In praise of Rik Mayall and Ade Edmondson's Bottom

Feature Wil Jones 2 Jul 2014 - 06:54

Grimy, bleak, extremely violent and stupidly funny, Wil salutes the genius of Ade Edmondson and Rik Mayall's sitcom, Bottom...

The recent passing of Rik Mayall led to legions of fans hitting up Netflix and Youtube to relive the late comedian’s greatest moments. And while the ground-breaking 80s alternative comedy opus The Young Ones and his turn as Lord Flashheart in Blackadder seemed to be the most quoted on social media, it felt like Bottom, the grisly, profane flatshare comedy Mayall and long time collaborator Ade Edmondson made in the early 90s, was left out of the conversation. Which is a shame, because it might just be their masterpiece.

It’s kind of easy to see how Bottom got forgotten. The Young Ones was capital-I Important, not only in terms of breaking alternative comedy into the mainstream, but also as being as much a time capsule of the Anti-Thatcher zeitgeist as The Smiths or Adrian Mole. Bottom, on the other hand, was just two guys being debauched in a flat. Also, The Young Ones was aired on MTV in the USA during the 80s, giving it a small but loyal international following long before American anglophiles swapped torrents of Spaced and Garth Marenghi’s Darkplace online. Bottom, however, was rarely shown outside of the UK. (As an aside, you get the feeling that Mayall and Edmondson were unfortunately too early to capitalise on their success – had they been 15 years later they’d have been popping up in Hollywood productions with as much regularity as Simon Pegg and Ricky Gervais.)

Starting in 1991 and running for three six-episode series, Bottom starred Mayall and Edmondson as Richie Richard and Eddie Hitler respectively, two pathetic, desperate men sharing a dilapidated flat in West London. The series spun out of the pair starring in a West End production of Samuel Beckett’s classic absurdist play Waiting For Godot. (Fun fact: Mayall and Edmondson’s production of Waiting For Godot also featured a young Dean Gaffney in the cast.) While the double act of two guys brutalising each other through violent slapstick is something that Mayall and Edmondson used throughout their career, from their early days as The Twentieth Century Coyote at The Comedy Store, through The Young Ones and even lesser-remembered vehicles such as Filthy, Rich & Catflap, it’s the Godot-influenced existential woes and nihilism which makes Bottom possibly the most interesting thing either of them ever did.

British sitcoms have long tradition of focusing on desperate, unsuccessful people, from Basil Fawlty to Alan Partridge to David Brent, and it’s often been said that the difference between UK and American comedy is that the Brits focus on losers whereas the Americans have happy protagonists (well, at least until The Bluths and Larry David came along). But Bottom goes so much further than that.

A contemporary sitcom that Bottom has obvious analogues with is Peep Show. Both revolve around two single males sharing a flat in London, nominally failing at life and having an underlying co-dependent relationship with each other. The central pair in both shows also share similar archetypes – both Richie and Mark Corrigan are somewhat uptight, unsuccessful with the opposite sex and hamstrung by a weird sense of doing what’s deemed ‘proper’ by society; whereas Jez and Eddie Hitler are both reckless, ditch all responsibility and seemingly rely on the other party to sort out all of life’s necessities.

Yet Bottom seems like a gonzo, OTT pastiche of Peep Show, despite being made a decade earlier. Mark is eventually able find a girl as lovely and perfect for him as Dobby (even if he ultimately screws that up) and Jez is able to get with the sexy Russian next door (even if he ultimately screws that up as well). Richie and Eddie, however, are violent anti-social losers with no jobs and seemingly hated by everyone they know. Mark Corrigan might be a boring history nerd who’s crap with girls, but Richie is a literal virgin and compulsive masturbator. Beta-male Corrigan attempts (and fails) to live up to his domineering father’s perception of a real man; Bottom pushes this concept of being crippled by social expectations a million miles further - Richie delusionally insists on doing things the ‘proper, English way’ oblivious (or in denial) to the squalor he lives in, adhering to some nonsensical, parodic stereotype of Britishness – insisting on watching cricket or playing charades at Christmas, despite the fact he’s really a sleazy perv. Jez thinks he’s an amazing musician but its funny because he’s terrible and he should grow up and get a real job; Eddie is a barely coherent, violent alcoholic who drinks cleaning products.

One of the bleakest things in the show is that Richie and Eddie are always wearing shirts and ties (Eddie is even usually wearing a suit). Why are they always dressed up when they clearly have nowhere to go? Of course, they look terrible, but it’s what they think they should be wearing, the symbolism of being smart. No one is coming to see them and no one would be impressed by their dress if they did, but it’s the delusions that they (especially Richie) should be doing what’s proper, regardless of who’s around to check up on them. It’s crushing when you think about it.

Richie and Eddie don’t even seem to be friends. Richie tries to be courteous to Eddie due to his own misplaced pompous hubris, but actually just hates his guts for being a lazy drunk, for giving him an empty miniature of Malibu for Christmas, for choosing to eat the entire contents of the neighbour’s fridge when he’s supposed to be stealing their gas supply, and for all the other times he’s ruined Richie’s otherwise perfect plans. Eddie is even more brazen about his hatred for Richie. He actively excludes him from his schemes (like printing fake money), is embarrassed by him when Spudgun and Dave Hedgehog (Eddie’s only two friends) come round, and he’ll gleefully electrocute him or drop a fridge on his face at any opportunity.

Yet they seem to rely on each other. There’s nothing to forcing them to stay together (apart from probably not having anywhere else to live), but they stay together anyway. A decade later Judd Apatow would popularise the bromance concept, but Richie and Eddie are far past that stage. They are a bickering husband and wife who hate each other but have invested too much time together and the only other option is being alone. It’s the sort of relationship you see in 70s sitcoms where the husband can’t wait to get away from the ball and chain and sneak off down the boozer. Richie has long hair and is frequently referred to as she or her, and Spudgun and Dave Hedgehog have a tendency to call him ‘the wife’. In the Christmas episode, Richie even briefly thinks he’s the reincarnation of the Virgin Mary – fulfilling both his delusions of grandeur and justifying why he’s never had sex. (Interestingly, in the episode where Richie and Eddie pretend to be a married couple, it’s Eddie who dons the dress. But even then, he infuriates Richie but flirting with a saucy barman in order to get free drinks.)

It’s not just that the two central characters are horrible, hopeless losers. The entire programme creates a beautifully bleak milieu. The show's setting - Hammersmith in West London – is almost a character itself. It does date the show a little – with average house prices in the capital now hitting £600,000, West London flats are more likely to be populated by yuppies or oligarchs these days – but it’s a surprisingly honest (if totally over the top) portrayal of working class London. There’s a definite through-line from Steptoe And Son, another West London-set sitcom about two desperately unhappy men trapped together with no hope of social mobility (both shows also namecheck Queens Park Rangers).

There’s a real sense of tragedy around the show’s cast, not just Eddie and Richie. Eddie’s two friends, the wonderfully named Spudgun and Dave Hedgehog, are equally as tragic. Spudgun is a lonely overweight guy with no personality; Dave Hedgehog (played by Young Ones alumni Christopher Ryan) has a life slightly less terrible – he apparently has a wife and kids, though he constantly seems to be oblivious to the fact he is married, and can’t even remember the word ‘wife’, let alone her name. Dick Head, the landlord of the local pub, is a horrible man who only shows compassion when asked about his (very unsuccessful) trial with QPR. They are joined by incidental characters consisting of psychotic hardmen, ultraviolent local kids, unhygienic kebab shop proprietors and the occasional normal person, who wanders into the squalor and is disgusted by what they find.

It’s a horrible world, rarely portrayed like this in any other medium. Bottom is a show about lonely, middle-aged daytime drinkers who haunt grimy pubs and park benches. It doesn’t glamourise life. It’s nasty, unpleasant, and makes Bukowski look like The Wolf Of Wall Street. It's about sad people trapped in a nightmare of booze and social inequality. In one of its most telling scenes, Dave Hedgehog’s daughter turns up to bring him home, as her mum doesn’t like dad hanging around the “weirdos' house” after dark. We all knew the weirdos we stayed away from growing up. Bottom is about those weirdos.

And we’ve gotten this far without mentioning the greatest thing about Bottom – the violence. It’s slapstick in the great tradition of Laurel and Hardy, The Three Stooges and Inspector Clouseau, but with the violence and gore spectacularly amped up. It does to Laurel and Hardy what Itchy and Scratchy does to Tom and Jerry. Every episode explodes into several moments of staggering violence, with Eddie’s legs being chainsawed off and stitched back on the wrong way, fingers being lost, umbrellas being gouged into groins, and genuinely sickening burn make-up after someone is in an explosion or set on fire (which happens rather regularly). Mayall and Edmondson really sell the physical rough and tumble of it, really throwing themselves at each other – in 2004 Edmondson told The Mirror that over the course of their career they ended up in casualty five times, just from taking things too far. The fact that they suffered real injuries puts the show more on a par with something like Jackass or hardcore pro-wrestling, getting a gut physical reaction out of the audience as opposed to just laughing at slapstick.

While The Young Ones wasn’t exactly short on such violence, it was relatively bloodless. Bottom, on the other hand was not shy to have blood (and even limbs) splattering everywhere. Mayall and Edmondson’s comedy definitely evolved from slapstick to splatterpunk - there’s stuff in those 18 episodes that Peter Jackson or Sam Raimi would be proud of. It’s not just that it’s hilarious, though. Combined with the desperation and depression of the subject, the extreme violence takes on a transgressive dimension. The depiction of the situation Eddie and Richie are stuck in, one which many lonely, drunk people are in real life (albeit not the in the hyper absurd reality of Bottom), is presented as so soul-crushing that nihilistic violence is the only means of release. It’s a common literary device, from A Clockwork Orange to American Psycho, but it’s heady stuff for a 90s BBC Two sitcom.

Due to a lack of international exposure and its crude subject matter, Bottom will probably always be treated as somewhat of a guilty pleasure. And to a generation of kids who were probably too young to be watching (myself included), it will always be that amazing show with the violence and the dirty jokes. But just as The Young Ones is critically acknowledged to be a clever TV programme pretending to be a dumb one, so was Bottom. It deserved to be re-evaluated, as it had far more going on than just Rik Mayall being kicked in the nuts.

Rik Mayall being kicked in the nuts is pretty brilliant on its own, though.

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Disqus - noscript

"Would you like a cup of tea, Mr Burglar? (Eddie! Which one's got the poison in?)"
"The yellow one"
...
"They're ALL yellow."
"Well it's one of them then."
"Yes, but which one?!"
"The - One - With - The - Poi - son - In!!"

Still like the fact it was originally to have been called "Your Bottom". Mayall and Edmondson thought it would be fun for people to say things like "I saw your bottom on TV last night!" They also toyed with "My Bottom" which would have tripped up the continuity announcer! Great sitcom. Loved the very underrated Filthy, Rich and Catflap - which in retrospect is a kind of halfway house between The Young Ones and Bottom.

Loved this series I used to watch as a kid and never got the dirty jokes the violence was so over the top it never got to me a true classic

Fantastic article. I've seen every episode more times than I can count, and if I think about it, Bottom is my Star Wars (I never expected to be saying that today).

I've always believed that Bottom hides a deep, meaningful parody beneath its violent, dumb exterior. Some of the greatest moments for me include Rik declaring that "We are men of science!" in a sex shop, intimidating the bound and gagged burglar, and the whole episode camping out on Wimbledon Common: "Of course there's something out there. You can't expect the universe and its entire contents to be contained in this tent".

I love the live shows too although they have a completely different energy to them, but the TV shows are magnificent in a way I cannot define.

Richie: What about "Pin the Tail on the Donkey"?Eddie: We haven't got a donkey.Richie: Well, "Pin the Tail on the Chicken"Eddie: We haven't got a tail.Richie: Oh. Well, "Pin the Sausage on the Chicken"?Eddie: We haven't got a chicken.Richie: (Annoyed) Well, "Pin the Sausage on the Fridge".Eddie: Or a pin.Richie: (Angrier) "Sellotape a Sausage to the Fridge"!Eddie: We haven't got a sausage!Richie: (shouting) "Put a Bit of Sellotape on the Fridge"!Eddie: (Beat) It's not much of a game, is it?

As a kid the most impressive thing about this show for me were the 2 episodes where Richie and Eddie not only didn't have any extra characters to interact with, but never changed location. I remember one where they spent the whole half hour stuck forgotten at the top of a ferris wheel after the fair closed, and another where the first 10 minutes were just them looking out their window at a riot talking about what they were seeing. Even the rest of that episode kept them in the flat. This is something the first live show kept, and i think that made it superior to the others (although I understand why they had to change locations in the other 2).

To me it is the mark of truly great writing and performance that a story can be so good without different places or people to keep it interesting.

No mention for "Bottom Live"? In my opinion head and shoulders above the TV show :)

This was the clip I posted when Rik died, always makes me laugh. Comedy genius. The show is definitely under appreciated and deserves to be ranked as one of the great all time British sitcoms.

I miss you Mr. Mayall. It's going to be a while before I can enjoy my Young Ones and Bottom DVD's without feeling a very real sadness. You made me laugh through all of my recalled life. Great piece as usual DoG.

ITS THE GASMAN!

This show is nothing short of genius! Purile genius, but if you don't like it you can f**k off! as I feel Rik would have put it!

"Do... you... have... someone... who... looks... after... you? Could... I... see... them... please? Because I need to read... the... meter?"

I cry with laughter every time I see this episode.

I love the episode 'Contest' from Series 1. No outlandish concept, characters, locations or hair brained scheme. Just the two of them in the flat getting right under each others skin. The show distilled right down to its very essence. Wonderful.

Just burst out laughing at work while I read this...

I'll always love Bottom (ooer) as it's just one of those shows that seems to get a real, honest belly laugh from me every time. I was far too young to watch it when it was on TV but my parents let me anyway, knowing full well that the rude jokes would go over my head. I just loved the OTT violence. A friend of the family used to lend us his live tour videos and they were just as funny. Now I'm all grown up and having worked in a bar and known people just like the four main characters I've appreciated it so much more than I used to. I just love the idea of that lonely world where these two bums are trapped in this cycle of mutual hate for each other and the banter that follows. It's the same reason why I love the first two seasons of Red Dwarf – Cat aside, it's just two guys all alone at the end of the world trying not to kill each other. The fact that they find themselves in such absurd situations makes it even funnier.

My favourite will always be the Carnival episode. Half of it is just Richie and Eddie sitting at a window watching the riots going on but the dialogue is perfect. Characters that are so comfortable with each other that they can happily put their bickering aside to watch Aswad being thrown through the window of Curry's and policemen being set on fire.

Brilliant

I salute this brilliant article. Long live Bottom. Those sad sad wankers.

Bottom was pure genius. And it was even better on stage.

Richie: Did you see the floats?
Eddie: Nah I thought I flushed it!

The best show the Beeb ever had in our opinion as a family! We still watch it now ....never gets old xx

Such a good show, I particularly love the Halloween episode 'terror', where Eddie encourages Richie to use the cattle prod despite it electrocuting him repeatedly.
That and they got beaten up by some kids.

Wow, just wow! This is the kind of article I've been waiting bloody donkey years to read! I've always hated the fact that Bottom never quite got the credit that it truly deserved. It is quite simply one of my favourite, if not THE favourite, sitcoms ever made. I could never get tired of slapping an episode on the box and just grinning and laughing with pure glee. Beyond the hilarious ultraviolence and bizarre situations, I'm always in awe of the astounding perfomance both portray, particularly Mayall's. Just as Rowan Atkinson is rightly celebrated for his comedic re-engineering of the English language, so too should Rik Mayall be recognised for his sheer earnest role of the greatest loser in British comedy history. I'll always shed a few tears at the thought that the much-mooted Bottom revival will now never happen. Bravo, Sir, bravo for this important highlighting of a television comedy masterpiece!

Will add my congrats on a well written & enjoyable article. I absolutely love this show. Watched it with my wife when it first aired, we were in our early 20s, and it was the best thing on TV back then... OK, one of the best things. Seen it so many times since and it never ceases to have us in stitches, even though we know what's going to happen. Such a well written, well performed show, I look forward to many repeat viewings throughout the rest of my life :)

And they still managed to get the usual bottom fights etc whilst on that ferris wheel.

Great Article. I loved the TV Show every episode is pure comedy gold. I also had the pleasure of going to the 3rd live show, we got front row seats and after the show i also happened to met Rik and Ade a great memory i will never forgot.
I am off now to go get my Cheese & Onion union jack tickler!!!!

Bottom was always my favourite. It shaped my young, fragile development probably more than any other comedy or TV show.

'No, Eddie, it's Swedish LEGENDS in blackcurrent jam MAKING!'

a friend of mine could not watch the rest of the episode for laughing after the frying pan bit. After he went bus surfing of course

The furry honeypot adventure was a let-down too

"Ohh Mr. Hitler, do you know anything about gas leaks?"

Bottom is and probably always will be mine & my sisters favourite TV show. Utterly utterly brilliant.

Hole, the first episode of series 3 (The one on the ferris wheel) literally is the best 30 minutes of TV I will see.

" I am a sad orphan...GIVE ME SOME MONEY YOU OLD BITCH! "

Bottom is very much beloved by me and I'll re-watch my box set when it won't feel quite so sad to do so. Me and my mates always loved it.

LOL

Very well written! You somehow manage to put the magic of Bottom into words, and that deserves praise. Thank you.
For me, it will always be the first episode I ever saw. I fondly remember the eloquent line: "GASMAN!!!! GASMAN!!! GASMAN!!!"

mind the window.... what?
mind the window..... pardon?

"The Dangerous Brothers" on FNL seemed to be the Bottom birth (!) but like Black Adder, the characters were originally reversed.
Sir Adrian Dangerous was the fall guy, as was the original Black Adder - but when they shifted Rick/Baldrik to the fall guy - it let the actors indulge in what they were best at, playing the dominated "nice guy".

There were moments of pure discomfort in Bottom though (oooh-errrr!) and that's what made it both watchable and unwatchable. You couldn't turn over, but you really couldn't look directly at the Bottom.

trick or treat just cash no sweets

I like the fact the titles of the episode are a word that can be used with Bottom in a way. S'up, Gas, Smells etc

It is my favourite, and always has been. When I was depressed and alone, millions of miles from home in the early '90s, it was only the BBC script books of seasons 1 and 2 that kept me sane.

'Why does he keep fouling himself?'

LOL!!!

FYI. Bottom was huge with a certain age in New Zealand too. It's considered on par with Young Ones and Filthy Rich among those I know. Both Bottom and Filthy Rich were screened in NZ in the late 80's. The Bottom Live shows are epic as well!

"How do you know these things?"

"I'm Death!"

"Oh, I'm sorry. HOW DO YOU KNOW THESE THINGS?!"

Although Bottom was (and still is) hugely funny, 'Mr. Jolly Lives Next Door' will always be their magnum opus in my eyes. It has all the violence and drunkenness you could ever want, while being endlessly quotable.
Really enjoyed this piece though, made me want to sit down a watch the whole series again (and a. Couple of the live shows).

(reading an inflatable sex doll box) - " She's a busy girl, it says here she has three working offices!"

Don't get me wrong i like The Young Ones but to me it doesnt come close to being as good at bottom and the 5 live shows. I can watch bottom over and over again it's just that funny :) Shame the new seasons/show didnt happen afterall :(

Bottom undoubtedly has to be the best show of its genre. Funnier than Young Ones and Filthy Rich & Catflap, and more violent. Having grown up on a diet of Tom & Jerry and the proper Looney Toons(not the modern crap), this show had it all. Sheer comedy genius. Even my dad, who is 75 laughs like an idiot at them. I have all the DVD's which are even better, showing stuff that was cut out of some of the TV shows and had the pleasure of seeing them live, a show which still ranks above any other comedy performance I've seen, including Billy Connolly, Peter Kay and Eddie Izzard. Their ad-libs and one liners were excellent. I was gutted when the new series that was being planned was canned by Edmondson.
Best episode? Tough call. Riot was great and holds a special place in my heart, but S'out, when they are camping is the best. Utterly violent, silly and hilarious, especially as it wasn't shown 1st timeout due to the broadcast date being very close to the sad murder of Rachel Nichol on Wimbledon common.
The show, and Rik Mayall will be missed.

and that squeaky floorboard

"Cheesy dip? Yeah me too I think there's something going around at the moment"
"EDDIE EDDIE IT'S TALKING TO US AGAIN"

Dick: "What's this?"
Eddie: "It is a one hundred and thirty seven krugerrand note."
Dick: "Bloody hell! Is that Dick Emery? I didn't know he could ride."
Eddie: "No, he's not riding... That's Princess Anne."

Always seems to be repeated on GOLD so naturally never miss Bottom. Oooer.

There is also a great episode spent entirely (I think) in a park on Wimbledon common, they go camping and have to fend for themselves, one of the best

Love this show so much! RIP Rik...:(( you bastard!! *cries*

I watched Bottom in my teens more than every other TV show put together.
For a core group of young teen boys from country South Australia in the early-mid 90's, Bottom was the greatest thing ever made.

Bottom's Out. My fave episode. The whole set piece with the perv on the common is a masterpiece!

Since when was Bottom 'forgotten'? By who? You don't need a daft premise to gush over this fantastic comedy!

Don't forget they took Richie and Eddie to the movies with Guest House Paradiso, ok it might not have translated well to the big screen compared to Bottom and their surnames were changed but it's still them.

God bless you Eddie Elizabeth Ndingombaba and RIP Richard Twat (pronounced Thwaite).

Ps. Never, never, never personally introduce me to anyone called Thwaite ever again.........

Bottom was brilliant. Saw Bottom live 4 times and loved every bit!

This is a really, really good piece. I was mad on Beckett around this time and saw Godot in all of it. Brilliant show, hugely overlooked because of the violence and wank gags.

lol I was reading that with the voice of richy and eddie talking

Nebushi shang hong.

When they went on tour With Hooligan Island I was lucky enough to get tickets. That has to be the funniest, gut aching 90 minutes of comedy I've ever seen. Mayall & Edmondson fed off each other and improvisation was also a key part. I've been watching the Bottom series on Netflix and still laugh loudly.

Best show ever!
Never a guilty pleasure for me. Proud to be a fan, Good article except the line is ''Mum doesn't like dad staying round the loonies house after midnight" sorry to be pedantic but I can't help but mention it.
So sad to hear about Rik.

>it’s often been said that the difference between UK and American comedy is that the Brits focus on losers whereas the Americans have happy protagonists (well, at least until The Bluths and Larry David came along)>

I don't know about that. "The Honeymooners" could be downright grim. One episode featured Ralph and Alice adopting a baby, only to have the biological mother beg for her child back. Ralph screamed and bellowed and Alice sat at the table in despair. "We have to give the child back, Ralph. I know how much I love the baby after her being in our lives a few hours. What is the mother going through?" Ralph agrees to arrange the return, and Alice is left alone sobbing gently.

"Married With Children", "Buffalo Bill", "Life Of Riley" - heck, watch "Leave It To Beaver" sometime. That so NAILED being a suburban boy. It reeks of nihilism.

Great. Another French bastard!

One of my favourite exchanges from one of my favourite episodes 'Contest'....
Richie - "Right, that's it! Get out of my house!"
Eddie - "I beg your pardon?"
Richie - "You heard"
Eddie - "No I didn't"
Richie - "Well, i'm not saying something like that twice young man"
Eddie - "I cant do anything about it then can I?"
Fantastic writing. Mayall and Edmundson really were a comedy dream team. RIP Rick.

If you like Mr Jolly you should follow @DreamytimeE on Twitter! It's the pinnacle of twittering!

Loved it. One of the few things me and my twin brother both enjoyed.

Oh my gosh, I totally remember that and being annoyed about it not being shown in that horribly self centred, selfish way 16 year olds can be.

To me Bottom will always be their definitive work. I was waaay way way too young to be watching it when it first aired; must have been about 7 when it started and about 11 when it finished. That didn't stop me however. More disturbingly, that didn't stop my mother from letting me.

I must have seen each episode an ungodly amount of times now and I never get bored of them. My favourite episode has always been 'S Out; "WOMBLE!!" still has me in fits of laughter every time I hear it.

After Bottom I followed the Live shows as best I could for someone so young at the time. I still remember owning a battered VHS copy of Hooligans Island that I would watch repeatedly, much to families annoyance. I admit the shows generally lost a lot of quality as the years pass by, but I still watch them all fairly regularly.

Eddie and Richie were two of the most defining characters of my childhood. It shaped my humour, my taste in comedy and to some extent my somewhat anarchic and anti-establishment tendencies. When I hear of actors/entertainers/musicians/artists dying I think its a shame but it doesn't affect me much beyond that. When I found out Rik Mayall died it was like a kick to the gut. Never before had the passing of a celebrity affected me so much.

Its a show that defies logic, and certainly doesn't need a 2000 word article written about it on why it was so funny (although I can understand why it was written and to give Bottom a platform anywhere is ok with me!)? To analyse it is to rob it of its genius. There has never, and will never be a duo like Eddie and Richie. RIP comedy.

I don't know a single person who undervalues Bottom. It's one of the greatest sitcoms of all time. The episode called Conest (where they play chess) is one of my favourite things that's ever been on TV.

I've always thought the ferris wheel was the absolute best episode. as hilarious as the series is, the fact that this episode is half hour with no time jumps and no other characters, and yet sustains the entertainment and humour throughout - it's a superb feat of writing and performance.

YES! YOU MUST! YOU MUST DRINK OUR TEA! - how Mayall screams that line still absolutely kills me

'Its the best tea in London'
'but its cold'
'that's right..we drink it cold?'
'Because we don't use Gas....because we don't know what it is'

So how do you say warm?

We Make Love!

Are you a member of the Occult?

What did you call me?

anyway it says it here in the dictionary ...and jesus wrote this

Lets head off down Chief Mutubutlazee cul-de-sac...there loaded down there!

did you see me hitting that really little one?

'hello Jolly'

'fxxk off'

que - Tom Jones....Not Unusual

'Your papers upside down'

'So are my eyes!'

Don't worry I have a Oddbins catalog with me...that should keep me going for a few hours

Fantastic article, but omitted one of the most painful of all their exchanges.

Richie: Why can't we ever bloody win anything?
Eddie: Oh, don't be stupid Richie. People like us aren't meant to win things.
Richie: Well what are we meant to do then?
Eddie: Look, you get born, you keep your head down, and then you die. If you're lucky.

*sobs*

Saw Godot a couple of years ago on stage with Patrick Stewart and Ian Mckellan, and it too hit me like a thunderbolt

"The newspaper is upside down"
"So are my eyes".

The camping episode with the wombles and the flasher - dear God. So good.

My fave was the chess one; they spend the whole time building up to playing the game, only to reveal in the last minute that - SPOILERS - Ritchie has no idea how to play. I'm hoping to watch that again - haven't seen it since the original airing.

The ending is superb too. Stepping out onto the hand of God, saved by God himself, only to ruin it by saying "Hang on, we don't actually believe in God do we?" The hand disappearing and they plumet. Brilliant.

"We are men of science. " That first episode "Smells" nailed it from the off. Kevin McNally (Gibbs in Pirates of the Caribbean films) was excellent as the sex shop keeper.
Eddie: Is this a sex shop?
Shop Keeper: Yes.
Eddie: I'll have five pounds worth then please.
Shop Keeper: Very droll. I've never heard that before.
Eddie: Would you like to hear it again?
Shop Keeper: Frankly sir, I'd rather have a pineapple inserted very violently into my rectum.
Eddie: You've been working here too long mate.

"IS THERE SOMEONE WHO LOOKS AFTER YOU?"

Two genious comedians at the top of their game. Filthy Rich and Catflap equally as good though and everyone should check that out.

ahhhhh - monica. Come with me to the love grotto behind the sofa

This show did make me laugh so hard back then(but then so did men behaving badly!) Bottom though dous have a kind of timeless feel to it though and is very re0watchable even now.

I agree with the article that Bottom was the best thing they ever did together (or separately) even though Rik did many great things that were almost as good, and still much better than most of their contemporaries. "bottom" is up there with Fawlty Towers, I'm Alan Partridge and The Office for classic, proper funny, comedy genius style comedy.

However I do take offence at comparing it to 'peep show' as I abhor David Mitchell and think while it's full of supposedly clever bits it's really just an annoying wannabe comedy based on the greats that came before it. Please don't sully Rik Mayalls legacy again by ever mentioning the whiny rat faced David Mitchell in the same sentence... cheers! :)

Anyway, RIP RIK, it's still so incredibly sad that he's gone so young, and he's missed greatly by so many people. He was the guy who shook up TV in the early 80s and allowed everything that came after to be 'acceptable'. The guy is a genuine legend and a lovely bloke (I luckily met him aftershow on his new statesman tour in 2007 and he was very humble and welcoming to the small pocket of fans who gathered at the stage doors).

For me there is Rik Mayall, Steve Coogan, Ricky Gervais, Pemberton/Shearsmith, Sacha Baron Cohen (and Vic and Bob to some extent) ,as the true modern british comedy genius legends (with Python before them as the godfathers)

Mitchell and Webb, and idiots like Noel Fielding need not apply, It can't get any better than the above.

Awesome, just like pretty much every damn scene in the show.

The one that always gets me is such a subtle line but I crack up for hours about it. Simply asking Eddie to pass him some eggs and Eddie throws them into the frying pan where they smash and skip out again, Richie replies (in his usual optimistic and slightly camp tone) "Ah Eddie the old ones really are the best"

It shouldn't even be that funny but it just is. Hilarious, thanks to the man delivering the lines.

God I miss you Rik. :(

When I first saw 's Out' when it was broadcast, I swear I nearly had a cardiac arrest from laughing so much. Definitely one of the top 3 episodes but they were all so good.

The bit that got me was the relentless mishaps in the sequence where Richie keeps having painful things happen to him while trying to use the blow dart, culminating in having to bend over, pointing at his bottom and saying to eddie in a restricted husky grunt (cos the dart is lodged in his throat) "get it out.. get it out...."

The man knew how to make comedy!!

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