Standing ovations are a novel concept for Ben Elton - but it's something he reckons he could get used to.
The man who redefined comedy when he wrote The Young Ones recently received an ovation at Llandudno in North Wales. He was not only humbled, but stunned.
Elton hasn't done stand-up comedy for 15 years, preferring to focus on writing novels, stage shows and screenplays. A lot has changed in that time.
"Being back on the road has turned out better than I could have expected. I have found that I'm happier and more comfortable at 60 being a stand-up comedian than I've ever been," he says.
Elton his bringing his Ben Elton Live show to Australia in 2020 on a national tour that includes Canberra Theatre in May. He says the 75-date UK tour was "just a warm up" for the Australian tour. But still, he can't get past that standing ovation.
"Maybe people are more likely to do that now but obviously I'm delighted. Having spent a year worrying about this, and working on the material and honing it and honing it, it's deeply satisfying to find that it is striking a chord with the audience."
The reviews have been overwhelmingly positive. In-depth, too. People are listening intently to what Elton, a man famous for his astute societal observations, has to say.
"I don't read reviews and I haven't read any reviews for 30 years but my wife does and my promoter does so I know the lay of the land and I am f---ing thrilled to be getting such thoughtful reviews," he says.
"Nobody likes to get slagged off and I've had a lot of that over the years. I was quite notorious, and often that became the focus of the review rather than the actual work itself. But now I've been around for so f---ing long and I'm no threat to anyone because I just keep going, which used to irritate people but finally it's become something sort of admirable. For a long time it was like 'When are you going to f--- off?' Now it's like 'We're pleased you're still here'."
I ask whether he thinks people might be coming to his shows to seek some clarity in a confused and divided world; looking to him to find some sense in the madness.
"There might be some truth to that. These are quite passionate times and I put a lot of principle on stage," he replies.
"One of the things I talk about quite a lot is that I think comedy should come from a place of truth. I don't like this nebulous idea that everything is shit, everyone's an equal wanker, that all politicians are the same. Those kind of thoughts are the enemy of art and, frankly, the enemy of society because you just end up not caring."
It wasn't as much fun writing the material this time because "the world is getting serious - and dangerous".
"I start the show by saying that the theme for the evening is confusion, in that I don't really understand how we got to the place we're at and it's kind of messing with the things that I used to feel certain about," Elton says.
"There are a lot of venal shits who have managed to get themselves into power on the pretense of representing some utterly fictitious idea of the people, this grim populism. I've always been a very optimistic person but writing the material this time I found it hard to be optimistic. I feel less sure of myself or our future than I did. But for f---'s sake, you're not hearing anything that you don't already think yourself. We can all see the tragedy of what we've created."
And that tragedy is, he says, identity politics.
"Personality politics is destroying democracy," Elton says.
"I make this point on stage. We don't have a presidential system in Australia or Britain. Any party leader has to have a majority of parliament behind them and it's a bloody good system because it's quite hard to get hundreds of people to be idiots all at once.
"In America you only need one idiot, the president. Their system has its checks and balances but they're proving extremely fragile at the moment. As individuals, all you can do is to hang on to what you know to be the truth. If you believe in the social values of a party, then stay with it. Don't let the idiots on the fringes put you off."
So he's not turning into a Victor Meldrew from One Foot In The Grave on stage? Elton laughs.
"You know, it's funny you should say that. I had a laugh with my daughter when she said 'Dad, you're getting a bit depressing. We have to live in this world; it's all right for you, you'll be dead soon'.
"I do talk about the fact that I am older but I believe that I have hung on to my passion. I am not a grumpy old man, I'm a passionate old man. I'm not even that old, really, 60 is oldish.
"My conclusion is that I don't think I am getting any more like Victor Meldrew now than I was when I was young and gloriously mulleted. I am passionate about the world I live in so I will rail against what I consider to be its inequities and I will celebrate what I consider to be its glories. That has always been the source of my comedy.
"I do feel like I am kind of getting stupider, in hindsight, so I admit to a degree of fear about where we have arrived at. Then I take a very clear moral and social position, as I've always done.
"And I will always believe in the power of good and the fact that we can be better so the show is, in the long run, a positive one.
"As you said before, I think people are searching for something at my shows. People say to me afterwards that what I had to say felt good to them, it felt right. It was uplifting. I guess I am still essentially optimistic after all."