T’was very sad news to learn on Tuesday of the passing of beloved UK comic, Rik Mayall.
From the The Young Ones To Filthy, Rich And Catflap, The Dangerous Brothers, Bottom and The New Statesman, through to a Hollywood turn in Drop Dead Fred, feature films such as Guest House Paradiso and many television roles over the years, Mayall was a brilliant comic performer, with rare timing and a unique presence.
X-Press spoke to Mayall back in July, 2000, when he and comedic partner-in-crime Adrian Edmondson (also recently in Perth) were promoting Guest House Paradiso. They noted that their characters in the film, Richie and Eddie, weren’t that far removed from The Young Ones’ Rick and Vyvyan, and it was probably why their brand of humour continued to be so well received in Australia.
“It’s so fucking English,” Mayall said. “You guys love the English so much over here, that I think there’s some kind of connection.
“I’m not sucking your knob, I mean I’d like to,” he laughed, “but I think that’s why the Aussies understand it so well, because they understand what arseholes the English are. What tossers they are. They understand the embarrassment and the pretension which is what Richie and Eddie are all about. Failure!”
Yet while there was a rag-tag and somewhat slapstick nature about Mayall’s work with Edmondson, it was incisive comic writing that influenced a generation of comedic writers, performers and enthusiasts.
“There is a terrific pride in our work,” Mayall noted. “I mean, there is. We are constantly exploring new ways of doing some gag that we have not done before. Sure, there’s always the punch in the face, but that’s the baseline.”
The people’s poet is dead. RIP Rik Mayall.
For the full version of this interview (#702, Thursday, July 27, 2000), head to here.