” – and punks and skins and rastas will all gather round and hold their hands in sorrow for their fallen leader. And all the grown-ups will say, ‘But why are the kids crying?’ And the kids will say, ‘Haven’t you heard? Rick is dead! The People’s Poet is dead!’ And then one particularly sensitive and articulate teenager will say, ‘Other kids, do you understand nothing? How can Rick be dead when we still have his poems?'”
Comedy lost a hero this week. It is with a heavy heart that we say our goodbyes to Rik Mayall – the People’s Poet, the Young One, an imaginary friend; one of the most lovable comedy geniuses of the last thirty years.
It is rare to see someone’s popularity stand the test of time, and even more rare to see their jokes do the same. It is a testament to him as a person and how he revolutionised the way we write and digest comedy, from performing horrendous poetry which he made hilarious as Rik, The People’s Poet, to co-writing this stand up routine with Ade Edmondson:
Rik is someone who I had been aware of for over half of my life – The Young Ones being shown to me by one of my school friends, aged only eleven. I found him funny then, but after studying the comedy module in my final term as an undergraduate student, I feel a huge amount of respect for him, and am deeply saddened by his sudden loss.
In 2011, Rik Mayall came to Brunel University to film his interactive web drama ‘Soapopolis’, with the help of Creative Writing Subject Leader Max Kinnings and ex Pro Vice Chancellor Steve Dixon. He has been described as ‘a friend of Brunel’, and ‘an amazing person to work with’ by staff and students alike.
Rik Mayall will continue to be an icon in the world of comedy for decades to come. Those who write stand up comedy or sit-coms will still look to him for guidance and the confidence to really push the boundaries of what an audience expects.
Rik’s song ‘Nobel England’ is currently the number 1 downloaded song, head over to iTunes/Amazon to keep it there.