Karen Koren: Rik Mayall was reason I love comedy

Rik Mayall. Pic: Comp
Rik Mayall. Pic: Comp
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It has been quite a week with the very sad death of Rik Mayall at the young age of 56.

Rik was an amazing comedian and actor, he played an integral part in the transformation of how we enjoy comedy today. He was the trend setter of the eighties generation of new comedy, together with Adrian Edmondson, Dawn French, Jennifer Saunders, Alexei Sayle, Nigel Planer and Peter Richardson

They started performing in Raymond’s Revue Bar in Soho, London and the Comic Strip was born. They went on to make many incredibly funny TV films together and of course Rik, Ade and Nigel made the anarchic sitcom The Young Ones, which he wrote with Ben Elton and it is still looked upon as a cult series.

It was around this time that I got into comedy and I remember partic-ularly going to see Rik perform his character Kevin Turvey to a huge audience and he walked on stage and said nothing, just twitched a bit and stared at the crowd, for what seemed like ten minutes. It probably wasn’t, but the power he had on stage and the roar of the crowd and the love from the comedy fans was overwhelming.

I remember it affected me and played a huge part in my getting more and more involved in the comedy business. He was a comedy genius and will be sorely missed.

He is the first of his peer group to die, however, he will not be forgotten. His contemporary Andy de la Tour is performing at the Gilded Balloon this Festival and will have many a story to tell, I am sure. He has not performed at the Festival since he was here in 1985 performing with Rik.

On a more happy note, there was some very joyous news this week when my very good friend, chief executive of the Edinburgh Festival Fringe, Kath Mainland was awarded a CBE in the Queens’s Birthday Honour’s List, which is very exciting. A very well deserved award, I must say, and she is accepting it with such humility, that I am very proud of all she has achieved.