A good man died recently. Aged 56.
Well, I say a “good man”, he was a bit of a bastard. But in the best way possible. Because he was fucking great at it.
While Kevin Smith was crucial in my life in the fact that his body of work helped me fine-tune my own writing style and voice, Rik Mayall taught me one very simple thing:
“snot-flicking calling people twats and farts are funny. and being repeatedly hit over the head with a frying pan is fucking hilarious”.
My Rik Mayall introduction story of course started in part with “Drop Dead Fred”. Before that it was with “Grim Tales”, in which Mayall sat in a bipedal chair and recounted stories such as “Hansel and Gretel”, “Rumpelstiltskin” and “The Bremen Town Musicians”.
Later on was The Young Ones (which led to my fondness of Adrian Edmonson and an impromptu recreation of the opening scene from the episode “Bomb” in 8th grade drama class with highschool chum, Daniel) and Bottom. My first experience of which was the live show, Hooligans Island.
Obviously the likes of Mayall had some lasting effect. Because I’m almost bloody 30 and farts, calling people twats and snot-flicking is still worth a decent chuckle.
While I’m not way into the style of humour that Mayall did these days, It was what it was: Vulgar, in-your-face, brash and oftentimes just plain dumb. Honestly? I wouldn’t have it any other way. That and he proved his “serious” acting chops in Johnathan Creek and the occasional Drop Dead Fred scene, so as far as I was concerned, he can do whatever the fuck he wanted and I’ll laugh it up, guaranteed.
Even if it was “just plain dumb”, his comedic timing was razor-sharp and even the smallest of facial expressions were so finely tuned that he could do them in his fucking sleep if he wanted. If you looked up “slapstick” or “physical actor” in the dictionary, there’d be this mug as the fucking centrefold:
I could bang on and on and on about how wonderful it was to have a childhood – no, a fucking life enriched by Rik Mayall, but honestly? It all comes down to the following:
Rik, thanks for all the laughs, the tears (mostly from laughing) and the punches in the bollocks, hits with frying pans, and the two-fingered salute. My life would have never been the same without you, you mad bastard.
Till next time