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‘Eat the Rich’: Cult rock and roll comedy with Lemmy, Shane MacGowan, Paul McCartney, Angela Bowie

Imagine, if you can, a country starkly divided by wealth inequality, where a small number of rich people lead lives of extravagant luxury and everyone else fights over the crumbs.

Now imagine that the most vulgar of celebrities, having ascended to high office by appealing to racist and sexist tendencies in the electorate, has announced a plan to slash health care in order to build up the military. Far from bringing him down, sex scandals only make him appear more powerful and exciting to his base. And what, exactly, is the nature of his relationship with the Russians?

Of course, I could only be talking about Nosher Powell, the real-life English boxer and actor who portrays “Cockney fascist” Home Secretary Nosher Powell in the dystopian 1987 comedy Eat the Rich. The dialogue is as quotable as that of Tapeheads or Repo Man. Early on, a diner at the posh eatery Bastards addresses a label head played by Miles Copeland:

Look, Derek, forget funk rap. It’s dead. The kids are getting hooked on socialism.

“OK, we’ll sack the blacks and sign the reds,” Copeland replies. It’s a cruel, cynical, racist—did I mention racist?—society.

The great Lanah Pillay stars as Alex, a hero for our time. Alex becomes a revolutionary after she’s fired from her waitressing job at Bastards, where she served koala and panda meat to one too many horrible jerks. And joining Lanah and Nosher from the world of UK showbiz in this movie right here is everyone and her fucking uncle: Lemmy, Shane MacGowan, Jennifer Saunders and Dawn French, Hugh Cornwell of the Stranglers, Sandie Shaw, Beatle Paul, Bill Wyman of the Stones, Koo Stark, Angela Bowie, and The Young Ones’ Rik Mayall all make appearances. Most of the soundtrack (and the soundtrack album) is by Motörhead, and at one point in the movie, Lemmy climbs onstage to play “Dr. Rock.”

More after the jump…

Posted by Oliver Hall | Leave a comment
Ugly Xmas sweater with Rick from ‘The Young Ones’
03:11 pm


The Young Ones
Rik Mayall

The last few years have seen an explosion in “ugly Christmas sweater” designs. On DM alone we’ve brought you designs keying off subjects like the Friday the 13th franchise, Blondie, Iron Maiden, Einstürzende Neubauten, and Motörhead, among many others.

It’s gotten so prevalent that we’ve actually started passing on some of them. If we showed you all of them, this would turn into a ugly holiday sweater blog, and who wants that? But every now and then, one stands out from the pack, and those we’re more than happy to show you.

The design for today isn’t actually a sweater, it’s a sweatshirt done to resemble a sweater. Not only does it feature the “People’s Poet” Rick from The Young Ones, it actually references a specific scene from “Bambi,” unquestionably one of the better episodes of the series, which only ran for 12 episodes. It premiered on the BBC on May 8, 1984, and on MTV a year or two later. That episode featured perhaps the best musical performance of the series, with Motörhead kindly obliterating “Ace of Spades.” It’s also the episode with the University Challenge competition that has the fantastic scene in which Neil preps Rick on a train on the way to the quiz show.

The line “Hands up who likes me?” is something only the desperately disliked and needy Rick would ever say, and it immediately conjures an image of the rest of the flatmates thrusting their hands down as far as possible while Rick alone pointlessly flings both of his hands above his head. The scene is exquisitely played by the entire foursome but especially Rik Mayall, also one of the main writers of the series, who sadly passed on in 2013.

Here’s the scene in dialogue form; the episode was written by Mayall, Ben Elton, and Lise Mayer with “additional material by Alexei Sayle”:

Rick: [stands up abruptly] Why don’t you like me?
Vyvyan: Because you’re a complete bastard.
Rick: Vyvyan, I’m being serious!
Vyvyan: So am I. You’re a complete bastard and we all hate you.
Rick: [shaking his head] I find that rather difficult to believe.
Vyvyan: Do you want to bet on it? I’ll put down a fiver.
Neil: Yeah, me too.
Mike: You can count me in as well.
[Vyv, Neil, and Mike put their money on the table]
Rick: Yes, eh, I…I don’t bet.
Vyvyan: Coward!
Neil: Yeah, yellow chicken!
Rick: Alright, I’m not scared!
Vyvyan: Right, then, a fiver!
Rick: Oh, I haven’t got any money.
Neil: What about that tenner I lent you this morning? For your sister’s operation?
Vyvyan: You haven’t got a sister, Rick! You’re the classic example of an only child.
Rick: Alright, alright, are we going to bet or are we going to piffle around all night? [slaps money on the table] There’s a tenner!
Vyvyan: Quiet, everybody, the bet’s on!
Rick: Right. Hands up, who likes me! [Rick throws both arms into the air, while the other three guys drop their hands to the floor] DAMN! Right, that’s it, I’m going to kill myself. [He removes his belt] Then you’ll be sorry!
Vyvyan: No, we won’t. [Rips the tenner in half and gives one half to Mike]

After this Rick becomes temporarily despondent and tries to kill himself and if you know the episode at all well you know exactly where that leads.

TeeChip is selling the sweatshirt for just $31, but you can also get the design on a shirt or mug or smartphone case if you prefer, those options are all a little less expensive. Note that you can only get them in the next two days, then the sale is over.

More after the jump…

Posted by Martin Schneider | Leave a comment
The Dangerous Brothers: That time Rik Mayall set fire to Ade Edmondson

Probably the most hazardous double act to appear on TV during the 1980s was the aptly named Dangerous Brothers—a frenetic pairing created and performed by Rik Mayall and Ade Edmondson. Mayall was the pretentious but sycophantic Richie Dangerous and Ade was the gullible yet blase Sir Adrian Dangerous.

The act was an offshoot of their original pairing in 20th Century Coyote. The Dangerous Brothers carried on with the same kind over the top violent slapstick they made famous through Rik and Vyvyan in The Young Ones and later as Richard “Richie” Rich and Edward “Eddie” Elizabeth Hitler in Bottom.

Mayall and Edmondson first met at Manchester University where both were studying drama. According to Mayall their introduction was across a crowded classroom:

It was our first lecture and the professor swept in with his flowing hair and gown and I stood up because that’s what I’d been taught at school. No one else did. And this one bloke – with long hair and John Lennon glasses and a fag in his hand and his f-ing feet on the table – just laughed at me and said, “Tosser!” That was Ade.

Maybe I always wanted to be as cool as him. Maybe that’s why I took great satisfaction in him going bald. He was always so strong and quick and self-assured. I wanted him to be my friend. I got a 2:2 in the end, which Ade won’t f-ing shut up about because he got a 2:1.

The pair shared a similar taste in cartoon comedy (Roadrunner) with a large dash of Python and a twist of Tommy Cooper. They became involved with the improvisational theater group 20th Century Coyote which soon became just Rik and Ade. By the late 1970s, they were part of the new roster of stars appearing at London’s Comedy Store. Together with Alexei Sayle, Peter Richardson and Nigel Planer (The Outer Limits), Arnold Brown and French & Saunders, they set up The Comic Strip—the foundation stone of Britain’s Alternative Comedy, blah-de-bloody-blah…
Anyhow…after conquering the known universe with The Young Ones in 1982, Mayall and Edmondson returned to the small screen with The Dangerous Brothers. They appeared on a UK version of Saturday Night LIve—imaginatively titled Saturday Live in 1985. Compered by comic in a shiny jacket Ben Elton, Saturday Live hosted “a veritable Who’s Who of Alternative Comedy.” Stephen Fry, Hugh Laurie, Morwenna Banks, Harry Enfield, Craig Ferguson and even Emo Phillips all appeared, along with too many others to mention. However, one of the highlights, nay, the highlight of the series was Richie and Sir Adrian Dangerous.

While the bulk of the show was broadcast live Mayall and Edmondson’s insert sketch as The Dangerous Brothers was previously recorded. Thankfully as it would turn out. For in their opening skit Rik set fire to Ade with near fatal consequences—as Edmondson later recalled:

I did set myself very badly on fire in a Dangerous Brothers sketch. They put this special gel on my legs, which was only supposed to go up to my knees, but I must have been feeling particularly confident that day because I told them to go all the way to the groin. I said, “If the flames come too high, I’ll shout out the special emergency code word.” The trouble was I forgot the word, so they let me burn like kindling.

Mayall was supposed to set Edmondson alight for the sketch “The Towering Inferno”—the title gives a big clue. But as the flames took hold no one noticed “that Sir Adrian’s convincingly pained expression was because the flames had started burning through his protective clothing.” Just before Edmondson was engulfed in flames, the filming stopped and the fire extinguished. Yet like real pros, they kept the fire in the final edited package… Edmondson’s legs were badly burnt and his eyebrows singed. Don’t try this at home….

More manic mayhem from the Dangerous Brothers, after the jump…

Posted by Paul Gallagher | Leave a comment
Rik Mayall’s hilariously rude correspondence to fans
12:42 pm


Rik Mayall

Rik Mayall’s untimely death has brought to light some of the late, great actor/comedian’s small acts of comedy kindness.

When a fan emailed him for an autograph in 2008, Mayall sent this hilariously rude reply:

Here you are you cheapskate money-grabbing Welsh c*nt — where’s the f*cking envelope you deformity??

Here you are Daniel, thank you so much for writing. I hope you like the picture.

Best wishes my dear friend.

Rik Mayall

It would appear Mr. Mayall liked to spread a little good will and happiness whenever he could, as he did in this response to a fan who asked for a signed birthday card for her father:

John, the whole world knows you have always been a complete and utter, utter, utter twat, but now you are an old complete and utter, utter, utter incontinent, deaf, blind, doddering, dribbling, toothless, brainless, insane old twat.

So I just thought, as we are both dangerous old bastards, that I’d wish you a very HAPPY BIRTHDAY!!! you sad senile old git.

With love and violence,

Rik Mayall


The card was sealed, so no one knew what Mayall had written, but it had the desired effect when it was opened, as the recipient’s daughter wrote on her Facebook page:

“The look on dad’s face (well ALL of our faces) was priceless.

“I’m opening up the privacy on this so if you want to share it as an example of what a lovely guy rik was, feel free to do so. Xx”

Who wouldn’t be tickled to receive that on their birthday? Here’s Rik Mayall performing some of his “poetry,” pre-The Young Ones, from way-back-when.

Via the Independent

Posted by Paul Gallagher | Leave a comment
Rik Mayall in ‘Don’t Fear Death,’ one of his final works
04:03 pm


Rik Mayall

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

Posted by Paul Gallagher | Leave a comment
Before the punk rock comedy of ‘The Young Ones’ Rik Mayall was investigative reporter ‘Kevin Turvey’
10:24 am


The Young Ones
Rik Mayall

Rik Mayall was fearless. In the early 1980s, when British stand-up comedy was chubby blokes in too tight dinner jackets telling jokes about wives, mother-in-laws and ethnic groups, Rik Mayall would walk on stage, looking like a Bowie-fan circa Heroes and recite poetry about his love for Vanessa Redgrave and the theater. Audiences were aghast and unsure whether Mayall was genuinely an angry socialist poet ranting about theater or some kind of bizarre amateur stand-up comic taking time out from his sociology degree.

Mayall was part of the disparate group of comics who were filed under “A” for “Alternative Comedy.” Ye olde comics didn’t like these cheeky young comics, because they didn’t have punchlines, and couldn’t understand why younger audiences found them funny.

From the Comedy Store in London, these Alternative comics made their early appearances on shows such as the rather excellent Boom Boom Out Go The Lights, which launched Mayall, Ade Edmondson, Keith Allen, Alexei Sayle, Nigel Planer and Peter Richardson, and (the sadly forgotten) late-nite-live entertainment series, Friday Night, Saturday Morning, hosted by amongst others, the avuncular Ned Sherrin, the man responsible for That Was The Week That Was and producing musicals like Side-by_Side by Sondheim. Friday Night, Saturday Morning gave air time to Mayall and Edmondson (as Twentieth Century Coyote) and The Outer Limits (Planer and Richardson). These four would later regroup with Keith Allen, Dawn French, Jennifer Saunders, and Robbie Coltrane as The Comic Strip Presents… for Channel 4 in 1982.

Yet, before all that, and even before Rik and co. “kicked in the doors of British comedy” with The Young Ones in 1982, Mayall starred as intrepid investigative Redditch reporter Kevin Turvey on A Kick Up The Eighties—the show which launched Tracy Ullman, Robbie Coltrane, and Mayall, alongside more established actors/performers Miriam Margolyes, Roger Sloman, Ron Bain and Richard Stilgoe. Produced by comedy supremo, Colin Gilbert for BBC Scotland, A Kick Up The Eighties was a mix of Alternative and traditional comedy, which set the tone for other sketch shows such as Naked Video, and (to an extent) even Ben Elton’s Alfresco (with Stephen Fry, Hugh Laurie, Emma Thompson, Siobhan Redmond and Robbie Coltrane).

The stand-out segment of A Kick Up The Eighties was Mayall’s superb “Kevin Turvey Investigates” which presented one of the most brilliant, original and hilarious comic creations of the 1980s. The character’s success led to a one-off “mockumentary” The Man Behind the Green Door in 1982, which starred, Mayall as Turvey, with Coltrane as Mick the lodger, Ade Edmondson as Keith Marshall, and Roger Sloman as the park keeper. The story-line is simple: Kevin investigates what’s going on around in his hometown, Redditch. The answer is “not a lot.”

It’s an astonishingly original piece of television that prefigures the style of shows like The Office, and it still retains its comic brilliance more than 30-years later. Enjoy!

Bonus clip of Rik reading his angry poetry, after the jump…

Posted by Paul Gallagher | Leave a comment