Monsanto Roundup Lawsuit

Monday, June 08, 2015

Rik Mayall - The Cure For Depression

Oh, Cliff 
Sometimes it must be difficult not to feel as if 
You really are a Cliff 
When fascists keep trying to push you over it 
Are they the lemmings?
Or are you Cliff? 
Or are you, Cliff?

Forget your antidepressants.

Forget the obligatory 10 minute slot given to you by your doctor who, 9 times out of 10, will write you out a prescription for an antidepressant because you have money worries, marital problems or you are just fearful of either a work or school project.

What you need, Sir/Madam, is a good old dose of comedy. Something that will just make you lose yourself, be it for half an hour or an hour. Hey, here's the deal of the century folks. Guess what? It's free!

Rik Mayall died a year ago today. For me, there is, or never has been, anyone funnier.

Yeh, yeh - I hear all the Python fans shouting their disagreements but Rik Mayall molded the youth of the eighties. Credit, of course, must go to Rik's fellow script writers, Ben Elton and Lise Mayer, but it was the People's Poet who laid down the bones for Elton and Mayer to cover with meat.

Credit too to Rik's other half, Ade Edmonson, an equal in my eyes and I'm sure an equal in the eyes of Rik. The pair went on to create havoc in theatres across the UK when they took their Bottom characters Richard and Eddie, to the adoring British public. Okay, the writing would never have won any prizes, it was toilet humour and mindless violence, all done in the best possible taste (if swearing and sexual innuendo is your thing)

Rik Mayall, it could be said, introduced me to comedy in 1981 with his character, Kevin Turvey, who had five minute slots in the sketch show, A Kick Up the Eighties. Yeh, okay, I'd watched comedy before, who could ever forget Benny Hill, Morecambe & Wise etc. But they, and comedians like them, didn't really give me an identity, they were for old people.

Kevin Turvey spoke with a Brummie accent (even though he was from just outside of Birmingham, a place called Redditch) - Straight away, I was hooked. This odd looking man, who resembled someone you'd avoid in the street, was an instant hit and friends and I were soon trying to perfect his accent (even though friends and I were natural Brummies)

Here's a 5 minute sample of Rik's comic creation, Kevin Turvey. Here, he investigates 'Sex.' (And yes, I do sound like him, particularly after a few beers)

A year or so later, The Young Ones hit the UK TV screens. It was punk rock in comedy form for those that missed out on the Sex Pistols and other bands of that ilk.

Four students, Rick (Rik Mayall), Vyvian (Ade Edmonson), Neil (Nigel Planner) and Mike (Christopher Ryan) were holed up in terraced accommodation, as Rick put it, it was their "seat of learning."

Rik had dropped the Brummie accent for his creation, opting instead to speak in a nerdy voice with a lisp. Vyvian, the heavy metal-cum-punk rocker provided the violence whilst Neil was the passive hippy. Mike was the oldest of the four students and, well, he was just cool, hence his surname, Thecoolperson.

The Young Ones ran for just two series, a total of twelve episodes that still stand the test of time today. No more sitcoms where trousers falling down seemed to make your parents howl, this was youth comedy and gave the youth of the eighties a voice and an identity.

There are many memorable quotes from the Young Ones, far too many to mention and far too many to pick any favourites - I know them all, I hear the characters voices when I type them.

Here's one of my fav scenes.

Rik Mayall, of course shouldn't just be remembered for Rick and Richard, he also went on to play Tory MP, Alan B'Stard - Personally, I never really related to that character.

His one off appearances in Black Adder showed just how Rik Mayall could steal a show with very little airtime. Flash by name, flash by nature.

One year ago tomorrow (June 9) Rik died at the young age of 56. Cause of death was a heart attack after a morning run. I'm posting this now because I'll be busy tomorrow, but not too busy to spare him a thought. His death came as a shock, yet there was just minimal sadness. When I think of Rik Mayall, I think of laughing - even when he, and his sidekick, Ade Edmonson, broke out of character, they were stupendously funny.

Rik and Ade break out of character. 

Rest In Peace, Rik, and thank you for giving me, and countless others my age, an identity. You were one helluva crazy, mad, wild-eyed, big-bottomed anarchist!

Bob Fiddaman.