From Friday Night Live to Blackadder, Ben Elton has watched with pride as his work has become a part of British popular culture over the past three decades.
Elton coined the line in The Young Ones, where committed fans can probably still hear it being uttered by the late, great Rik Mayall.
Like Johnny Marr banning Cameron from listening to The Smiths when the then Tory PM claimed to be a fan, Ben was less than impressed when he heard Johnson had nicked it.
He said: “Boris Johnson, when he called Cameron a ‘girly swot’, was quoting The Young Ones. I should hang my head in shame to put words in that mendacious a***hole’s mouth.”
He joked: “I can’t believe that he’s quoting me – it’s the only thing I like about him.”
With the world on fire, politics turned upside-down and controversial egos in charge of nuclear buttons, it’s no wonder Elton is returning to stand-up comedy.
Known for his rapid-fire delivery and sharply intellectual satire, Elton became famous for savaging Thatcher’s Tories in the 80s.
Next month, the acclaimed comic and TV star is back in Scotland after a 15-year gap concentrating on writing books, sitcoms and films and raising his three children in the western Australian sunshine.
But with his kids now grown and a socio-political landscape aching for the kind of commentary that made his name, he’s ready
to add his motormouth to the issues.
He said: “The nest was empty so we thought, ‘Let’s do it again,’ and then it turned out I was doing it again in probably the most politically challenging period of my life.
“I grew up in the Cold War but that’s nothing compared to a president and, indeed, a prime minister who have dispensed with all norms of civilised government.
“It’s time for me to get into the debate because, frankly, the b*****ds have got the biggest voices at the moment and I intend to try to shout my little piece of truth.
”We need comedy with attitude and comedy with passion. We need art which reflects the terror of what is going on and I want to be a part of that – I’m ready to get back into it.”
Having split his recent life between homes in Sussex and Fremantle, near Perth, he’s had a unique perspective on the Brexit political crisis.
Elton said: “Australia is heading for a true environmental disaster and is in danger of literally bursting into flames. It’s terrifying and, until recently, we had a PM who was a climate-change denier so we have our own problems in Australia.
“But when they look here, there’s a certain head-shaking of how can this apparently once icon of stability, this modern democracy, this great temperate and reasonable country that we all thought the UK was, is descending into this hysterical madness where we appear to
be prepared to junk the very traditions which have given us so much security and such a high quality of life for so long.”
The comedian, who turned 60 earlier this year, is excited about his stand-up return, which started yesterday and includes gigs in Glasgow, Edinburgh, Aberdeen and Inverness in October.
While he is best known for his comedy, the Londoner has probably spent most of his career at a keyboard. His writing work includes
16 novels, three stage musicals, TV shows and three movies.
His new novel Identity Crisis was out last month and his Queen musical We Will Rock You is back on tour too.
But stand-up has always been his first love and he is excited to bring his tour to Scotland.
He said: “My first dates have been looming at me for months and I don’t mind admitting that, as much as a 60-year-old who’s done an awful lot of gigs can be, I’m scared – but in a good way.
“I’m excited. But I can eat. When I was 21 and compering at the Comedy Store, if I hadn’t had a bowl of cornflakes by seven in the morning, I wouldn’t eat all day but now I am OK.
“Modern targets are much more difficult to hit.
“Not only are they self-satirising but they are beyond shame and everyone knows if you say Johnson is motivated entirely by self-interest, and literally is only interested in Boris Johnson, I think everyone would say ‘D’uh.’ It’s post-shame.
“I have never shied away from being a subjective comedian. Satire must take a point of view and that can only be your opinion and how you see the world.
“That doesn’t mean I think Corbyn’s playing a particularly consistent game and I might well have something to say about the existential agony that, at the point when Britain has never needed a strong opposition more, Labour is being eaten up by anti-semitism – who the f*** saw that coming?
“We are literally in a world beyond my understanding but it’s great for stand-up comedy.”