We’ve awoken to the terrible news that Rik Mayall is gone.
That lovely imp whose sparkling eyes and slippery speech shepherded a generation of comedy lovers through the great British new-wave comedy revolution of the mid to late 1980s. It’s so terribly, terribly sad.
I was in year 8 in 1986 and my friend Jodie, who remains one of the funniest people I’ve ever known, told me about a show she watched on the ABC. As she described it, it sounded impossible. There was a punk with a studded forehead and a lippy hamster, a filthy, levitating hippie, and little guy in a suit and her favourite, a pimple-ridden virgin who snorted and wrote poetry and sometimes suffered a runny bottom.
They all lived in a disgusting house, and were once held captive by a despotic regime in their basement, but then there was a benefit concert in the living room where a big bald guy who plays lots of character sang a song about Dr Martens boots. She said it was amazing.
A week later I sat alone watching the small TV in the kitchen and my life was transformed forever. The Young Ones was my cutting edge comedy gateway drug. From there I leapt to Australia You’re Standing In It, The Big Gig, DAAS Kapital, Black Adder, and years later to Strangers With Candy and The Mighty Boosh and now to Broad Street.
I like my comedy weird and wordy thanks in no small part to The Young Ones.
In 1998 I found out a friend of mine had lived in the same neighbourhood as Rik Mayall in London. The topic came up after news broke of his quad bike accident. It was serious and we were both very worried for him, as though troubling news of an old friend had reached us on the grapevine. She said his house was in a very posh suburb in which all the houses looked the same in that they were all perfectly manicured, with bright, white facades and luxurious soft furnishings visible from the street. His house was different. It was sort of crumbly she said, with thick green creepers growing all over it. There was a Morris minor on blocks in the front yard, and laughing children seemed to be tumbling out of it whenever she walked past.
One day she happened to be present when Rik himself was heading out. She witnessed a loving family ritual of kisses and goodbyes and was happy, as I was upon hearing it, that Rik Mayall was living a loving, nutty life.
He recovered from the accident, and spoke later of his increased appreciation of life in its wake.
His life is over now, with no suspicious circumstances according to police. Gone way too soon, wonderful (P)Rik, you complete and utter bastard.
What’s your favourite Rik Mayall character or scene?
The Hoopla finds this scene very outrageous.