You know how we’re all affected by certain celebrity deaths that shock and sadden, and knock the wind from you, making the world seem that little less exciting? Like the end of the summer holidays, or clearing up after that great party, when all the presents have been opened, the guests have all gone, the food and drink taken, and there’s only the clearing up and hangover to be faced. That’s kinda how I feel about Rik Mayall, who died today at the age of 56.
Some of you will say Elvis or Lennon or Cobain, or maybe Tupac or Winehouse or Hoffman, and of course I’ll agree, but they didn’t sink as deeply or sting as much as Mayall’s death did today. I thought him the funniest, most joyous and fearless comic I’d ever seen, and someone who was admirable because of that. He never stuck with the “a man walked into a bar” jokes,” or easy targets of politics that many of his contemporaries did, or even tried to win over the audience and pick on people for a cheap laugh, no. Rather, Mayall made himself the focus of the comedy, he was his own punchline, and as such was exuberant, joyful, yes often juvenile, and daft, but never, ever dull.
One of the last things Rik Mayall did for TV before his untimely death was to voice an animation for Channel 4 called Don’t Fear Death. Written and produced by Louis Hudson and Ian Ravenscroft, this three-minute animation explores the “benefits” of being dead, ironically suggesting that death “is your passport to complete and utter freedom. No pulse, no responsibilities. Carpe mortem – seize death.”
RIP Rik Mayall comedy genius 1958-2014.
Via Daily Telegraph, with thanks to Michael Gallagher