Monday 9 June 2014

Rik Mayall has died


He is about the same age as me.

I didn't enjoy his work in the main part of his career - but near the beginning of his career, sometime around 1981-2, in the Jesmond Cinema, Newcastle upon Tyne - he and Adrian Edmondson - as The Dangerous Brothers - made me laugh harder and longer than ever in my life before or since, in a sketch about trying to tell the joke of what's green and hairy and goes up and down - a gooseberry in a lift.

Raw energy and pure genius.

Alas, that didn't last long - it never does; and neither did Rik Mayall. 

I never met him, but sat in front of him at the Edinburgh Festival Fringe in an extremely-bad one-woman-show by Emma Thompson; and it was obvious that he was an obnoxious show-off 'in real life'.

Still, he was indescribably brilliant for a couple of years in the early 1980s.

Dangerous indeed.


Note added: When he first emerged, Rik Mayall was not only as funny as anybody ever (at least, for people with my taste in humour - which was admittedly, a minority) but he was as completely-original a comic I have ever seen. At the time it looked like something completely new. The nearest prior equivalent I have come across was the inconsequential humour of Chick Murray (1991-1985) the Glasgow comedian - which was a bit like Mayall's 'Kevin Turvey' character. But Murray's wit led to smiles and chuckles, while Mayall's humour - at its peak - led to helpless gasping for breath and near death paroxysms.


Wm Jas said...

Weird synchronicity: I had never heard of Rik Mayall until this past Sunday (6/8) -- which is apparently the day before he died. An English textbook my wife teaches from had a reading passage which was an interview with Rik Mayall, and she asked me if he was a real person. I looked him up online and found that he was. Two days later I see this post on your blog.

Bruce Charlton said...

@WmJas - It *is* weird.

I don't have anything similar to report - I don't think he had crossed my mind for a while.

It could be even more weird if (it doesn't seem likely, but *if*) it turns-out the time of death coincided with your first awareness of him - but at present cause and exact time of death are not reported.

Wm Jas said...

That possibility crossed my mind, too, but I don't remember what time I first became aware of him -- on Sunday, June 8, but I don't even remember if it was in the morning or the afternoon. (I didn't note the time because, naturally, it didn't seem like a significant event until two days later, when I learned of his death.) Anyway, everything I've read reports that he died on the 9th, so I don't think there's any chance of a perfect coincidence of times.