'I've done a bit of Latin in my time . . . but I can control it.'

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Senior Member

I'm reading some jokes by famous comedians, and I'm not getting this one:

'I've done a bit of Latin in my time . . . but I can control it.' -- Eddie Izzard (February 7 1962)

Thank you!
  • dojibear

    Senior Member
    English - Northeast US
    "Doing" Latin would be speaking Latin. Something only done in Latin classes. Something considered very, very boring.

    Saying he "can control it" about some activity means the activity is so much fun he has to consciously stop himself from doing it all the time.

    Using that phrase about something boring is meant to be funny. It probably is, spoken out loud by a good comedian.


    Senior Member
    English - US
    I've done a bit of Latin in my time
    The routine seems to be whimsical and about the relevance of Latin to life today. He likes to conjugate Latin verbs, but has it under control. I found an explanation online. From that account of his routine:

    "Sometimes you’re queuing at a petrol station at 3:00A.M. in the morning, and there’s a line of murderers behind you, and you turn around and go, “Amo, amas, amat, amamus, amatis, amant!” and they go, “F**k! He knows Latin! (mimes running away) He knows a dead language! Run! Head for the hills! Head for Azerbaijan! Run down the forecourt”

    By itself, the line doesn't have much meaning. It is an introduction to what follows.


    Senior Member
    English - US and Canada
    It's a play on "doing" (taking) drugs. He does Latin (learns or speaks Latin, or conjugates Latin verbs, but he is not addicted to it.
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