He is a world-renowned comedian, who rose to fame as a screenwriter for the 1980s sitcoms Blackadder and The Young Ones.
But Ben Elton has revealed he’s still getting nervous as he prepares to return to Friday Night Live for a one-off special to mark 40 years of Channel 4.
The 63-year-old admitted that despite his success, he still gets jitters as he prepares to perform as a compere for Friday’s stand-up show.
Butterflies: Ben Elton has revealed he’s still getting nervous as he prepares to return to Friday Night Live for a one-off special celebrating 40 years of Channel 4
Speak with the mirror, he confessed: “I think I know I can do it. But that doesn’t mean I’m not aware of the possibility of failure. I mean, I’ve never actually died on stage, but I’ve smelled a whiff of embalming fluid.’
Ben added that the ever-changing political landscape these days also means it’s a lot harder to come up with his usual political satire.
He said, “It’s kind of a moving target. I mean, in all the days I did it in the ’80s, I was never in a position where you had no idea what and who the government would be at the end of the week.
“In many ways, it’s a great week to do it, as everyone stands on the floor in amazement and horror. But it’s also a bad week to do it because the situation is discussed so extensively by literally everyone.’
Nervous: The 63-year-old admitted he still gets jitters despite his success as he prepares to perform as a compere for Friday’s stand-up show (pictured in October)
Hosted by Ben and launched in 1985, Friday Night Live was responsible for helping boost the popularity of a number of household names including Stephen Fry and Hugh Laurie.
Speaking about the return of the show, which was initially called Saturday Live before moving to its Friday night slot, Elton expressed joy that the show will be fully live again.
He said: ‘Those who know the show from years ago, I hope they know what to expect: great live entertainment, real cabaret, the way it used to be.
“I mean, I think that’s what’s missing from television right now. Everyone’s looking at stuff on their phones, pre-recorded, streamers, you know something within a week, and nothing is instant… But Saturday Live and Friday Night Live are pretty dangerous television.
Difficulties: Ben added that the ever-changing political landscape these days also means it’s a lot harder to come up with his usual political satire
“There’s no lag, everyone’s doing their act, there’s absolutely no editing, there’s no cut, there’s no intermission.
“The audience is either laughing or not, and you’re either right or wrong.”
The special will feature a selection of familiar faces made famous on the show, as well as new comedic talent currently on the track, including Harry Enfield, Jo Brand, Julian Clary, Rosie Jones and Mawaan Rizwan.
‘Woke’: It comes after Ben compared the modern wake movement to communist China, claiming that ‘there are things you can no longer say’
It comes after Ben compared the modern wake movement to communist China, claiming that “there are things you can no longer say.”
He contrasted past and present comedy – he said his generation was all about “breaking rules,” while the younger generation today is all about “making rules.”
Ben told Radio Times: ‘There’s a touch of Maoism in the air, a touch of cultural revolution.
“There’s a new way of thinking now – and you’re going to have to think it.
‘My wife recently came up with a good observation. She said our generation is all about breaking the rules and it seems the younger generation is all about making rules.
“These are things you can’t say anymore, these are things you should be saying now.”
Maoism was developed by Mao Tse Tung, also known as Chairman Mao, who was the founder of the People’s Republic of China, which he led as the head of the Chinese Communist Party from 1949 until his death in 1976.
Ben said a hallmark of acts in the 1980s was a movement against racist and sexist comedy, adding that they had a new way of thinking and trying to find new ways to be funny.
The comedian said he is proud of The Young Ones’ language and Blackadder is “still part of the culture.”
Friday Night Live will be shown on Channel 4 and All 4 on 21 October at 9pm as part of Channel 4’s Truth and Dare season.
Back in the day: Ben said a hallmark of acts in the 1980s was a movement against racist and sexist comedy, adding that they had a new mindset and trying to find new ways to be funny (pictured in September)
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