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Jeremy Hardy used his comedy to change the world

British comedy has lost one of its funniest performers and the British left one of its most stalwart supporters with the death of Jeremy Hardy at the age of just 57, writes PETER FROST

AMONG the many quick to pay tribute after Jeremy Hardy’s death was announced was Jeremy Corbyn. Hardy was a close friend and supporter of the Labour leader and performed at a rally, part of Corbyn’s 2016 election campaign. Over many years he shared various stages with Corbyn in support of many left wing and progressive causes.

The Labour Leader tweeted “Jeremy Hardy was a dear, lifelong friend. He always gave his all for everyone else and the campaigns for social justice. You made us all smile. You made us all think. Rest in peace, Jeremy.”

Born in Hampshire in 1961, Hardy began his career as a scriptwriter before turning to stand-up comedy in his early 20s. He soon rose to prominence on the London comedy scene, and won the Perrier comedy award at the Edinburgh fringe in 1988. In 1991 he was named as best live act at the ITV comedy awards.

Hardy’s became a familiar voice on radio where was a regular panellist on Radio 4’s I’m Sorry I Haven’t a Clue, the News Quiz and the Unbelievable Truth, as well as starring in the longstanding comedy lecture series Jeremy Hardy Speaks to the Nation.

On TV panel shows such as QI and If I Ruled the World he brought laughter as well as sound political sense and few will forget his part in Blackadder Goes Forth.

His huge scriptwriting output included Spitting Image and the sketch series Now – Something Else. Over the years he wrote sometimes hard hitting columns for the Guardian and the Evening Standard magazine.

A outspoken socialist, He was never shy of airing his left leaning views. In 2004 he was banned from performing by Burnley council after suggesting that members of the BNP “should be shot.”

TV presenter Richard Osman described Hardy as “naturally and brilliantly funny.” Osman summed him up perfectly: “I was very lucky to work with Jeremy Hardy early in my career,” he wrote on Twitter. “Every day was a masterclass, a privilege. He was so naturally and brilliantly funny, and a man who chose to use his comedy to change the world rather than to fill stadia.”

In a statement, his publicist said: “Friends and family of comedian Jeremy Hardy are immensely sad to announce that Jeremy died of cancer, early on Friday February 1.

“He was with his wife and daughter as he died. He retained to the end the principles that guided his life, trying to make the world more humane, and to be wonderfully funny. He will be enormously missed by so many, who were inspired by him and who laughed with him. A fitting memorial will take place, details to be announced soon.”

 

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