Rik Mayall dead at 56

The Associated Press
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‘Young Ones’ star pioneered 1980s British alternative comedy

Rik Mayall, one of a generation of performers who injected post-punk energy into British comedy, has died. He was 56.

British comedian Rik Mayall in July 1999.

Mayall’s management firm Brunskill Management said the comedian died Monday at his London home.

In the 1980s Mayall was part of the Comic Strip, a hugely influential group of alternative young comics that included Dawn French, Jennifer Saunders and Mayall’s writing and performing partner, Adrian Edmondson.

He was best known for co-writing and performing in “The Young Ones,” a sitcom about slovenly students that was much loved by those it satirized.

On television he memorably played Conservative politician Alan B’stard in the sitcom “The New Statesman” and lecherous Lord Flashheart in the comedy classic “Blackadder.”

He and Edmondson also created and starred in “Bottom,” a surreally violent slapstick series about two unemployed slobs.

Film appearances included the title role in the 1991 fantasy “Drop Dead Fred” — which gained him a U.S. cult following — and the 1999 British comedy “Guest House Paradiso.”

“There were times when Rik and I were writing together when we almost died laughing,” Edmondson said. “They were some of the most carefree, stupid days I ever had, and I feel privileged to have shared them with him. And now he’s died for real. Without me. Selfish bastard.”

The cause of death was not disclosed. London’s Metropolitan Police force said officers had been called to the house by the ambulance service Monday, but that the death was not believed to be suspicious.

In 1998 Mayall was on life support and in a coma for several days after an all-terrain vehicle accident.

“The main difference between now and before my accident is I’m just very glad to be alive,” Mayall said last year.

“Other people get moody in their 40s and 50s — men get the male menopause. I missed the whole thing. I was just really happy.”

Organizations: Brunskill Management

Geographic location: London, U.S.

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