Rik Mayall passed away earlier this week. He was widely considered one of the most brilliant comedians to come out of the UK in the past 30 years, and as a member of The Comic Strip was the one of the founding fathers of the alternative comedy scene in London in the early 80s. Rik is also one of my favorite comedians and I’ve spent the last several years finding and watching everything he worked on.
I’ve decided to take a break from being really sad to celebrate Rik’s career, which means the crazy anarchic shit he did and the hysterically belligerent characters he created for the stage and television. I don’t really feel the need to write too much about how funny and awesome Rik was, so I’m mainly going to let these videos speak for themselves.
The Comic Strip
A little backstory: Rik performed with Adrianne Edmondson, Jennifer Saunders, Dawn French, Nigel Planer, Peter Richardson and Alexie Sayle, at a cabaret night in a strip club. While the television series these performers created together is fairly well known, I only found out about the Julien Temple faux documentary earlier this year.
There’s also a documentary from 2012 commemorating 30 Years of the Comic Strip.
Early Characters: Kevin Turvey & Mitch the Feminist
The Dangerous Brothers
The Young Ones
The entire series is available on Hulu if for some strange reason you haven’t ever seen it. Here is some footage of Rik performing at Comic Relief.
Filthy, Rich and Catflap
Filthy, Rich and Catflap was the show Rik, Ade, Nigel and Ben Elton created after The Young Ones. It has similar themes, in that all of the characters are smelly and unlikable.
Happy Families is a wonderful miniseries where Jennifer Saunders plays multiple characters. I highly recommend watching this show in its entirety, it’s got great performances and some great writing by Ben Elton. This is the episode where Rik plays a disgusting French priest.
Part of The Comic Strip television series, Bad News was the original heavy metal mockumentary.
Rik plays the indomitable ladies’ man, Lord Flashheart.
The New Statesman
Rik plays Alan B’stard, the newest (and possibly worst) member of Parliament.
The Comic Strip Presents: Mr. Jolly Lives Next Door
Rik and Ade play alcoholic male escorts, of course. Featuring Peter Cook.
Rik and Ade at their most violent, Bottom is like Ren and Stimpy meets Waiting for Godot. Unfortunately the full episodes were taken off of Youtube but there is a DVD available and the episodes are all on iTunes. They are worth investing in.
The Comic Strip Presents: The Hunt for Tony Blair
Goodbye, Rik. You will be missed.