Adrian Edmondson’s First Public Interview Since Rik’s Death (Rik Mayall 7.3.58-9.6.14)

Here is a recent interview with Adrian Edmondson, with pictures I have added, courtesy of The Guardian.

Ade Edmondson: ‘I never laughed as hard as I did with Rik’

Ahead of appearing in stage play Neville’s Island in the West End, Ade Edmondson reflects on his life and work, and on the recent deaths of three close friends, including his Young Ones co-star Rik Mayall.
By Elizabeth Day. The Guardian. Sunday 19 October 2014.
ade edmondson interview
Ade Edmonson: ‘Rik’s death is just enormous. I haven’t talked to anyone other than close friends about it. I’m just completely awash, still. I don’t know where I am with him. ’ Photograph: Karen Robinson

Ade Edmondson doesn’t think of himself as a comedian. In fact, he’s pretty sick of the whole comedy thing.

“I mean, I know I did ‘The Young Ones’ and ‘Bottom’ and various other outings but… I never felt like a comedian,” he says. “I never stood up and cracked gags. I’ve always been part of a double act or a fiction.” He shifts in his chair. He is dressed relatively soberly in a moss-green corduroy jacket of the sort one imagines being worn by a character inThe Archers. The only mild hint of comedic zaniness is provided by a pair of blue-and-white striped socks. “Do you call Ronnie Barker a comedian?” he asks.

Yes, I say, I do.

Edmondson nods, taking this in. “You see, I think he’s better than that.” He gives a short, sharp burst of laughter.

We are talking in a spartan dressing room in the Duke of York’s theatre in London where Edmondson, 57, will soon be appearing on stage in Neville’s Island, a comic play about a disastrous corporate team-bonding exercise that has recently transferred to the West End from Chichester, where it got rave reviews.

On the dressing table there is a welcome hamper left by the theatre management and a silver watch from Marks & Spencer worn by his character on stage. Otherwise, the room is bare. Edmondson is not one of those actors who likes to stick good-luck cards around the mirror or fill the surfaces with bunches of flowers and children’s drawings. He says he doesn’t want it to feel like home. This is simply where he comes to do a job. And that job, he insists, is absolutely Not Comedy.

“When people say ‘comedian’, I think ‘standup’, and I find standup immensely dull,” he says. “I don’t know why people bother going to watch it. You can have wittier conversation around a dinner table.”

But there’s obviously an appetite for it, I say. Look at all those sellout shows in the O2 with Michael McIntyre.

“Yeah, I don’t know what people think when they go. No one in particular, I just find it dull as an art form. Twenty minutes is all right, you know, but then I wish they’d bring on the spoon-bender or the dancers or do something else – make a variety show of it. But going and seeing a comic for an hour, then going for a drink, then going and watching him for another hour? You think: Christ, will this never end? Even if they’re really good! Even if they’re brilliant! An hour’s enough. I mean, two boiled eggs, that’s enough. You don’t need four boiled eggs do you?”

Still, he concedes that he enjoys a good double act, which is lucky because he was part of one himself and is married to Jennifer Saunders, one half of French and Saunders, and one of his co-stars in Neville’s Island is Robert Webb, one half of Mitchell and Webb (his other co-stars in the play are Miles Jupp and Neil Morrissey).

“There’s a dynamic between the pair, which is infinitely more interesting than one person’s psychosis or whether their girlfriend’s left them or not,” he explains.

Despite being resolutely determined not to become known as a comedian, Edmondson sort of fell into it anyway. He went to the University of Manchester to do a drama degree in 1976 and originally set out to be a serious actor.

“I thought I would go to the RSC and play Hamlet,” he recalls. But the easiest way to get an Equity card was to do a comic skit in a local jazz club so he got together with his best friend at the time to invent an act. And then, he says, “we kind of got sidetracked”.

The “we” is dropped softly into the conversation. It is a word Edmondson uses cautiously and with obvious reticence. Clearly, it still causes him pain. For many years, Edmondson’s partner in comedy was Rik Mayall, whom he met at university and who became his best friend and long-term collaborator. Together, they wrote and starred in some of the most popular alternative comedy programmes of the 1980s, including The Comic Strip Presents… and The Young Ones. In 1991, they teamed up again to write Bottom, which was a cult hit and ran for four years, spawning a stage show and a spin-off movie, Guest House Paradiso.

Their writing routine, Edmondson says now, consisted of “[a] couple of hours in the morning, off to the pub with a piece of paper and a pen, get pissed, write a load of bollocks, come back, tear that up and do some more the next morning”. And yet, amid the drunken rambling, there would always be a glimmer of something that survived the editing process – which probably accounts for Bottom’s unique brand of violent slapstick and crude hilarity.

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Waiting For Godot

“I have never laughed as hard as I have writing with Rik,” Edmondson says now. “Apoplectic laughter.”

And then, in June Rik died. He had never been quite the same after a serious quad bike accident in 1998 left him in a coma for several days, says Edmondson; the incident left Mayall “strangely more emotional; still very funny”. His death was horribly sudden. This is the first time Edmondson has spoken publicly about it.

“I mean, Rik’s death is just enormous and I haven’t talked to anyone other than close friends about it,” he says and, as he talks, he swivels round in his chair so that he is not looking at me, but is facing sideways towards the wall. His gaze drifts inwards. His sentences start and stop, slowly become more pause than speech. “I don’t really know how to talk about it to other people. I’m aware that people want something from me – not just you, but other people – and I don’t quite know how to give them what it is they want.”

He looks at me, apologetic. “I knew you’d ask and, erm, I’ve been trying to think of a cogent way of talking about it but I think, the thing is, I’m just completely awash, still. I don’t know where I am with him.”

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More recent photo of Rik with Ade.

 

The BBC approached him recently to take part in a tribute programme.

“I was sent the synopsis and it was all wacky and wild and…” he breaks off and sighs. “You could see it was just going to be a load of talking heads and clips, so I pulled out of that… I just think he deserves something better than that. And I think, if someone important dies, you can’t be flippant about it.”

Mayall’s death was made more difficult by the fact that the duo had not worked together for 10 years. Edmondson hadn’t wanted to retread old ground: he was proud of what they’d achieved and thought it stood on its own merits. He wanted to try different things – he formed a folk band, the Bad Shepherds, in 2008. He presented a few documentary series. Last year, he won Celebrity MasterChef. He didn’t want to reunite with Mayall just to do “a shit, late series like Morecambe and Wise”. He felt they’d had their allotted two boiled eggs, so why would they want four?

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Early comedy club days.

It was a decision, he says, that “confused” his writing partner: “I spent 10 years trying to explain to him why I didn’t want to work with him, you know, and it was tough.”

But they stayed friends. The last time Edmondson saw Mayall, the two of them went for a walk around Hyde Park: “We had a great time… and chatted about ordinary stuff.” They got on so well, he thinks, because they had a shared background. Both were the children of teachers, both went to “middle-class, direct-grant schools”.

“We were both, sort of, arty wankers but with a taste for beer,” he says, only half-joking. “So when we met we had a kind of shorthand.”

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Bottom

There was one crucial difference, however. Edmondson’s father was a geography teacher in the armed forces. As a result, he had a peripatetic childhood on army bases in Cyprus, Uganda and Bahrain. Then, at the age of 11, he was sent to Pocklington, a boarding school in East Yorkshire. He remembers being caned 66 times. He says blithely that slaps with hands or slippers didn’t count, so he didn’t bother tallying them up.

“We used to hold the bottom rung of a chair and a man would stride across the room and hit you with a stick,” he says. “It does sound ridiculous, doesn’t it?”

One teacher in particular seemed to take sadistic pleasure in the act and was nicknamed the Führer.

“He was a vicious, vicious, horrible man. It shocks me that people like that could be left in charge of children. There was such a cold cruelty to him.”

A few years ago, Edmondson went to a school reunion “and I went into this room and he was there and because I was on the telly he was all smarmy and came over all Nicholas Parsons and I had to leave. I couldn’t stand him pretending that he hadn’t thrashed me mercilessly so often.”

Edmondson was clear, when he married Jennifer Saunders in 1985 and his own three daughters were born, that they would experience an entirely different kind of upbringing, which he sums up as: “No boarding schools. And just be nice!”

His daughters – Ella, a musician, Beattie, a comedian, and Freya, an actor – are now all in their 20s and Edmondson has two grandsons, Fred, who is two, and eight-month-old Bert.

“It’s gorgeous,” he says. “I always wanted girls, never wanted boys… Boys are much more emotional than girls. They really are. I don’t know where this lie has come around that girls are emotional and boys aren’t. Boys, especially when they’re young, just never stop bloody bursting into tears… I’m a much bigger blubber than Jennifer.”

We get into a discussion about the last time he cried. And then, without any kind of preamble, he says that Mayall is not the only close friend he has lost of late. Two of his best friends committed suicide. It turns out that the last time he cried was when he was watching television and a drama contained a suicide plotline echoing the way in which his friend had died.

Both of his friends had been struggling with depression. One of them had simply stopped being able to sleep. “If you can’t sleep, you go mad,” says Edmondson. There is an unsettlingly long silence. Then he looks at me. “How many close friends do you think people have?”

I don’t know, I say. Probably five.

“Yeah, I think about that.”

So how many close friends does he have now?

“Well, not very many.” He laughs. “I’ve had three close friends my own age die in the last four, five years. It’s kind of unsettling. It casts you adrift a bit. And, um, it makes you feel rudderless, you know, you never quite know what your connection is with everyone else and you get a bit… You get slightly afraid other people will die.”

His wife, too, has had what Edmondson describes as “her own brush with death”. Saunders was diagnosed with breast cancer in 2009 and endured several gruelling rounds of treatment. “And my dad died this year as well,” Edmondson adds. “He had dementia for the last two years. Anyone will tell you that’s particularly gruesome so by the time he went, it was a relief really.”

His father was living in a home because his mother could no longer look after or lift him – “too heavy, you know”. Did he still know his own son?

“Towards the end, he didn’t recognise anyone much,” Edmondson replies, phlegmatic. He says he has turned to stoicism of late as a source of philosophical comfort.

“You have to admit to yourself what you’re in control of and what you’re not.” He blinks. “You’re actually in control of very little in life.”

Yes, I say, because there’s nothing else you can say when you’re sitting across from a man who has endured so much loss in such a brief period of time. A man who, in spite of it all, is still miraculously capable of finding the funny side – even if he’s not a comedian.

Rik 2

IN MEMORY OF RIK MAYALL. REST IN PEACE ALWAYS.

 

Neville’s Island is at the Duke of York’s theatre, London WC2 until 3 January 2015.

Infamous: 8 times Derren Brown blew our minds

Originally posted on Metro:

Derren Brown Infamous

(Picture: Channel 4)

14 years after his first show was broadcast Derren Brown continues to wow audiences.

A master of mind control, an incredible illusionist and a crafty trickster, one of the main appeals of Derren is that he denounces paranormal and psychic practices, instead focusing on misdirection, suggestion and psychology.

Derren is back on the small screen with a showing of his tour Infamous, but will it blow our minds like these nine previous stunts? We’re going to say it will…

1. Predicting the lottery draw

There were plenty of conspiracy theories about this one. Was there a split screen? Were the numbers digitally added to the balls?

We’re still none the wiser…

2. Human statues at Madame Tussauds

Unsuspecting visitors at Madame Tussauds found themselves in a trance as Derren pretended to be a waxwork.

With mesmerising lights and a pre-recorded voiceover spectators found themselves stuck to the…

View original 292 more words

Rik’s Crackanory Interview – Radio Times (Brings A Tear To My Eye)

Rik Mayall talks Crackanory and the importance of good storytelling in unseen video interview

Rik Mayall talks Crackanory and the importance of good storytelling in unseen video interview

By Paul Jones

Wednesday 10 September 2014 at 02:54PM

“Storytelling has always been one of my great pleasures…”

The late, great Rik Mayall will enchant viewers one last time as he taps into his gift for storytelling in Dave series Crackanory later this month.

In a tale recorded shortly before his death in June, Rik will bring to life one of a series of edgy tales for adults as told by the cream of British comedy.

But before that here’s a chance to see an exclusive video interview with Rik – also featuring excerpts from his Crackanory story – in which he shares his love for a well-told tale and for the original BBC series Jackanory that inspired him as a youngster.

Here’s Rik being both funny and heartfelt in what is now a very poignant interview…

Series two of Crackanory starts on Wednesday 24th September at 10pm on Dave and will feature stories told by Rik Mayall, Vic Reeves, David Mitchell, Katherine Parkinson, Meera Syall, Warwick Davies, Ben Miller, Sue Perkins, Johnny Vegas and Ruby Wax.

Jason Statham Covers GQ France (GQ Website)

 Monday, August 11, 2014

JASON STATHAM: THE GENTLEMAN HITTER

BY ARNAUD SAGNARD © JEFF LIPSKY

Revealed by Carrier, British actor 47 years is the rising star of blockbusters action. Simple, powerful and silent nothing, he practices his art expert, practicing every day and staying away from the distractions of Hollywood. GQ met in Los Angeles this bankable actor who shares the Expendables 3 displays with the stars of the genre. Action!

This is one of those corners of Los Angeles in metamorphosis where one crosses, according to the streets, its original inhabitants, the homeless living in smoking glass pipes, or newcomers, and hipsters Strolling players a glass of carrot juice and ginger hand. Downtown LA, even decrepit buildings are home to surprises. One, two stories high, all brick and dark wood, is rented by the day to photograph all the city’s major characters. A black Audi S8 with tinted windows pulls up in front, takes out a man wearing sunglasses slightly tinted, wearing a pink polo shirt, jeans and loafers Ralph Lauren Tom Ford blue suede. It seems straight escaped from the pages of a magazine. Only, unlike a mannequin, he shoulders his face mover and returns the message “Do not disturb”. The bald man with a square jaw scans the surrounding streets and spots a Toyota Prius in which are stashed two paparazzi. At the same time, the driver of a convertible Mazda red shouts his name and prevents the caller from the phone that he just passed one of theExpendables.

Neither driver nor manager
Some Jason Statham is the new face of action movies, for others, it is the boyfriend of Rosie Huntington-Whiteley, the British supermodel for Victoria’s Secret two million followers on Instagram . This morning, the actor finished the final adjustments of Fast & Furious 7 , last avatar of a franchise that has to call on his services castagneur skittish. August 20 released in France Expendables 3, another blockbuster shot of a successful franchise, the colossal budget of EUR 132 million and whose poster features his name in second place, ahead of those Arnold Schwarzenegger, Mel Gibson and Harrison Ford .

“My colleagues are not Expendables baltringues”

Because he belongs to the wrong kind of action movie, critics despise. We remember in particular a dispatch from the Associated Press describing his honest Safe, in 2012 “as the worst movie since Statham Statham’s latest movie”. If GQ is interested in him is that for a decade, this unassuming actor requires the screen a particularly rare combination of physical power and natural elegance.Upon entering the building, the person removes his glasses and asks technicians to discover if it is not late.The man is polite and in the world capital of intermediaries, it moves without a driver or manager, or press secretary.”Do not ask me about the England team,” he says to the team from the photograph and has his eyes on an iPad broadcasting one of the last games of the World Cup.”I am ashamed. Soon as I put the nose out there for someone to remember our defeat.”Could not be mistaken, Jason Statham is a pure juice English, one of those who are perfectly polo, drink their pints in the pub quickly and, if necessary, know how to make a nuisance out with fists.Check out our entire meeting with Jason Statham in GQ – September 2014.

 

***PLEASE NOTE THIS ITEM WAS TRANSLATED FROM FRENCH TO ENGLISH USING GOOGLE TRANSLATE SO MAY NOT BE PERFECT ENGLISH***