You ask the questions (Such as: Arthur Smith, have you ever considered a facelift?)

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Comedian, playwright and broadcaster Arthur Smith, 45, was born in Bermondsey, south London, the son of a policeman. He was head boy at his grammar school and studied with Malcolm Bradbury at the University of East Anglia, before becoming a fixture on London's alternative comedy circuit in the early Eighties. Smith's plays include Live Bed Show, Trench Kiss and An Evening with Gary Lineker. His name is also synonymous with the Edinburgh Festival Fringe where, as well as performing his one-man shows, he has become infamous for conducting alcohol- fuelled "tours" around the city at night. Smith currently presents Excess Baggage on Radio 4 every Saturday and is a regular contributor to Radio 4's Loose Ends. He lives alone in Balham.

Comedian, playwright and broadcaster Arthur Smith, 45, was born in Bermondsey, south London, the son of a policeman. He was head boy at his grammar school and studied with Malcolm Bradbury at the University of East Anglia, before becoming a fixture on London's alternative comedy circuit in the early Eighties. Smith's plays include Live Bed Show, Trench Kiss and An Evening with Gary Lineker. His name is also synonymous with the Edinburgh Festival Fringe where, as well as performing his one-man shows, he has become infamous for conducting alcohol- fuelled "tours" around the city at night. Smith currently presents Excess Baggage on Radio 4 every Saturday and is a regular contributor to Radio 4's Loose Ends. He lives alone in Balham.

Do you still hang out in the same greasy spoon in Balham, gateway to the South? Julian Ciepluch, London

Yes I do. Although occasionally, when I'm feeling continental, I have a croissant and cappuccino in the Italian place next door. Balham's very continental these days; with its broad boulevards and pulsating nightlife, it's a cross between Paris and Rio de Janeiro.

What's your favourite (printable) joke? Morris, by e-mail

A man goes to the doctor and says: "Doctor I can't say my Ts, Hs or Fs". And the doctor says: "You can't say fairer than that, then."

Will you be doing your notorious late-night guided tours of Edinburgh at this year's festival? Simon Harper, Brighton

I will be doing it on the night of 26 August, so any Independent readers who wish to be in it should report to me in the Pleasance Courtyard at 2am. A couple of years ago I offered money to any man who would take their clothes off and sing "Flower of Scotland". I was heckled by a woman who accused me of being sexist, so I said, "Fine, I'll pay you to take your clothes off." So she did and then immediately fell into an argument with her boyfriend. They could be heard splitting up very loudly in the street later. I do like to bring a bit of happiness to my audience.

Do you think that so called "gag hags" really exist? And if so, did you ever succumb to any? Martha Ropers, Watford

Women do seem to find funny men attractive. When I started on the comedy circuit I probably slept with about nine or 10 a night, most nights.

You have your own cricket team. Does it have a name, and how good is it? S Myers, by e-mail

We're called the Dusty Fleming International Hairstylists' Eleven. We haven't won a game for nearly three years. No one else can be arsed to organise it, so I'm captain and chief sledger. We play with a Gandhi mentality - it's not taking part that counts, it's the losing.

Were you the class clown? T Wakeman, London

Yes, and because of that I managed to work out a very favourable deal with the milk monitor. But I don't believe in being funny all the time like, say, Robin Williams - you just want to tell him to shut up.

Who's the finest stand-up of your generation? And who is the funniest man, or woman, of all time? P Hall, Cardiff

I think the finest stand-up of my generation is Bobby Davro. The funniest person of all time was either Coleridge or Oscar Wilde.

Have you ever considered a facelift? Millie Leonard, by e-mail

I've had two facelifts, but my lawyer tells me I'm not allowed to comment any further. I'd quite like to have breast implants.

Could you describe a typical night out on the town with Arthur Smith? Sally Beart, Leicester

I like to see an organ recital in the evening and then go home early for a glass of skimmed milk. It doesn't always turn out like that, although I never really know until it's happening. I think it's something to do with not wanting to go to bed, because I believe mornings are for sleeping.

Will you write any more plays? Phil Clayton, Manchester

I hope so. I have several half-written ones in the back of my mind. But it's a lot harder than stand-up - a very solitary pastime.

Would you agree that Edinburgh is now simply a trade fair, and that there's very little real fringe comedy or theatre in the old sense of the world? Carolyn Eatough, Cheshire

To say there's no theatre in the old sense of the word is a bit ridiculous. There's no doubt Edinburgh is much more commercial than it used to be, but there is still plenty of interesting artistic endeavour - I see Nicholas Parsons is doing a show this year.

You're clearly a romantic figure. Why have you never married? Larry Burstein, Bristol

I don't know if I necessarily buy the relationship between romance and marriage. Sometimes marriage is the death of romance; I'm suspicious of the whole institution.

Are you happy with the way your career has gone? B Broughton, London

I would rather be a quantity surveyor. I don't know what they do, but it sounds like a proper job.

* Interview by Lena Corner

* 'Arthur Smith Sings Leonard Cohen' is at the Pleasance, Edinburgh (0131-556 6556), 16-27 August

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