Monday, 9 June 2014

Rik Mayall R.I.P.

At just 56, the people's poet, the spokesperson of a generation, has sadly passed away. 

I am genuinely gutted.

My thoughts are with his family and Ade.

In no particular order, personal memories of a British comedy juggernaut are celebrated.

There were many things what made the 80s iconic and great, but The Young Ones made it hilarious.

Is Bambi the greatest episode of any sitcom?  Probably.

Vyvyan losing his head, Rick's tantrum at crop rotation in the 14th century, The Ace of Spades and University Challenge.

Genius.  Absolute genius.

Filthy Rich & Catflap was post Scumbag College (without regular Christoper Ryan) and switching channels to ITV in 1987, sleazy Tory MP Alan B'Stard made more enemies than friends in excellent political satire The New Statesman.

Although he could 'do it' in less than a minute, his very small penis was understandably subject to much ridicule in Parliament.

The running gag of 'bastard' had no right to remain fresh.

It also demonstrated his ability to act beyond chaos and slapstick.

Without the dashing portrayal of Lord Flashheart, Blackadder II and Blackadder Goes Forth wouldn't be the same.

Mad Gerald in The Black Adder was another example of Mayall's eccentric insanity. 

A few years earlier in 1981, he scored a bit part with Brian Glover as a punter at dingy pub The Slaughtered Lamb, in John Landis's classic An American Werewolf in London. 

Phoebe Cate's imaginary friend Drop Dead Fred may not have been to everybody's taste, but the odious role was made to measure.

It didn't interest me, but his filmography extended to bizarre horror The Legend of Harrow Woods.

Rick and Ade had fights in The Young Ones, but their anarchic collaboration beautifully exploded in Bottom.

Prolific wanking, choreographed violence (usually involving household utensils), occasional dismemberment, desperate attempts to escape boredom and episodes climaxing with extreme pain were all staple diet.

Dave Hedgehog (Christopher Ryan) and Spud-gun (Steve O'Donnell) appeared when required as Eddie's associates and believed Richie to be psychotic.

The equivalent of my 'Bambi' was Culture, or maybe Holy.  I'm torn between both.

After a series of live shows, Bottom went big screen in 1999 with spin-off Guest House Paradiso.

I've watched every performance on video but Bottom Live: An Arse Oddity, was the only one I experienced in person.

During which, he told me to "FUCK OFF!"

Yeah, it was that loud.  Ha ha ha!

What did I say or do?  Frustratingly, I can't remember, but lives long in the memory.

With his untimely passing and out of respect, the second series of Channel 4 black comedy Man Down should be cancelled.

Adrian Edmondson said:

"There were times when Rik and I were writing together when we almost died laughing.

They were some of the most carefree stupid days I ever had, and I feel privileged to have shared them with him."

"And now he's died for real. Without me. Selfish bastard."

His contribution to comedy will never be forgotten and echoing the voices of millions, he'll be sorely missed.

Rik Mayall

7 March 1958 – 9 June 2014

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