Actors and real-life BFFs, the late Rik Mayall and Adrian “Ade” Edmondson from their other television show, ‘Bottom.’
If you love Dangerous Minds, then it’s a safe bet that you are also fans of the much loved UK cult-comedy, The Young Ones. If you agree with that, then you are truly one of us and also perhaps a fan of the much-praised comedy series from two of the stars of the show, Rik Mayall and Adrian Edmondson that aired on BBC2 starting in 1991, Bottom. And if you’re not, you should be.
The premise of the show is sort of like a sleazier, down-low version of The Odd Couple television series starring Jack Klugman and Tony Randall. Both Edmondson and Mayall are confirmed bachelors who shack up with each other out of desperation and commit equally desperate acts of violence and trickery that often center around trying to get laid. Getting laid is something that according to the storyline has eluded Mayall’s character of “Richard “Richie” Richard” his entire life as he’s still a virgin. Edmondson’s character “Edward Hitler” is just as unhinged as his flatmate as well as being an accomplished boozehound and thief. Adding another layer of cool on Bottom is that apparently, the characters created by both actors was somewhat based on their long, real-life friendship that began back in 1975 when the two were just teenagers attending Manchester University. Mayall and Edmondson would get gigs doing stand-up and sketches as “The Dangerous Brothers” at The Comedy Store in their early 20s which would, in turn, help them get regular work on the long-running UK show, The Comic Strip Presents. Coincidentally, Edmondson would meet his future wife, Jennifer Saunders of Absolutely Fabulous fame, on the set of the show. They have been married for 32 years.
Edmondson and Mayall performing at The Comedy Store back in the day.
The show is hysterically violent and pessimistically dark, and both Mayall and Edmondson did much of the slapsticky stunts in the series themselves—such as when Edmondson fell through a ceiling in the 1992 episode “Burglary.” Only eighteen episodes ever aired before the proposed fourth series was killed by BBC. After that, the duo took Bottom on the road as a stage play which according to all reports was even more tawdry and savage when it came to the vulgar displays of aggression between both Edmondson and Mayall in the name of comedy. Then in 1999 the sad-sack characters were once again brought to life, this time for the film Guest House Paradiso (directed by Edmondson) which centered around Mayall and Edmondson as the owners of the “worst” hotel in the UK. There was some talk of bringing Bottom back—in Edmondson’s words as old men who hit each other with “colostomy bags,” but that awesomeness never materialized.
In 2012 it looked like we would get more TV hijinks from Mayall and Edmondson after their latest collaboration, a series based on the continuing exploits of their Bottom characters, Hooligan’s Island was picked up by the BBC. Sadly, Edmondson bailed on the project and as we all know Mayall would pass away suddenly in 2014 of a heart attack after returning from a run. After learning of Mayall’s death, the devastated Edmondson was quoted calling his friend a “selfish bastard” for dying without him. Amen, Mr. Edmondson.
In much happier news in 2005, Bottom: Not Another Half-Arsed DVD Set was released much to the joy of show’s legions of fans. The set contains all eighteen episodes of Bottom, as well as lots of early footage of both actors doing their stand-up and comedy acts. I’ve posted footage from Bottom below that includes a balls-out compilation of Mayall and Edmondson kicking the shit out of each other that will have you laughing so hard that you will cry. I’ve also included a 1987 film starring the forever funny pals yucking it up in Mr. Jolly Lives Next Door which was produced as part of The Comic Strip Presents. Most of what follows is pretty NSFW. YAY!
Mayall and Edmondson in character for ‘Bottom.’
Side-splitting compilation footage from ‘Bottom’ of Adrian Edmondson and Rik Mayall kicking the crap out of each other, and other random people.
“Mr. Jolly Lives Next Door” stars Rik Mayall, Adrian Edmondson, the legendary Peter Cook, and Jennifer Saunders.
Previously on Dangerous Minds:
The Dangerous Brothers: That time Rik Mayall set fire to Ade Edmondson
Sex Pistols, Clash and Motörhead covered Celtic folk style by Vyvyan from ‘The Young Ones’
That time Neil from ‘The Young Ones’ released his ‘Heavy Concept Album’
The disgusting punk brilliance of ‘The Young Ones’
Wait, what? There was a ‘secret’ fifth roommate on ‘The Young Ones’ the whole time???