On Losing Bob Smith
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Published in: May-June 2018 issue.


I  HAVEN’T SHED a single tear since my friend Bob Smith died. Bob, who broke ground as the first openly gay comedian to appear on The Tonight Show, passed away on January 20th after a long battle with ALS. Like the hilarity and honesty that permeated his writing, his refusal to live in the closet during the height of the AIDS crisis inspired countless people and literally saved lives.

            Bob was my pal, my mentor, and my cheering section. We performed together hundreds of times, were roommates, and even dated for a not-so-hot second. In him, I was lottery-win lucky to find the perfect creative collaborator. (Someone almost as difficult to find as the person to fall in love with.)

            I’ll miss him terribly—I’m sure in ways I’m not expecting. Since losing him, I’ve been prepared for—have maybe even been looking forward to—a crushing but cathartic sadness that would initially immobilize but ultimately heal me. But no, I feel surprisingly okay. My husband Court, worried that I’ve been suppressing my feelings, asked me a few days after Bob’s death if I’d cried yet. Without thinking I said, “I’ve been crying for ten years.”

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Eddie Sarfaty, a comedian and writer based in New York City, is the author of Mental: Funny in the Head. He and Bob Smith were members of the stand-up troupe Funny Gay Males.


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