At two o’clock this afternoon the friends and family of Rik Mayall laid him to rest.
That was a shitty sentence to write. The sentence I should be writing is: at 2pm this afternoon the friends and family of Rik Mayall had a late lunch down the pub and nothing of interest happened. That is a much nicer sentence, if it is a sentence? I’ve never quite got the hang of this writing malarkey so I may have just written a spunktrance.
Anyway, that is not the correct spunktrance, so I should go on.
Over the years I’ve seen many of my favourite actors and comedians drop off the perch but this is the first time I remember feeling true gnawing grief. Surely that level of grief should be reserved only for those closest to the deceased, not for somebody who never met them.
Oh dear this is turning into a mawkish outpouring of emotion. Mr Mayall would have hated that. He would have called me a girly girl and done that cocksucker mime. The one where you use your tongue to mimic a willy going in and out of your mouth.
No, I should pull myself together. Let me start again.
Rik Mayall represented everything that was new and exciting about comedy in the 1980s.
He was rude, loud, incredibly funny and I loved him. We never met of course, he existed in the magic world of the television and I in the small hybrid industrial/rural town of Halifax in West Yorkshire.
For 33 years I watched him on my telly. From A Kick Up the Eighties to Man Down and he never ever failed to make me laugh. Many people will say that their favourite show was The Young Ones, the show that sent me and my school friends into the playground with a cry of ‘Have we got a video? Yes we’ve got a video!’ And led on more than one occasion to my serving a detention for shouting “you bastard” a little too loudly for the comfort of the dementor like nuns who patrolled the playground. However my favourite show will always be Bottom.
There was something warm and welcoming about Bottom. The world of those poor downtrodden men was beautiful. It wasn’t attractive but it was the loveliest thing on television. Even today, the sight of Richie and Eddie kicking each other in the knackers beats anything the Sistine Chapel can offer. More that that, it was Mayall and Edmondson’s own show. They wrote it and they performed it. There was no underlying political message or attempt to make the world a better place, it was just brilliant comedy. If only younger comedians would take their lead from Bottom and not the tedious, skinny jeaned crap of E4.
Lets face it, Andrew Wilson and I did just that when we came up with Dab and Tench. Tench was a character I wrote in the 1990s (when he was still called Jeremy Tench) and a few years ago we thought it would be funny to resurrect him for a series of improvised podcasts and give him a new friend called Barrington Dab. It didn’t take long for us to notice that the characters were beginning to take on certain aspects of Rich and Eddie and no matter how hard we tried to pull them in a different direction they found their way back. The influence was just too strong to resist and eventually we stopped trying.
The best thing I can do now is direct you to one of my favourite episodes of Bottom. If you have it on DVD or Netflix, go to the first episode of the third series called ‘Hole’ and press play. You won’t be disappointed.
Here is a clip:
Goodbye Rik. We bloody love you.