Bottom are Just Tops

by Rik Mayall Interviews And Articles Archive Blog

Relax, 29th September 2001

The Madcap TV Duo Return with Live Show

Sensless violence, farting, a testical canon, and 478 gallons of homemade banana and raisin ouzo — yes you’ve guessed it Richie and Eddie are back.

The hilarious duo, who first rose to fame on then cult TV series, Bottom have been making then’ usual mess — live on stage — on their brand new tour which begin in Sunderland last week.

The key to their success is a well kept secret, but they freely admit that never before has there been such a despicable pair of chancers who have made it to the top of the entertainment industry.

Ade Edmondson reckons that they’ve endured because they enjoy performing so much.

“The secret is we’re out for a good time”, he said.

“On stage, we just want to generate hysteria. We don’t care about looking good or posing.

“We don’t have any agenda, apart from “please laugh your b***ocks off”. There are no rules — we just go from moment to moment trying to crank up the excitement in the crowd”.

Every two years, the pair take the show on tour for what has been described by one critic as slapstick comedy on acid.

It’s huge popularity ensures that it always sells out venues — at the same time setting new records in video sales.

The live show comes after a hilarious and successful television show.

And Rik Mayall has his own theory on why the madcap duo are so popular. “You have to surrender to Bottom in order to enjoy it”, he explains. “You have to completely let go and swim in it.

“If you don’t, it just looks like a collection of fart jokes — like jazz might look like a collection of notes.

“But if you immerse yourself in it and just go with the flow, it’s there for your pleasure.”

Well aware of how bizarre the show is, Mayall reckons the success lies with how basic the humour is.

“Bottom is just a stupid, stupid cartoon full stupid jokes told with tremendous panache.

It’s absolute b**locks told in perfect rhythm.

“People have trouble with it because comedy’s been intellectualised about an awful lot during the last fifteen years.

“But when you get down to it, all you’re watching is a couple of guys being stupid and hitting each other.

“The French love us, of course. Its attraction is complete escapism.

“It’s like forget about the day’s work and just laugh your tits off”. The duo also believe that the reason why people can connect with their slapstick antics is because at the end of it all, they are really lust a pair of lonely lost souls.

“Richie’s loneliness is at the root of his unhappiness”, Mayall explains.

“The fact that he never gets off with anyone is important; it’s the engine for many of his plans.

“Richie will always be alone because his self regard is so inexhaustible”.

Meanwhile, Edmondson assess his character saying, “Eddie’s philosophy is that you’re born, you keep your head down and then you die — if you’re lucky”.

“The comedy comes from the fact that both Eddie and the audience know that he’ll never achieve anything”.

Bad press doesn’t phase the hilarious duo either as Mayall explains. “Journalists ask me why we keep telling the sarne old fart joke which is utter bollocks because we wrote a new one fifteen years ago.

“Also, critics say we always do fart jokes. but that’s absolute rubbish. There’s a brilliant piss joke in the show”.

And for fans of the show, there’s no chance of the double act splitting up and going their separate ways.

Mayall reassures saying, “I may go off and have other adventures, but my greatest pleasure, my raison d’ete, has always been my double act with him.

” It’s like that line from Tom Stoppard — What happens to old actors? — Nothing, they’re still acting.

“We’ll never stop, we wouldn’t know hour to retire”.