form of futuristic dental powers. Last week I bought some toothpaste on eBay for £60. I don’t have enough word count left to go into this, but I’m aware that is mad. I currently have another two toothpastes in my eBay watchlist. I’ve lost my mind. Anyway, feel free to DM me for toothpaste recommendations.

If you’d like to see a show about stress, love and driving a tank over a car in Slovakia with your hairdresser… come and see me on tour between January and April this year.

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