Friday, 13 June 2014
RIP Rik Mayall
I had been out walking on the hills around Settle in the Yorkshire Dales when I got back to hear the news that Rik Mayall, an absolute comedic hero of mine, had passed away suddenly. I was and indeed still am truly stunned by this news. At 56, Rik was way too young and way too talented to go just yet - much like Mel Smith's equally untimely passing last year.
Growing up in the 1980s and 90s I was spoilt something rotten by the riches of Rik's comedy; The Young Ones, The Comic Strip Presents, The New Statesman, Blackadder, Bottom and Rik Mayall Presents, the man had a direct line to my funny bone specialising in that immature but hilarious vein of humour that was specifically his very own brand. A man of such immense talent, he should have been an international star (and indeed he did try for US fame with the lead role in Drop Dead Fred) but in a way I'm rather glad we in the UK got to 'keep him'; a national treasure.
Hearing of his death reminded me of the outright disbelief and concern I had previously felt some sixteen years earlier, when the news came through about the now infamous quad bike accident just prior to the Easter Weekend of 1998 (known to all Rik lovers as Crappy Thursday) But unlike that time, there was no hope available. The immortal comedy God truly has gone - but he's left us an amazing body of work, including most recently a hilarious turn as Greg Davies' childish, pranking father in Man Down and, with luck, a number one spot in the UK singles charts this weekend thanks to an online campaign.
My thoughts go to Rik's family and friends at this tragic time.
RIP Rik, thanks for the laughs.
PS: Keith Topping has posted a lovely, fulsome tribute at his blog here