First there was The Young Ones.
Then it was Flashheart in his various forms throughout Blackadder.
And then along came Bottom whenever I could catch it.
(Laidig Snr was never a fan of that particular incarnation).
Comedy has lost another jester today. The entry originally planned for today was cast aside in the news that one of my comedy idols – Rik Mayall – has passed away. The above barely scratch the surface of his career, but the first and latter shows named was the evolution of one of his most renowned creations, Rick/Richie Richard.
I’m currently in the process of writing my final piece for my Masters, and it is possibly the closest any script of mine has come to achieving the kind of humour, or genre of humour, I want to continue working in. I was fortunate enough to grow up on 90s comedy, and have a mother who grew up on that of the 70s and 80s. Y’know, when it was good? When it wasn’t about the money, the tv deals, stadium arena gigs and panel shows?
…I’m in danger of going into rant mode again, so to save space, my rant on the subject can be found here after watching a gig last summer by, weirdly enough, one of Mayall’s contemporaries.
I like the ridiculous and the extreme. I revel in the fantastical and bizarre – see here for more reasons why. So it can only make sense that I would be drawn to something completely bananas like Bottom, particularly the live shows. I love the banter and energy between a cast, regardless of size, who play off of each other and the audience. I love it so much, I am endlessly searching to find performers who share that same level of energy, and are able to control it at will. At times, I feel it is a hopeless search, but I am not a quitter. If I can’t find it here, I’ll find it somewhere else.
And so the search of a lone writer-performer continues.
Sad and premature though his death is, I wonder how much his former accident played a part in it. The Bottom stage shows came to an end through a combination of mutual agreement between him and his partner in crime, Ade Edmonson, a recognition of their age and Mayall’s health. Their stage shows would invariably result in trips to the hospital anyway, but after his quad bike accident and coma, the level of faux-violence per show was perhaps something to be concerned about – there is a visible change in the latter two productions. Whatever it was, it is a substantial loss. I think Eddie Hitler’s attempt below at Richie’s epitaph sums it up beautifully: