BEN ELTON says he won’t be wearing an Eddie Murphy-style leather suit when he returns to stand-up in Perth next year.
“I wear a dad polo shirt, dad jeans and dad RM boots. I believe in acting your age,” the North Fremantle resident told the Herald.
Earlier this year the 60-year-old took the brave decision to relaunch his stand-up career after a 13-year hiatus, embarking on a 77-date tour of the UK and booking an Australian tour in 2020.
The move raised eyebrows: Would a sexagenarian living in the most isolated capital city in the world still have the pulse of the streets, or would he come across as the guy who used to be funny and told gags about Margaret Thatcher?
The UK shows have been well received by critics who say Elton walks a tightrope between baffled dad and someone enjoying the ludicrous contradictions of modern life.
The Guardian gave his gig at the Nottingham Playhouse four out of five stars: “Elton’s open and inquisitive engagement with the thorniest corners of modern living is bracing to experience,” wrote critic Brian Logan.
When the Chook briefly caught up with Elton on Wednesday, he was about to play Norwich Theatre Royal, at the fag end of his British tour.
“I’m well but tired, 73 dates into a 77-date UK tour,” he said.
“All just a warm up for the Perth gig, of course.”
His tour was in full swing during the December 12 UK general election, which was completely dominated by Brexit, but Elton says he won’t be telling many leave or remain gags in Perth.
“I don’t do a lot of stuff about Brexit even here in the UK, you’ve no idea how bored and angry everybody is with it. Most of my gear is about being human so it’s universal, but of course I have stuff to say that is specific to Australia – I’m Australian after all!”
Elton last performed stand-up in Australia in 2006, but says he hasn’t been keeping tabs on his peers.
“I don’t look at other stand up much, it messes with the stuff I’m writing. I don’t think I’ve changed much, the material is all new but it’s the same old Ben.”
Ben Elton kicks off his Australian stand-up tour at the Perth Concert Hall on April 20.
by STEPHEN POLLOCK