Rik Mayall: A Special Tribute

Rik Mayall, on the right, in Bottom.
Rik Mayall, on the right, in Bottom.

Few people have had such a colossal impact on Mr. Wapojif’s brain as Rik Mayall. Ever since I was a wee one Mayall’s berserk, loveable rogue antics kept Mr. Wapojif, and many millions, massively entertained.

Mr. Wapojif particularly remembers watching the final few minutes of the Bottom episode Culture on the BBC in 1992.

In this iconic series Richie and Eddie, two loveably deranged and unemployable losers (adapted from Mayall and comedy partner Ade Edmondson’s West End theatre run in Waiting For Godot), are playing chess in their London flat. Richie doesn’t get it, loses his temper, and punches Eddie in the face.

Carnage unfolds as the two beat the crap out of each other. For Mr. Wapojif’s young brain, this was hysterical.

Bottom isn’t for everyone (it’s not something The Royal Family spent their afternoons enjoying, probably, and stuffy upper class folk were no doubt perplexed beyond belief and/or disgusted), but it was hugely popular amongst those who “got” it.

Then there’s The Young Ones (which Rik co-wrote with Ben Elton and Lise Mayer—he starred as the moronic student Rick) from the early ‘80s, which set about a new wave of alternative comedy.

Mayall also appeared in the legendary Blackadder and The New Statesman, as well as having a dig at films (like Drop Dead Fred).

It was an immense shock hearing of his sudden death yesterday aged 56, so today we honour his legacy with a collection of some of his finest (and maddest) moments over the years.

He was a real star, with the added X Factor, a distinctive voice, incredible energy, brilliant acting, and a penchant for profanity. A true legend, and he’ll be greatly missed.

Bottom

Whilst critics of the show suggested it was puerile, the writing was also exceptional at its peak.

They captured the squalor of poverty and unemployment as well as George Orwell or Charles Bukowski in any of their works.

The fight scene which made me a Bottom fan for life. And it still holds up very well all these decades on.

Slapstick violence was a regular part of the show. They were skilled enough to replicate this in their live tours, which ran from 1993 through to 2003.

Watching it back now, it’s still highly amusing and has aged really well. A tribute to the writing and performances from Mayall and Edmondson.

Blackadder

The legendary turn as Lord Flashheart, from Blackadder II. Highly memorable stuff, despite the shortness of his appearance.

This was his only appearance in the entire series, yet it left a lasting impression now viewers. Even though he was only onscreen for a few minutes.

The Young Ones

The Young Ones kicked off Mayall’s career back in the early ’80s. It’s a comedy classic and something of a landmark TV show.

Crazy, anarchic, very surreal, and full of witty jibes and slapstick violence, it’s the comedic punk show the world never knew it wanted.

Comic Strip

Mayall was also a cast member for Comic Strip Presents on Channel 4, a show which helped launch Jennifer Saunders and Dawn French.

This was a 1998 reunion of sorts, completed shortly before Mayall’s quad bike accident. He recovered successfully to complete another one a few years later.

The New Statesman

A scene from The New Statesman, where Mayall played corrupt politician Alan B’stard.

The series takes the piss out of the vile 1980s Tory government, headed by Margaret Thatcher and her individualistic policies.

So as B’stard, Mayall was able to display all the overprivilege and deplorable antics of the Tory government.

And finally…

Mayall’s bloopers were hugely popular with the audience and are a fitting way to remember him by.

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