Remembrance of a Bob Not Forgotten - Paul Bellini - MyGaytoronto
Remembrance of a Bob Not Forgotten 24 January 2018.
The last time I saw Bob Smith was at the Flying Beaver, in the fall of 2011. He was promoting the release of his new novel Remembrance Of Things I Forgot. It's an unusual book, a comedian's attempt to deal with his sister's suicide. I had much preferred Bob's first novel, Selfish and Perverse, about a comedy writer (like Bob) who had just been let go of a TV show (like Roseanne's Saturday Night Special, for which he once wrote) and who ends up having a romance in Alaska. It's a beautiful book. And it wasn't even his first book. Bob had previously published two memoirs, Openly Bob and Way To Go, Smith. The man's output was hilarious. What a talent.
By 2011, Bob had been dealing with ALS for about six years. He still looked okay, but he had mostly lost his ability to talk. He could grunt, but it took his buddy Eddie Sarfaty to translate. Eddie, a comedian and novelist, actually got on stage that night and performed Bob's famous routine. The jokes are great, but it just wasn't the same. That material needed Bob's mannered cadence. He was a wonder on stage with that JFK pompadour and those chiseled features.
Bob lived 12 years with his disease, outliving his life expectancy by at least nine years. He was a strong-willed man, one of the first out gay comedians and still one of the best. I was sad to hear of his passing. Only death could stop the man who wrote two novels while his body was falling apart.
Check out this clip, of his performance on Craig Kilborn's show back in the '90s (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Kv7xuIqLDV4) . Or read one of Bob's books, like his most recent Treehab. If you aren't familiar with Bob's work, he will delight you and you will be thrilled to find a new gay hero, albeit one who is no longer with us.