Andy is a short-tempered drunk whose principle interests are playing snooker with his mate Chalkie White (whose wife, Rube, is Flo's best friend), betting on horses, his racing pigeons and trying to pick up women (in early stories, he was frequently portrayed as a wife-beater until this came to be seen as too politically incorrect; he remains, seemingly, a serial adulterer though). Paradoxically, he is also frequently depicted as a fiercely protective husband to Flo, who loves him deeply but often demonstrates this by hitting him with a rolling pin when he comes home drunk (which he does every night).
Andy is never seen without his cloth cap pulled down over his eyes, even in the bath, and always used to be depicted with a cigarette in his mouth until this too came to be seen as unacceptable some time in the 1980s. He and Flo are perpetually broke despite her working long hours as a cleaner (Andy does not work) and their attempts to avoid Percy the rent collector are often a focus of the strip. Other characters include Jackie the barman, the vicar and Flo's frequently heard but never seen mother, who Andy refers to as "Missus". Flo also has an older sister named Polly, though she hasn't been mentioned in years. The strip usually revolves around either the Capp household or the pub (other locations crop up occasionally, such as the Marriage Guidance office which the Capps have been visiting for some years) and characters such as Flo and Jackie frequently share their opinions of Andy directly with the readers. Since Smythe's death, the strip has continued under other creators including writer Roger Kettle and artist Roger Mahoney.
The IPC humour character Buster (star of the Buster comic) was originally billed as Buster, Son of Andy Capp (though the connection was soon dropped) and the Mirror later ran a strip called Mandy Capp, supposedly about Andy's niece (again, the connection was later dropped and the strip became simply Mandy).
The strip is syndicated internationally in more than 50 countries and a bronze statue of Andy has stood in Hartlepool since 2007, Andy being regarded as something of a local hero despite being hardly an ideal rôle model.