10 Jun 2014

Stink Bum

When I was about eleven I used to sneak out of bed and watch late night TV. I can't remember what I was up to watch, but I do remember stumbling upon The Young Ones one night. Until then there was a variety of UK comedy on TV:  Benny Hill, The Two Ronnies,  The Kenny Everett Show, and The Goodies  to name a few.

But while I still enjoyed those other shows, The Young Ones opened up a whole new world to me, and all my friends.  All the kids (admittedly mostly the boys) started to emulate Neil, Rick, and my favorite Vyvyan.  We wondered who the hated "Thatcher" was, and we were exposed to bands like Motorhead, Madness and the Dammed.  It exposed us (Oo-er) to a world of UK 80's music, art and politics.

But it was not for everyone. On an interview in 1984 Terry Wogan discussed with Rik Mayall how divisive the The Young Ones was in Britain at the time. Apparently The Young Ones divided the country down the middle; between the youth of Britain and their parents and grand parents.  Rik seemed surprised as that was never their intent. He wanted to make comedy more inclusive, he wanted his friend Adrian Edmondson to work with Spike Milligan for example. 

But in the post punk era of Britain it was a changing time, and the comedy of Rik Mayall, Ben Elton, Alexi Sayle and Peter Richardson I think was part of that change.  

That aside Rik Mayall, writer and star of the The Young Ones, became a firm comedy favorite with me and my brother; Filthy, Rich and Catflap, Bottom  The New Statesman, The Comic strip Presents and his cameos on Blackadder,.  Each was funny in it's own way. 

I am embarrassed to admit that Rik Mayall's performance in the second season of  Black Adder may have influenced my language and my behavior towards women for a time. I am more embarrassed to admit that shouting WOOF WOOF to girls at parties actually got them talking to me

Oh well it was a simpler time. OK it wasn't simpler, but we were young and very drunk.  I do not condone that behavior now.  

Rik Mayall and his friends changed the face of comedy for an entire generation, and inspired a whole new generation of comics. But that was never their intent, they just wanted to entertain and make the sort comedy that made them laugh. 

He certainly made me laugh. Except today he made me a little sadder. 

RIP Rik Mayall  you were fantastic. 

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