Al Murray has hit back at the suggestion that his Pub Landlord alter-ego denigrates the working class.
The comedian, an ex-public schoolboy with links to the aristocracy, has played the bigoted publican since an appearance at the 1994 Edinburgh Fringe.
Asked whether it was right for Murray to play the character, the 51-year-old told Radio Times magazine: “I do think about that quite a lot.
“I’m not a duke, but I am related to the Murrays of Atholl – although I’d have to kill 800 people to get the title.
“With the Pub Landlord the target is bullshitters and bullshit, there’s not a class element in it at all.
“I get people saying, ‘You’re denigrating the working class’ but that’s only true if you think working class people are bullshitters, and I don’t.
“My humour isn’t punching down, it’s punching up because the bullshitters are in charge at the moment,” the comic, a descendant of Vanity Fair author William Makepeace Thackeray, said.
Murray said it was his annoyance with fellow comic Russell Brand that made him stand, as the Pub Landlord, in the 2015 general election against Nigel Farage in South Thanet.
“Russell said, ‘Don’t vote, it doesn’t change anything’. Well, look at the situation we’re in now. He couldn’t have been more spectacularly wrong,” the comic told the magazine.
“I thought, ‘I don’t have his platform, so what can I do that says, ‘For goodness’ sake, do vote?’
“And what a glorious situation I ended up in, standing next to Nigel Farage”, he said of the count, where Murray picked up just 318 votes.
The full interview is in this week’s Radio Times magazine.