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Elton, Ben

comedy stand couple hit

(British, 1959– )

Elton was one of the most prominent of a new wave of comedy writers who came to fame in the 1980s. He is known for his furiously energetic stand-up comedy routine, combining surreal outbursts about everyday life with scathing satire. His first three novels are like extensions of his stand-up act: compendia of hit-and-miss jokes and political outrage. But Popcorn (1996) is a huge advance on these efforts. It is the story of a director of amorally violent films held hostage by a disaffected young couple who might have stepped out of one of his screenplays, and is tightly plotted, funny, and thought-provoking. The author has also written a stage version. Inconceivable (1999) is a painful comedy about a couple stricken by their inability to conceive a child. Elton's many television writing credits include the hit series Blackadder.

Tom Sharpe, Terry Pratchett  NC

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