Comedian Rik Mayall Dead at 56


I was surprised and saddened to hear the news that counterculture comedian Rik Mayall died in his home in London yesterday. The cause of death hasn’t been released but Scotland Yard reported that it was not believed to be suspicious. Mayall was best known for his memorable roles in cult comedy shows such as “The Young Ones”, “Black Adder”, “The New Statesman” and “Bottom”. In a tribute published by The Guardian yesterday, some of his Young Ones colleagues had this to say about him:

“very, very sad and upset that we’ve lost Rik, who was inspirational, bonkers, and a great life force… a brilliant comedian and someone who made everyone else’s lives more fun. He will be really, really missed”. – Nigel Planer

“Comedy is truly great is when it comes out of nothing, and the greatest of comedians, like Rik, have that rare ability to conjure laugh after laugh, not from endless words, but from a single look or one absurd gesture … It was in his bones. Sweet Rik, much loved – what a loss.” – Alexei Sayle

“There were times when Rik and I were writing together when we almost died laughing. They were some of the most carefree, stupid days I ever had, and I feel privileged to have shared them with him. And now he’s died for real. Without me. Selfish bastard.” – Adrian Edmonson

Not sure exactly when this live performance was recorded, but though it seems to be early in his career it captures the manic energy of some of Mayall’s later roles:

The New Zealand Herald made a commendable attempt to compile some of Rik Mayall’s greatest televised moments (there’s too many to list):

Rik Mayall’s second-to-the-last televised work before his death was as the narrator of the following animation for Channel 4 written and produced by Louis Hudson and Ian Ravenscroft called Don’t Fear Death:

The following is a clip from One By One, an intriguing but difficult to find feature film directed by Diane Jessie Miller and featuring one of Mayall’s final performances:

This entry was posted in Art, culture, History, Humor, society, Video and tagged , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

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