When British comedy legend Rik Mayall suddenly passed away in 2014, his closest friend and long-time comic partner Ade Edmondson was utterly devastated. In recent emotional interviews, Edmondson has opened up about the profound grief he felt losing Mayall so prematurely, while fondly reminiscing about their unforgettable friendship. For Edmondson, Mayall‘s shocking death at 56 represents the end of an era, closing the curtain on one of the greatest comedy double acts Britain has ever seen.
Before the Laughter: Early Lives of Edmondson and Mayall
To understand the depth of their bond, you have to go back to the beginning. Before they were household names and comedy icons, Rik Mayall and Ade Edmondson were just two young aspiring performers with a passion for unconventional humor.
Mayall was born in Harlow, Essex in 1958. As a child, he planned to become a professional footballer, but after attending the University of Manchester he got hooked on drama and comedy. Edmondson grew up in Yorkshire with dreams of becoming a pop star. At Manchester University in the 1970s, Edmondson first met Mayall and they immediately hit it off.
After graduating they both struggled to catch a break in showbiz. Mayall landed some minor TV roles while Edmondson formed a punk band called The Dangerous Brothers. Little did they know their paths would soon cross again in a much more fateful way.
The Birth of a Comedic Partnership
In 1980, Edmondson and Mayall reunited in London when they were both cast in the pioneering comedy series The Comic Strip Presents. Their anarchic energy and dynamic chemistry made them fast fan favorites.
This paved the way for their smash hit sitcom The Young Ones in 1982, which catapulted them to fame. Mayall played the arrogant wannabe hippie Rick while Edmondson portrayed the violent punk Vyvyan. Their absurd, chaotic exchanges became iconic.
Over the next decade, they dominated British comedy together through shows like Filthy Rich & Catflap, Bottom, and guest spots on Blackadder. Their brand of physical, slapstick humor never failed to leave audiences in stitches.
Mayall‘s Shocking Passing in 2014
On June 9th 2014, Rik Mayall unexpectedly died at home due to an acute cardiac event at only 56 years old. The news left fans and colleagues grief-stricken over the loss of such a beloved comedy force.
For Ade Edmondson, the devastation was immense. He served as a pallbearer at Mayall‘s packed funeral alongside other comedic legends like Dawn French. But Edmondson mostly grieved privately, later admitting the grief initially felt "too big" to discuss openly.
Edmondson Opens Up 9 Years Later
In September 2022, Ade Edmondson sat down for an emotional interview with BBC Breakfast to finally share his reflections on Rik Mayall‘s death. Fighting back tears, Edmondson told poignant stories highlighting their unbreakable bond.
One memorable anecdote focused on Mayall‘s forgetting lines during Bottom, which would infuriate Edmondson. Yet Mayall would respond with his trademark grin, never letting Edmondson actually stay angry. As Edmondson recalled:
“He was the most irritating man, but I couldn’t be angry with him for long.”
Edmondson compared his pain over losing Mayall to the suicides of two other close friends. While all were devastating, the grief of suicide felt far more tortuous and long-lasting.
Nonetheless, Mayall‘s shocking death severed an iconic partnership and left a hole in the world of comedy. Edmondson emphasizes that for him, it was losing a dear friend that hurt most.
Fan Reactions and Mayall‘s Enduring Legacy
While Ade Edmondson was likely hit hardest by Rik Mayall‘s passing, fans across generations also grieved the shocking loss of a comedy legend. Many consider Mayall an integral part of their childhood due to his risqué humor and over-the-top characters.
On fan forums and social media, an outpouring of tributes flooded in celebrating Mayall‘s life and work. Many expressed how shows like Bottom and The Young Ones influenced their own comedic tastes. Mayall‘s comedy style set the stage for future boundary-pushing British humor.
Other comedians also highlight the inspiration Mayall provided. Little Britain‘s David Walliams stated after his death:
“He was my generation’s Charlie Chaplin, Stan Laurel and Ernie Wise all rolled up into one.”
Though gone too soon, Mayall‘s imprint on British comedy remains indelible.
The Highs of Their Comedy Partnership
Ade Edmondson and Rik Mayall‘s explosive comedy partnership produced some of the most iconic British programming of all time. While best known for The Young Ones and Bottom, their collaboration spanned decades and led to countless accolades.
|1983||BAFTA Award||The Young Ones|
|1991||British Comedy Award||Bottom|
|1993||British Comedy Award||Bottom|
|2007||BAFTA Fellowship||Honoring Career Achievement|
Critics often credit their success to the perfect storm of contrasting personalities. Edmondson‘s angry, punk persona played brilliantly off Mayall‘s hyper, foolish characters. Beyond their professional achievements, their genuine friendship shines most brightly.
The Difficult Emotions of Grief
Psychology research shows that losing a close friend can be equally as painful as losing a family member. Edmondson‘s profound 11-year grief over Mayall‘s passing aligns with these findings.
The death of a dear friend also often represents the loss of hopes, dreams and memories tied to that relationship. Edmondson emphasizes this sense of loss in his reflections, focusing on all the potential laughs and years robbed by Mayall‘s premature death.
Grief also does not follow a set timeline or pattern, explaining Edmondson‘s lingering pain. The sadness of unresolved grief may gradually lessen, but close friendships leave an imprint not easily erased.
A Fitting, Emotional Tribute
In the end, Ade Edmondson‘s candid reflections on Rik Mayall‘s death offer the perfect tribute to their legendary friendship. Rik Mayall‘s brilliance entertained a generation, but the real magic stemmed from the sincere bond built by years of laughter and friendship.
Though the pain remains raw even 11 years later, Edmondson‘s memories provide solace by spotlighting the passion for comedy they shared. Any fan of their brilliant work feels grateful that these two comedic souls found their way together.
While Rik Mayall left this world far too soon, his spirit lives on in Ade Edmondson and the timeless comedy they created hand-in-hand. Their extraordinary partnership will never be replicated, but will continue inspiring laughter long into the future.