Comedy stars have paid tribute to “off the register funny” and “endlessly kind” Jeremy Hardy following his death, aged 57, after suffering from cancer.
The stand-up comic was known for his appearances on Mock The Week and Radio 4 shows The News Quiz and I’m Sorry I Haven’t A Clue.
Rory Bremner, Jack Dee, Rebecca Front and Alan Davies spoke of the influence Hardy had on their lives.
He was also remembered for his campaigns for social justice.
Hardy’s publicist said that he “retained to the end the principles that guided his life; trying to make the world more humane, and to be wonderfully funny”.
Impressionist Bremner said he was “sad beyond measure”.
“Unfussy, unshowy, principled, self-deprecating, hugely loved and admired by his fellow comedians, and funnier than the lot of us put together. A unique comedian and a lovely man,” he wrote on Twitter.
Pointless star Richard Osman said of working with Hardy: “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. A very sad day. #RIPJeremy”
Dee wrote: “Jeremy Hardy was ground-breakingly brilliant, off the register funny, compassionate and caring. So privileged to have counted him as a dear friend.”
Davies told fans: “My best Jeremy Hardy line, his response to being told we are all responsible for the ozone layer AND global warming: ‘I may have a couple of squirts under my arms but I’m not Runcorn chemical plant am I?’”
Front said that Hardy’s death “has floored me”, and added: “Heartbreaking news. I was almost always paired with Jeremy on The News Quiz and he was endlessly kind, supportive, generous and of course funny. Ridiculously funny. God, we’ll miss him and now of all times we needed him.”
Dave Gorman said Hardy’s show was the first “live comedy I saw. It blew me away. I doubt I’d be doing what I am now if I hadn’t been there then. Thank you Jeremy Hardy. We’ve lost an absolute gent”.
Singer-songwriter Billy Bragg wrote: “Very sorry to hear that Jeremy Hardy has passed away. He was a stalwart at Left Wing benefit gigs and will be greatly missed by friends and fans. My thoughts are with his family.”
Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn wrote: “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.”
Hardy’s TV work included Now Something Else, Blackadder Goes Forth and Loose Talk.
He also wrote books while his films included Hotel (2001) and How To Be (2008).
Sioned Wiliam, BBC Radio 4’s commissioning editor for comedy, said: “Jeremy Hardy was quite simply brilliant. Passionate, highly articulate, and above all very, very funny.
“Whether he was demolishing politicians on The News Quiz, the idiocies of modern life on Jeremy Hardy Speaks To The Nation, or any tune he was required to sing on I’m Sorry I Haven’t A Clue, he was always at the top of his game. He was one of our family and will be deeply missed by us all.”
Julia McKenzie, head of radio comedy, BBC Studios, said she was “devastated” to hear the news and said: “He was a fiercely funny, deeply principled man” who was “explosively hilarious”.
She said: “I will remember him as someone who could convulse an audience with laughter at a comic image whilst at the same time making a point of substance that reverberated on a much deeper level and spoke to his principles and unflinching concern for the less fortunate. My thoughts are with his family and his many close friends at this incredibly sad time.”
Hardy’s publicist Amanda Emery said in a statement: “Friends and family of comedian Jeremy Hardy are immensely sad to announce that Jeremy died of cancer, early on Friday 1st February.
“He was with his wife and daughter as he died.”
She added: “He will be enormously missed by so many, who were inspired by him and who laughed with him.”
A memorial will be held in Hardy’s honour.