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Subject: British Comedy: The Ben Elton FAQ v1.71

This article was archived around: 21 May 2006 04:23:22 GMT

All FAQs in Directory: tv/british-comedy
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Archive-name: tv/british-comedy/Ben-Elton Posting-Frequency: monthly Version: 1.71 URL: http://www.audiophile.com/BritCom/Elton/Elton.html
--------------------------------------------------------------------------- The Ben Elton FAQ (v1.71) Created and updated by Andrew Wong (andrew@theyoungones.com) Last updated 6 June 1999 --------------------------------------------------------------------------- The definitive version of the Ben Elton FAQ can be found online at http://www.audiophile.com/BritCom/Elton/index.html Please dispose of previous versions, as they contain gross inaccuracies. Contents: 1. Who on earth is Ben Elton ? 2. Biography 3. So what's he been in? 1. Films 2. Video tapes available 3. Television 4. Record / Tape / CD 5. Books 6. Books on audio tape 7. Plays 8. Tours 4. Miscellaneous information 5. Things said in interviews 6. Quotes from Ben Elton's act... 7. Addresses of companies, agents etc. 8. Acknowledgements, and what else is out there --------------------------------------------------------------------------- Who on earth is Ben Elton ? =========================== Ben Elton is possibly one of the most successful comedic writers and stand-up comedians, with at least three highly successful TV series to his credit, as well as five novels, four plays - and between all this, he finds time to tour the UK once in a while. With his latest novel having been sold to Hollywood, he may well become one of the first "alternative" comedians of the 1980s to make it to Hollywood. --------------------------------------------------------------------------- Biography ========= Ben Elton was born on 3 May 1959, in Catford, South London to a distinguished academic family, whom had originally fled to England in 1938 to escape Hitler's anti-Semitism. Ben's father and uncle were professors at Surrey and Cambridge, and his grandfather was a reknown classical historian in Prague who lost his professorship when Hitler invaded. The youngest of four, he went to Godalming Grammar school, joined amateur dramatic societies and wrote his first play at 15. He wanted to be a stagehand at the local theatre, but instead did A-Level Theatre Studies and studied drama at Manchester University in 1977. Rik Mayall and Adrian Edmondson were in their final year doing the same degree when Ben arrived. After graduating in 1980, he started on his career as a stand-up comedian, and by early 1981 had joined Rik Mayall and Adrian Edmondson at the Comedy Store in London. He was paid 15 every time he performed his comedy routine, and soon became one of the regular comperes. Originally his stand-up performance was meant simply to showcase his own material, but from there he wrote and acted in television, and wrote novels, plays and now screenplays - while still maintaining his stand-up comedy performances. He currently lives in Notting Hill, West London with his wife Sophie Gare, whom he met in Australia while on tour. She plays the saxophone in an all-girl group The Boom Babies. He has cited influences as diverse as Morecambe and Wise, and Noel Coward, and is a strong supporter of the Labour Party. --------------------------------------------------------------------------- So what's he done? ================== Films ----- * Popcorn (1999 ?) Joel Schumacher (director of films such as Flatliners, Falling Down and Batman Forever) has announced plans to direct the movie version of Ben's novel Popcorn, and apparently will star Jeff Goldblum, Nathan Lane and Ellen Barkin. Reports conflict each other as to whether it will be adapted by Ben or not. * Much Ado About Nothing (1993) He features in Kenneth Branagh's film version of the Shakespeare play as Verges, Michael Keaton's sidekick. The film also stars Kenneth Branagh, Emma Thompson, Denzel Washington, Keanu Reeves and Richard Briers. The film is available at your local video rental store, and as a boxed set special edition. If you can't find it, try the British-based Internet Music and Video Shop at http://www.imvs.com/scripts/search/vhsvid_Search.ASP?Shop=81&Dept=3&N=Much+Ado+About+Nothing Video tapes available --------------------- * Ben Elton: Live 1997 This was filmed during his recent live tour around the UK. It should be available from the British-based Internet Music and Video shop at http://secure.musicshop.co.uk/scripts/iMS_ASP/Shop_B.ASP?Code=GO0499993&Shop=81&Dept=3 * Stark This is a TV film/mini-series adaptation of his novel STARK, which he also adapted, and stars as CD with Jacqueline McKenzie (from Romper Stomper) as Rachel. It was a co-prodction between the BBC and Australian Broadcasting Corporation, with Nadia Tass directing. It was released by BBC Video in the UK, and ABC Video in Australia. * Ben Elton Very Live 1993: Tour De Force This is a recording of a concert from his 1993 tour, filmed at the Leeds Grand Theatre in May 1993. You can *JUST* spot me somewhere in the audience, bottom left from the stage ;-) It should be available from the British-based Internet Music and Video shop at http://secure.musicshop.co.uk/scripts/iMS_ASP/Shop_B.ASP?Code=PO882043&Shop=81&Dept=3 * A Farties' Guide to the Man from Auntie This is a compilation of the best parts from the first series to THE MAN FROM AUNTIE, and includes the sketches on finding friendly terms for the female front bottom, capped for England, Reality Gap, Setting Up Home and others. It should be available from the British-based Internet Music and Video shop at http://secure.musicshop.co.uk/scripts/iMS_ASP/Shop_B.ASP?Code=GOBBCV5886&Shop=81&Dept=3 * The Very Best of Ben Elton Live: Volume One A tape of his act, recorded live at the London Astoria 10 years after starting up as a stand-up comedian. It includes the routines on YAPPY THE DOG, NOBS ON THE BEACH, TITS, TAMPONS, A LOAD OF BOLLARDS... It says on the video sleeve: "Immortalised on video for the first AND only time, this is Ben Elton at his raucous best." It should be available from the British-based Internet Music and Video shop at http://secure.musicshop.co.uk/scripts/iMS_ASP/Shop_B.ASP?Code=POVVD776&Shop=81&Dept=3 --------------------------------------------------------------------------- Television (all broadcast dates are UK unless otherwise stated) Sunday ALFRESCO, a Granada TV sketch comedy show that ran for two 10:30pm, series, featuring the talents of Stephen Fry, Hugh Laurie, Emma 1982 / 1983 Thompson, Robbie Coltrane and of course Ben Elton. He has said that he'd be embarassed if it was repeated, since it was such a long time ago... Unfortunately for him, you can occasionally catch it on Granada Plus... 1984 THE YOUNG ONES, the first UK "alternative-comedy" sitcom set around a group of students, co-written with Rik Mayall and Lise Meyer. Ben also popped up in cameo appearances in two of the 12 episodes. See the Young Ones FAQ for more information... 1985 HAPPY FAMILIES - A six-part series from Ben Elton, starring Jennifer Saunders and Adrian Edmondson. 1986 FILTHY, RICH AND CATFLAP - Ben wrote this six-part sitcom, assumed by the "media" to be the 'sequel' to The Young Ones. It starred Rik Mayall, Nigel Planer and Adrian Edmondson but was panned by the critics, and didn't succeed. Plans were made for a second series, but never came to fruition. 1987 BLACKADDER II - co-writer with Richard Curtis (Four Weddings and a Funeral, Mr. Bean), starring Rowan Atkinson (Mr. Bean) as Edmund Blackadder, loyal subject to Queen Elizabeth I (Miranda Richardson, also in The Crying Game). Highly recommended! 1987-88 SATURDAY LIVE / FRIDAY NIGHT LIVE - the host of a weekly comedy/variety show for "young people". Tapes are very hard to come by... 1988 BLACKADDER THE THIRD - co-written with Richard Curtis, with Rowan Atkinson as Edmund Blackadder, servant to the thick Prince Regent (Hugh Laurie). Ben had a cameo role as an anarchist trying to kill the Prince in one episode. 1988 / 1989 "LIVE FROM LONDON" HBO COMEDY HOUR SPECIAL - the host of a special comedy broadcast on the HBO Channel in the USA. 5 Mar 1989 THE SOUTH BANK SHOW - an ITV arts documentary series which turned its' spotlight onto Ben Elton for one edition, coinciding with the release of his first book Stark. 1989 Presented WOGAN (the UK's premiere chat show at the time), standing in for Terry Wogan for two weeks. 1990 BLACKADDER GOES FORTH - Again co-written with Richard Curtis, with Rowan Atkinson as Captain Blackadder trying to avoid going over the top and into the trenches - a bit difficult during World War One. 1990 THE MAN FROM AUNTIE - six-part stand-up comedy series with the odd sketch, mostly based on his live performances. Available on video. 1993 TONIGHT LIVE, an Australian chat show where he covered for the main host Steven Vizard for a week. Dec 1993 STARK - a TV film based on his novel. Ben wrote the screenplay, and starred as CD. Jan 1994 THE MAN FROM AUNTIE - a second series of his stand-up comedy and sketches, material mostly taken from his Very Live tour. It gained 7 million viewers. May 1994 MORECAMBE AND WISE TRIBUTE SHOW (?) This is mentioned in the superlative Morecambe & Wise biography, Behind The Sunshine. If anyone has a copy of this show, *please* let me know!! Nov 1994 HARRY ENFIELD & CHUMS - guest-starred in a sketch as Benny Elton, sending up his 'socialist right-on' image and Benny Hill, chasing page 3 models to chastise them. November THE THIN BLUE LINE - Wrote and produced this 7-part comedy 1995 series, set in a police station. Often reviewed as Elton's attempt at 'traditional' comedy, a la Dads' Army and its' ilk, but updated for the 1990s. The original press release is available for your consumption. March 1996 Presented some episdoes of THE NOSE AT TEN: THE BEST OF COMIC RELIEF (highlights from the Comic Relief telethons), and made frequent references to his short / lack of hair... Nov 1996 THE THIN BLUE LINE - A second series... February Presenter of THE BRIT AWARDS 1997, and caught dancing like a 24th 1997 sixth form geography teacher to the Bee Gees March 1997 Presenter of one segment of COMIC RELIEF Feb 1998 Came back to present THE BRIT AWARDS 1998. With more dancing. Mar 1998 Was grilled by a psychologist on FACE TO FACE, a late-night show. Apr 1998 THE BEN ELTON SHOW -- an eight-part TV series featuring his stand-up, but also making room for weekly appearances from veteran Ronnie Corbett and Australian "comedians" Roy & HG. Memorably sang (for all the wrong reasons) in the first show. He has also been a contributing writer for various comedy shows, including the Lenny Henry show. Record / Tape / CD ------------------ * Ben Elton - Live 1997 A recording of his 1997 tour, recorded again at the Leeds Grand Theatre. This is available from Amazon UK at: http://www.amazon.co.uk/exec/obidos/ASIN/0140867678/AUK1 * Ben Elton - The Man From Auntie 2 Again a compilation of parts from the second series of THE MAN FROM AUNTIE, available on CD or cassette from Amazon UK at: http://www.amazon.co.uk/exec/obidos/ASIN/056338820x/AUK1 * Ben Elton: Very Live 1993 This is a tape of his act from his recent tour and The Man From Auntie 2. It's on the Funny Business range from Spoken Word cassettes, the same people responsible for the Motormouth/Motorvation double pack. Priced at 7.99, this is also available from Amazon UK at http://www.amazon.co.uk/exec/obidos/ASIN/1858498244/AUK1 * Ben Elton - The Man From Auntie This is a compilation of parts from the first seris of THE MAN FROM AUNTIE, available on cassette (catalogue no. ZBBC 1638) or CD (catalogue no. ZBBC 1638 CD). You can purchase it direct from Amazon UK at http://www.amazon.co.uk/exec/obidos/ASIN/0563393467/AUK1 * The Big Red tape A promotional tape for Comic Relief, this features "Elton Ben and his Whirling Chopper". As yer do. * Ben Elton Live 1989 Another tape of his act, recorded in 1989 at London's Hammersmith Odeon, and incorporating parts of The Man From Auntie, and his two albums Motormouth and Motorvation. It's available from Amazon UK at http://www.amazon.co.uk/exec/obidos/ASIN/1897774117/AUK1 * Motormouth / Motorvation : The Best of Ben Elton Live This is a double cassette pack containing the original albums Motormouth and Motorvation, which were released seperately in 1987 and 1988. Buy it online from Amazon UK at http://www.amazon.co.uk/exec/obidos/ASIN/1858497000/AUK1 Amazon UK at http://www.amazon.co.uk/exec/obidos/redirect-home/AUK1 may well have other audio cassettes by Ben Elton in stock. Take a look, and help to support this FAQ... Books ----- * Batchelor Boys - The Young Ones Book This is a book spin-off of the infamous TV serial. Alas, this is unfortunately out of print. For more information, please refer to the Young Ones FAQ * Stark (1989) "Stark has more money than God and the social conscience of a dog on a croquet lawn. What's more, they know the Earth is dying. Deep in Western Australia, where the Aboriginals used to milk the trees, a planet-sized plot takes shape. Some green freaks pick up the scent. A Pommie poseur, a brain-fried Vietnam Vet, Aboriginals who lost their land ... not much against a conspiracy that controls society. But EcoAction isn't in society; it just lives in the same place, along with the cockroaches. If you're facing the richest and most disgusting conspiracy in history, you have to do more than stick up two fingers and say 'peace'." This was Ben Elton's first novel, and sold massively in Britain and Australia. It was reprinted 23 times in its' first year of publication, and sold over a million worldwide. Buy it online from Amazon UK in: Paperback: http://www.amazon.co.uk/exec/obidos/ASIN/0751501999/AUK1 Audio tape: http://www.amazon.co.uk/exec/obidos/ASIN/0563393580/AUK1 * Gasping (1990) Based on his successful West End play starring Hugh Laurie, this is the script of the play published in book format..... "Lockheart Industries are making senior money. If God wanted to buy into their stock, he'd have to think twice and talk to his people. They have a profit curve wound so far round the room it looks like a Blue Peter Christmas Appeal. But they're bored, they want more. New ideas, new products. That's when someone discovers Suck and Blow... The marketing phenomenon of the decade has arrived! Designer air! Perrier for the nostrils! But when the world starts gasping, only the biggest suckers survive..." The ISBN number is 0 7474 0889 0, and was published by Sphere Books. Buy it online from Amazon UK at http://www.amazon.co.uk/exec/obidos/ASIN/0573017735/AUK1 * Gridlock (1991) From the sleeve notes... "Gridlock is when a city dies. Killed in the name of freedom. Killed in the name of oil and steel. Choked on carbon monoxide and strangled with a pair of fluffy dice. How did it come to this ? How did the ultimate freedom machine end up paralysing us all ? How did we end up driving to our own funeral, in somebody else's gravy train ? Deborah and Geoffrey know, but they have transport problems of their own, and anyway, whoever it was that murdered the city can just as easily murder them." The ISBN number is 0751510114, and is published by Warner Books. Buy it online from Amazon UK in: Hardback: http://www.amazon.co.uk/exec/obidos/ASIN/0356197026/AUK1 Paperback: http://www.amazon.co.uk/exec/obidos/ASIN/0751510114/AUK1 Audio book: http://www.amazon.co.uk/exec/obidos/ASIN/0001046888/AUK1 * Silly Cow (1993) Based on his successful West End play starring Dawn French, this is the script of the play published in book format..... "Doris Wallis, queen of the tabloid press, is, in her own words, 'a nasty cow who slaughters sacred cows'. Bitchy, brassy, and bolshie, she writes a venomous TV column that specializes in slagging off celebrities. She's so poisionous that - as she tells her mousey secretary Peggy - 'Bogeyman get scared imagining me under their beds'. Her bitchiness is her career - and her career is on the up. On the verge of a glorious venture into TV, she's not going to let anything get in her way - not even the 'silly fat talentless old cow' who is currently suing her for libel. And any skeletons she may have in her cupboard are (like her bondage gear) firmly locked up. Or so she thinks....." The ISBN number is 0751501905. Buy it online from Amazon UK at: http://www.amazon.co.uk/exec/obidos/ASIN/0573018758/AUK1 * This Other Eden (1993) "Small, well appointed future. Semi detached. If the end of the world is nigh, then surely it's only sensible to make alternative arrangements. Certainly the Earth has its points, but what most people need is something smaller and more manageable. Of course there are those who say that's planetary treason, but who cares what the weirdos and terrorists think? Not Nathan. All he cares is that his movie gets made and that there's somebody left to see it. In marketing terms the end of the world will be very big. Anyone trying to save it should remember that." The ISBN number is 0671851802, and is published by Simon and Schuster. You can buy it online from Amazon UK at http://www.amazon.co.uk/exec/obidos/ASIN/0671851802/AUK1 * Popcorn (1996) Ben Elton's latest book deals with media violence and its' effects on the audience. Death imitates art Bruce Delamitri makes movies about killers. Great movies, stylish movies. Not the usual low rent,low brow, slash, shoot and screw garbage that recoups its' budget with a blood and boobs video sleeve. Bruce's movies are hip. Post-modern cinematic milestones, dripping with ironic juxtaposition. His killers are style icons. They walk cool, they talk cool. Getting shot by one of them would be a fashion statement. Wayne and Scout actually are killers. Real ones. Low rent, low brow, morality-free zones. Appalling, sad, unbalanced maniacs who kill people they do not know. One night, one Oscar-winning night, when Bruce has the world at his feet, Wayne and Scout hijack his life. They have decided that it is time Bruce faced up to his responsibilities. Fact confronts fiction in the heart of Beverley Hills and a terrible siege begins. Bruce thought his oscar-winning movie was a drama: it was a documentary. Popcorn is a taut and darkly funny page-turner of a novel. In a society addicted to murder, is there such a thing as a responsible person? The book has won praise from the likes of Mary Whitehouse for his attack on sex and violence in the movies. Ben Elton has said "I don't think balanced people can be driven to be any different from what they are ... The suggestion is that those who are open to anti-social behaviour may be seduced into believing it is the norm ... I feel slightly exposed here because I am putting a point I don't entirely believe." (The Daily Telegraph, July 29th 1996) Bringing new meaning to 'synergy', the same work is available in hardback, paperback, as an audio book, as a stage play, and perhaps as a Hollywood film. The book has also been translated into other languages, including Italian courtesy of Longanesi Publishers, who have put this Web site on the back cover of the book! You can buy this book from a variety of formats and places including: Amazon US: Paperback: http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/ASIN/0312194722/britishcomedylibA Hardback: http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/ASIN/0312169655/britishcomedylibA Amazon UK: Paperback: http://www.amazon.co.uk/exec/obidos/ASIN/0671855670/AUK1 Hardback: http://www.amazon.co.uk/exec/obidos/ASIN/0684816121/AUK1 Audio book: http://www.amazon.co.uk/exec/obidos/ASIN/0671856553/AUK1 * Blast From The Past (1998) "It's 12.15 a.m. and the phone wakes you. Only someone bad would ring you at such an hour, or someone with bad news, which would probably be worse. You hear the answer-machine kick in and feel your heart beat. You listen. And then you hear the voice you least expect - a blast from the past." Jack Kent is a U.S. general stationed at Greenham Common (1980s British home for American nuclear weapons during the 1980s), who had an affair with Polly Sacred Cycle of the Womb and Moon, a seventeen-year-old peace protester at the infamous Greenham Common womens' camps outside the base. Now a lonely thirty-something woman with an obsessed stalker outside her home, Polly Slade is startled to receive a phone call from Jack... Just what does he want?" Published by Bantam and priced at 15.99, Ben is again living up to his synergy credentials, as Blast From The Past has also been adapted as a stage play... The book is available from Amazon UK at: http://www.amazon.co.uk/exec/obidos/ASIN/0593044142/AUK1 * Ben Elton Plays 1: Gasping / Silly cow / Popcorn (1998) This is a collection of the scripts for Ben Elton's plays Gasping, Silly Cow and Popcorn. Excellent value for money (unless like me you've already got them -- swines!) and available from Amazon UK at http://www.amazon.co.uk/exec/obidos/ASIN/0413736709/AUK1 Amazon UK will have other works by Ben Elton, including the Blackadder series - so why not take a look at http://www.amazon.co.uk/exec/obidos/redirect-home/AUK1 Books on audio tape (abridged) ------------------------------ * Stark Read by Adrian Edmondson. It's also from HarperCollins Audio Books, the ISBN no. is 00 01 04690X. Buy it online from Amazon UK at: http://www.amazon.co.uk/exec/obidos/ASIN/000104690X/AUK1 * Gridlock Again voiced by Adrian Edmondson, it was released by HarperCollins Audio Books. The ISBN code is 0001046888, catalogue no. HCA 141. Buy it online from Amazon UK at http://www.amazon.co.uk/exec/obidos/ASIN/0001046888/AUK1 * This Other Eden Read by Ben Elton himself, this version is available through Simon and Schuster audio. Buy it online from Amazon UK at http://www.amazon.co.uk/exec/obidos/ASIN/0671697633/AUK1 * Popcorn This version is read by John Sessions, and is available from Amazon UK at http://www.amazon.co.uk/exec/obidos/ASIN/0671856553/AUK1 The Pure Fiction Web site at http://www.purefiction.co.uk may have a Real Audio sample of the Popcorn tape... Plays ----- Permission to perform these plays should be sought from McIntyre Management * Gasping This was first performed at the Theatre Royal Haymarket, London on 1st July 1990. It starred Hugh Laurie as Philip, and Bernard Hill as Sir Chiffley Lockheart, with the voice of Stephen Fry. Directed by Bob Spiers, it was designed by Terry Parsons and produced by Philip McIntyre. The play has since been to Northampton in the United Kingdom, Cologne in Germany and Sydney in Australia. An eyewitness at the premiere says she saw Rik Mayall, Stephen Fry, Lenny Henry, and Dawn French there, and also a leather-jacketed Ben Elton chewing on his fingernails... * Silly Cow This was first performed at the Theatre Royal Haymarket, London on 20 February 1991, and starred Dawn French as Doris. * Popcorn Based on his novel, Popcorn, it has been performed at three theatres across the United Kingdom in Leeds, Nottingham and London and has already been exported to Belgium, having won the 1998 Laurence Olivier Award for Best New Comedy. Having played at The Apollo Theatre, Shaftesbury Avenue, London for over a year, it's set to go on tour with Emma Noble. It will also be performed by the De Komeet theatre company in Belgium from 4 Septemer 1998 to 3 October at the Fakkel Theater in Antwerp. * Blast From The Past Based on his novel of the same name, it received its' premiere at the West Yorkshire Playhouse in Leeds, and will eventually be making its' way to London. Tours ----- * 1987 Rik Mayall and Ben Elton performed a series of stand-up shows in Perth, Western Australia. According to Des Shaw, Managing Director of Triple M (a local FM radio station) the shows were at what used to be called Club 242 at the Leederville Hotel in West Perth. During this period, Rik and Ben also did a one-off evening radio slot at 96FM, during which they played Living Doll, and did some "larking around" live in the studio. He also met Sophie there, who was then a member of the support band The Jam Tarts. * March to June 1993, October to December 1993 He toured the UK, performing a total of 112 dates with an audience of around 200,000. Following this, he took the tour around Australia and New Zealand. This then formed the basis of his second Man From Auntie television show. * November 1996 to March 1997 Ben embarked on another nationwide tour with new stand-up material, touching on such subjects as weddings, sperm tests and clothes shopping. He later took this tour to Australia, and is now being used as the basis of his television series The Ben Elton Show. --------------------------------------------------------------------------- Miscellaneous information * On the South Bank Show, he said he didn't envisage seeing STARK as a television show. He also once said on Going Live that he hoped to see his novels published in recycled paper for environmental reasons. STARK the TV-film has been released on video, and of the five books I have read, none of them were on recycled paper :-) * It took him 10 weeks to write STARK the book, 10 months to write STARK the script, and two years to get TV producers interested in the whole idea... * On Australian radio, he said he would like to do a film version of GRIDLOCK, but the producers would have to find a good spastic actor to play Geoffrey. * Fancy buying a line of "Benelton" clothing? Pop along to Turkey where brand name pirates are marketing clothing under the name "United Colors of Benelton". Addresses of companies, agents etc. ----------------------------------- And before anyone asks, let me reiterate that I do not possess Ben Elton's Email address, phone number, leg size measurement or anything else personal. If you wish to write to Ben Elton or put on one of his plays, you must seek permission from his agent below: His agent : Jane McIntyre Stand Up Ltd., Phil McIntyre Management Tel: 0171 439 2270 His publishers: Simon and Schuster West Garden Place Kendal Street LONDON W2 2AQ United Kingdom --------------------------------------------------------------------------- Things said in interviews Work * "Most of my work isn't directly autobiographical. It tends to be an amalgam of things I've seen and heard and thought and conversations I've had." - X-Press - an Australian newspaper * "Most of my stand-up comedy is about being a small, scared, neurotic individual among the billions of other small, scared, neurotic individuals that make up the mass which is us. I always think the first target of a stand-up comic should be themselves - we all share our weaknesses and it's fun to use them as a source of comedy." - Australian Sunday Times, July 31 1994 * "Prevarication is the absolute essence of any endeavour, but it's not just writing novels, it could be the situation of paying a gas bill. People will basically do anything to avoid doing the thing that they're supposed to be doing..." - X-Press * "I'm less nervous now than I used to be (about stand-up). It's still quite tense, you have to approach it with quite an amount of intellectual commitment because you've got two hours of material to get across and that's a long argument to be having one-sidedly."- X-Press * "You can't discuss what 'they' (the critics) call you... It's hurtful, but it's all part of the game, innit?" - Radio Times * "... even if it sounds pretentious, which it isn't - I've found it artistically challenging to produce a monologue that is filled with laughter and ideas. It's a tough thing to pull off, but satire is better if it has conviction behind it." - Radio Times, December 1993 * "I try hard not to preach, but I get carried away, which is a mistake, but it's a risk worth running. When the act works, it's not remotely `preachy'." - Radio Times, December 1993 * "Yes, OK, farty is a silly word. I wish I'd never used it. I'm 34. Perhaps it was a word for my 20s." - Radio Times, December 1993 * "I don't know about the super-highways - it's a load of techno-wank, frankly..." - X-Press Politics * "We've all got to look at ourselves, start with yourself, that's all you can do. I believe that we can act responsibly as a group, it's just that there are vested interests telling us not to bother." - X-Press Marriage * "She has very kindly done me the happiness of saying she will marry me... I owe my future married happiness to trade union legislation. In 1986, when Rik Mayall and I toured Australia, we had to have a support act of two Aussies for every one Brit, so they booked an all-girl band called The Jam Tarts, which she was in." - Radio Times, December 1993 Stark * "So Ocker and Sly (from STARK) are not Bond and Packer or anything like that. They are ... not them just as I'm not CD, everything is a kind of fiction developed out of the things around me." - X-Press * "I'm not writing the novels to be a preacher, but I obviously feel, as everybody does strongly about environmental issues. But I'm not a zealot. I don't think we should all have to wear hessian underwear and knit our yoghurt." - X-Press * "My advice to anyone adapting a novel, is that once they've read it, and learnt to understand it, then they must throw it away and never look at it again!" - from the TV Times * "At first, I tried to adapt it in a slavish way, but then realised I had to discard it, to kill the thing I love. I'm easy to work with, not a pushover, but I respond to criticism and find it inspiring. In fact, the mini-series has a better ending than the book." - Radio Times, Dec 1993 Much Ado About Nothing * "It's no secret that I wasn't first choice for the part, but I was just happy to be asked..." - Australian Sunday Times, 31 July 1994 Acting * "Working with Kenneth (Branagh) was good for my acting, as was working with Nadia Tass on STARK, but they both had one directing tip for me. They both told me to stop trying to act as I do tend to mug." - Australian Sunday Times --------------------------------------------------------------------------- Quotes from Ben Elton's act... * "Double seat, double seat, gotta get a double seat....." * "We have to stand on top of the fridge ... and jump on the b**ard!!" - (The Man From Auntie 1) * "Hey, look, it was only a sausage..." * "Hey guys, let's cut all the crap and get a communal sausage." * "Lovely plastic shiny seats, shaped like ski slopes.. Burp once, whallop! You're under the table.." - (Motormouth) * " .. 'It depends on what you're offering, Gloria'.. Yes, Tom, bit of a rape innuendo, but who cares, it's only British comedy innit eh?" - (Motormouth) * "I was just strolling out of the pavillions to bat, when would you believe it, my period starts." * "As night follows day, if you drink lager... you will end up on Kentucky Fried Chicken." - VERY LIVE * "Ben Elton says 'They park a Ford Cortina up your fanny !'" - VERY LIVE * "Sometimes, I don't wonder if we (British) actually prefer things a bit crap...." - VERY LIVE * "If we men had periods, we wouldn't have discreet tampon boxes, would we? No... we'd have boxes with MY F**KING TAMPONS printed on the outside !" - VERY LIVE * "Get some napkins ... get lots..." - VERY LIVE * "Oh no, it's gone floppy!" - The Man From Auntie * "Ben, Get some bog paper, get lots." - The Man From Auntie * "Who invented those bits of magnetic plastic fruit? What a bastard hey." - The Man From Auntie * "Bring the teapot, I've gotta buff this muff!" - The Man From Auntie * "Her sheets must have been so soggy, Mrs Thatcher could have privatised them." - The Man From Auntie * "These napkins have the absorbent qualities of an Armoured car." - The Man From Auntie * "They can get a bomb through a window in baghdad, you're not telling me they can't get the tea from the teapot into the mug." - The Man From Auntie * "You're thinking, There was never that much in the pot." - The Man From Auntie * "I'd like a pot of tea please, and some Savlon, and a Bandaid." - The Man From Auntie * "...No, you have to get your own Rectinol." - The Man From Auntie Any other ideas? --------------------------------------------------------------------------- Acknowledgements, and what else is out there Many thanks for their help go to Staci, Greg O'Beirne, Roderick Bergbie, Dave Chapman, Pete Illingworth, Robin Kenny, James Lynn, Alexander Lum, Alan Pipes, Gareth Randall, Annie Sattler, Jake Selwood, Andrew Skudder, David Smith, Niki Walton, Lee Whiteside, Garry Wilson and Penelope Wythes, as well as anyone else I've forgotten for contributing to this FAQ. So what else is out there? * Also available within the British Comedy Library are rare exclusive interviews from Ben Elton, a press release, as well as the Young Ones FAQ, the Adrian Edmondson FAQ or the Rik Mayall FAQ. The British Comedy Library is located at http://start.at/britcomlib * Adam Eccles has carefully transcribed some of Ben's best comedic stand-up bits for your viewing, if utterly illegal (copyright and all that!) pleasure. Find those at http://www.aeccles.demon.co.uk After some of Ben's stuff? * If you're seeking some of Ben's books and tapes, might I recommend Amazon UK. They accept credit cards and will send to anywhere in the world. Also, by buying from them you'll help to support this FAQ. Try them at http://www.amazon.co.uk/exec/obidos/redirect-home/AUK1 * For videos and CDs delivered to your door, you can't do much better than the British-based Internet Music and Video Shop at: http://www.imvs.com/scripts/iMS_ASP/NewGeneralSearch2.ASP?Type=KeyWord&d=2&A=Ben+Elton&Shop=81&Dept=3 * If you're after something else, then please contact me for more details. I can accept American currency... You can throw your comments, brickbats, additions and bouquets via E-mail to andrew@theyoungones.com, or take a look at AWTV - my home page, at http://www.cyberjunkie.com/andreww Ben Elton can be contacted via his agents, Stand Up Ltd. and Phil McIntyre Management on +44 171 439 2270 Finally, this FAQ is postcard-ware i.e. if you really liked it then I would appreciate a postcard from you! The address is: 161B Upper Tooting Road, Tooting, London SW17 7TJ, United Kingdom My name is Andrew Wong, thank you and goodnight! (well, what else did you expect me to end with ?!) --------------------------------------------------------------------------- While all attempts have been made to verify information contained here where possible, I cannot take responsibility for any factual errors. All errors will be corrected when possible. Copyright Andrew Wong E-mail: andrew@theyoungones.com