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R. I. P. Rik Mayall

June 9, 2015

Rik Mayall died a year ago today. Still not over it.



The very last exam I ever sat, I decided to answer a question on the nature of comedy by making extensive reference to Filthy, Rich, and Catflap – the unlamented missing link between The Young Ones and Bottom.  This was a bold strategy and, on reflection, a wrong one.  I think I wrote something about innuendo, and about how Rik Mayall represented a version of comedy that depended not on erotic suggestion but upon the ludicrous superinflation of effort that had gone into enforcing the suggestion.

Rik Mayall was the most 1980s of comics yet someone who was interested in timeless comic archetypes.  Of all four Young Ones, his was the only character that belonged solely and uniquely to that decade.  And losing Rik Mayall makes me reflect on a golden age of generationally distinct and aggressive comedy, comedy that could piss off your parents  and probably did.


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