Spotlight – Rik Mayall

Author Unknown, dates from around 1991/2.

What’s the bottom line? Not a reference we would normally make in a family magazine but it just slipped out. Oo-er. That’s what happens when you profile Rik Mayall – You feel a Bottom joke coming on.

Cheeky! Come on, he’s been doing it for years. He’s practically got a degree in toilet humour. Well, OK, it was in drama, but it all started at Manchester University, where he and Ade Edmondson had a cabaret act called The Dangerous Brothers. Later they took it to London’s Comedy Store where Alexei Sayle and friends hung out. “They were all being really cool and telling jokes about Mrs Thatcher. We were the ones saying ‘Hello. We’re ****’” (supply your own anal expletive).

Great opening! Well, it must have struck a chord with Sayle as he went on to play their landlord in The Young Ones, the TV show Mayall wrote with former girlfriend Lise Mayer and Ben Elton. “We based them all on medical students we knew at Manchester. They were the wildest, most stupid and horrible people we knew.”

Nothing like him, then? Of course not, the name’s spelled differently. No fear of typecasting there. Rik (he changed his name from Richard) is not to be confused with Rick the ranting student or the arrogant Richie in Bottom, or even Rik ‘Smelly Pants’ of The Comic Strip’s spoof heavy metal band, Bad News. Anyway, he once played a Kevin (in A Kick Up The 80s).

A right B’Stard? No, another opinionated thicko. But few crossed his ruthless Tory MP Alan in The New Statesman and survived with their reputations intact. Except Michael Portillo, who helped with the research.

Rogue Mayall: Earlier this year he pulled a prop gun on some passers-by, prompting a nearby armed response unit to swing into action. “I was a total prat – I was lucky not to be shot. The police are there to protect us from people like me.” (where was the law when we needed them to save us from Filthy, Rich and Catflap, eh?). Mayall was letting off steam after his Cell Mates co-star Stephen Fry went AWOL from their West End play. To take his mind off it he starred in a much criticised video about drugs, Out Of My Head, cast, unusually, as Ricky, a motormouth nerd.

Not-So-Young-Ones Mayall, 37, who is currently touring with Edmondson in Bottom: The Big Number 2 Tour Live, confesses, “We have to go to the gym for three months just to be able to get on stage”. Let’s hope he doesn’t become a work out freak or the next series could be snappily retitled Gluteus Maximus.

That’s enough bottom jokes Want a bet? Father-of-two Mayall is providing the voice of the baby from hell in an anarchic Look Who’s Talking spoof called How To Be A Little Sod (Tuesday BBC1). Nappy gags guaranteed.