A shining light has gone out in the comedy world. The brilliant British comedian and writer Mel Smith has died. I first saw him on TV on Not The Nine O’clock News with Rowan Atkinson, Pamela Stephenson and Griff Rhys Jones. I loved Mel Smith’s rubbery comical face and dead-pan interviewing style. When I lived in London I saw him in a play called The Gambler and I chatted to him afterwards. He was gracious and funny and we talked about how much Australians love to gamble. Mel Smith was a gentleman with a dazzling wit, a naturally funny goof who made millions laugh, mentored young comics and wrote some of the sharpest gags I’ve ever had the pleasure to enjoy. Thank you Mel Smith for sharing your sparkle and your wit with the world, you inspired me to try to be funny. Hope you’re having a laugh, a flutter on the gee gees and a pint wherever you are.