Libraries, Things to do  |  9 Jul 2024

After a diagnosis of multiple sclerosis (MS), Christchurch born Sam Smith had a drastic career change from dentist to comedy writer, and now author.

Sam studied dentistry in Dunedin, graduating in 2009, while writing and performing standup comedy on the side.

Fast-forward five years into practicing at a dental clinic, and Sam developed a partial vision loss and was later diagnosed with MS.

His diagnosis meant he could no longer work in the industry, which called for a quick pivot to pursuing comedy full time.

“I know it’s not the case for everyone but in a way, MS was the best thing that happened to me,” Sam says.

Miles and Jones the Anaconda Attack, by Sam Smith

He has made waves within the comedy realm, writing for some of Aotearoa’s most popular comedy shows including 7 Days, Taskmaster NZ, and Wellington Paranormal. He sings, acts, plays music, and was a contestant on The Traitors NZ.

And he has just published his third book.

“I find it difficult to read with my eyesight, but still wanted to read my kids bedtime stories. So, for my son’s third birthday I wrote him a poem and thought I’d read it aloud before bed,” Sam says.

“I ended up sending it through to my mum who’s a librarian, to see if she had any notes, and she liked it so much she sent it on to her literary agent.”

After that, it all fell into place. A book was pitched to publishers Hachette, and in 2022 Sam became a published author with his first book Snake Brought Cake.

 “This really is a homecoming for me, putting my hobbies, skills and experiences all in one,” Sam says.

Sam published his second book Don’t scare The Dentist in February 2024, and has just published his third, Miles and Jones The Anaconda Attack.

“The aim is to continue down this career path. I love writing, putting stories down on paper and making them funny.

“I try to think what I would like if I were still a kid and make my words comedic while trying to connect with them.”

Join Sam at Tūranga this weekend for a storytelling journey of Don’t Scare the Dentist, and the first reading of recently published Miles and Jones The Anaconda Attack.

Find out more about Sam’s work here.