The word “beloved” is bandied around a lot these days. As such it’s become less of a word and when a word like that is used with such frequency, it tends to lose its meaning. Same goes when someone is described as a “national treasure”. We have had, and still have, a few of them. However in most instances (especially when they are deserved terms of affection) they are only really brought out when the subject of these particular terms of endearment has died. In this instance that is also the case. It saddens me beyond words to write these words, but Rik Mayall has died. It is something I am not sure I will be able to ever come to terms with. I would say it is like losing a close family member, but it somehow means more than that, it’s like losing everything. Put simply, I loved the man.
During the 1980s Rik Mayall was at the epicentre of everything that was funny. If he wasn’t starring in or writing it, he was cameoing in and improving it tenfold. He really was a silken horse among the cattle, a genuine star that when ever he was on our screens was like a lit match in a room full of petrol. He had a super-human ability to make people laugh and seemed to get stronger with every titter or wriggle of joy. If you grew up in the 1980s, Rik Mayall was the naughty big brother you always wanted, or the class clown that you wanted to stick by like a limpet. He pulled faces that could reduce you to a puddle and much like Peter Cook before him, he was so very good at swearing. Each naughty word sailed from Mayall’s mouth like a poetic galleon. No one said the word “bastard” like Rik Mayall. He was just the best there was. Same goes with hits, falls and tumbles. No one took a hit like Mayall, he had turned falling over and getting hit into a genuine art form, he could sell receiving a punch like no one else, not to mention falling over. I defy anyone to not laugh their body dry at the moment Mayall falls out of the window in Mr. Jolly Lives Next Door.
In fact so good was he that he managed to bridge the difficult generation gap. Both parents and kids alike were laughing at everything he did for well over a decade. Something that seems remarkable when you think about it now. Mayall proved that nob gags are unifying in way that nothing else could ever be. Willys are funny. End of.
There was also the small matter of his phenomenal stint on Jackanory. His reading of George’s Marvellous Medicine was a real JFK moment for all children in the 1980s. We all remember that feeling of pure adrenaline and excitement when Rik Mayall blew threw our TV sets like a crazed dervish. This wasn’t just storytelling, this was Mayall living the story, throwing convention out of the window and being a bloody great big kid. Eating lipstick, throwing things, jumping up and down and smashing the place up. This wasn’t Bernard Cribbins sat on a tractor, this was our friend, our best friend and he was truly one of us. In fact so good was he that at school the next week we re-watched it – once again Mayall proving that he was accessible to all, even teachers approved of his unconventional methods.
I am extraordinarily heartbroken about his passing. It is like a kick in the teeth, a punch on the groin or a stab to the heart. However the one crumb of comfort (which is actually meteor sized) is that we will always have the incredible body of work he has left behind. After all, as the man once said himself. “How can Rick be dead when we still have his poems?”
Thanks for everything Rik.
Originally posted 2014-06-10 08:59:49. Republished by Blog Post Promoter