Rik Mayall Voices the Animation “Don’t Fear Death” Just Months Before His Untimely Passing

To para­phrase an acquaintance’s trib­ute to Rik May­all (leg­endary British come­di­an who died yes­ter­day at age 56), the cult com­e­dy The Young Ones turned a gen­er­a­tion of Amer­i­can mis­fits into Anglophiles before they’d ever set foot in Britain. I was one of those kids, stay­ing up late to catch the riotous­ly slap­stick show about four slack­er room­mates who mer­ci­less­ly abused each oth­er to insane degrees while attend­ing “Scum­bag Col­lege.” Fea­tur­ing musi­cal appear­ances by British alter­na­tive heroes like Mad­ness, Dexys Mid­night Run­ners, Motör­head, and The Damned, the show only ran for 12 episodes, but it had an enor­mous influ­ence on both sides of the Atlantic as a Mon­ty Python for absur­dist post-punk 80s brats.

May­all co-cre­at­ed and co-wrote the show, and his anar­chic gal­lows humor per­me­at­ed every episode. He lat­er went on to write and/or star in sit­coms Bot­tom and The New States­man, and had a beloved, if brief, role in the Rowan Atkin­son com­e­dy Black­ad­der. Short­ly before his death, May­all voiced the ani­ma­tion above, “Don’t Fear Death,” for Chan­nel 4. Writ­ten and pro­duced by Louis Hud­son and Ian Raven­scroft, this per­fect vehi­cle for Mayall’s snide sen­si­bil­i­ties explores “the ben­e­fits of being dead,” includ­ing nev­er hav­ing to “waste one more sin­gle, soul-crush­ing hour in your mind­less dead-end job.” Luck­i­ly for his fans, May­all avoid­ed that hor­ri­ble fate and instead cre­at­ed some of the most mem­o­rably obnox­ious char­ac­ters in British com­e­dy his­to­ry, although writer Lau­rence Marks tells the BBC he was “the antithe­sis” of those char­ac­ters, “a qui­et, polite, car­ing gen­tle­man.”

See May­all below do an ear­ly ver­sion of his Young Ones char­ac­ter in a clas­sic 80s stand-up rou­tine .

via Dan­ger­ous Minds

Relat­ed Con­tent:

New Ani­mat­ed Film Tells the Life Sto­ry of Mon­ty Python’s Gra­ham Chap­man

John Cleese’s Eulo­gy for Gra­ham Chap­man: ‘Good Rid­dance, the Free-Load­ing Bas­tard, I Hope He Fries’

Josh Jones is a writer and musi­cian based in Durham, NC. Fol­low him at @jdmagness.

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