Arthur Smith was born in South London in 1954. He studied at the University of East Anglia in the classes of writer Malcolm Bradbury. He started on the alternative comedy circuit in the 1980s, specialising in being a compere (MC). He has been a regular performer at the Edinburgh festival. He is also an accomplished playwright whose plays include An Evening with Gary Lineker (1994), My Summer with Des (1998), The Bed Show and his one-show Arthur Smith Sings Leonard Cohen.