I've never enjoyed the British Comedy Awards. I've never respected the "comedy talent" sitting there watching it, I've not liked the terrible cheap booze provided, the leery atmosphere is loud and embarrassing and my house is too draughty and smelly to enjoy a night of telly alone. Why I watch it three or four times every year is beyond me.
The thing is, the British Comedy Awards actually offends me. I realise they're not supposed to be for me. They're there to backslap popular light entertainment. What has popularity or entertainment got to do with me? Nothing. I don't care that an entire awards ceremony is set up to acknowledge large viewing figures or huge DVD sales. There are plenty of sales figures and business achievement awards all year round and I don't get angry about them (although I still think I was robbed of the Vauxhall Dealership of the Year AGAIN). What I get cross about is the few, the very few, awards given to the ART of comedy. THIS IS A SALES AWARDS SHOW! WHY ARE YOU DRAGGING ART INTO IT?
Oh, it's happened. Not all these awards get thrown into dung. Some of the good ones get these things forced on them. Look at Nick Helm. The awards insult him by acknowledging him and he rises above it all by being the funniest thing on the night. Toast of London wins Best New Show when it clearly deserves better. So it's not like these people are ignored entirely. It's just they choose a few good ones. Chosen wisely to make the awards look cool, the very thing it joyously brags that it's not. Even Charlie Brooker has won British Comedy Awards but only after being told to shut his fucking mouth and brush his hair.
That's why I have to respect the awards, because this year they actually showed some respect. There are some talents out there that are just too important and deserve to be remembered for what they've given and who they are. And the awards know that.
Rik Mayall's death in June was sudden and shocking. But his memory was the most celebratory thing of the year. No one has a bad word to say about the talent of Rik Mayall. He was unique, he seemed to come from nowhere and he actually changed people's lives. I'm one of those people. Whatever Rik saw as the norm growing up in the 70's clearly offended him and that's why, instead of ignoring it or (even worse) accepting it, he decided to destroy comedy and then rebuild it in his own image. Kevin Turvey came on TV and I fell in love. Like my dad seeing my mum for the very first time or, more likely, John Peel hearing Teenage Kicks for the first time, I realised then and there that Rik Mayall was what I'd been looking for. I had no idea how bad things were in comedy at the time but I'm so glad Rik did.
Kevin, Rick, Richie, Alan, Flashheart... Rik Mayall was perfect in all he did. Shouting, gurning, pointing to his willie and making confidence lose all belief in itself. He was beyond confident. He was bigger than Hitler, better than Christ. This week I heard that some of the cast of Blackadder didn't like him because, after every scene, he'd turn to them and say "Well? Did I win?". All that says to me is that the adored and hallowed halls of Blackadder meant nothing to him. "That's the best thing on telly? Well, fuck it then. I'll just have to be better". I love Rik.
Yes, it was the whole early 80's alternative comedy scene that changed everything but Rik was even above that. And, for once, the best was also the favourite. He meant something then just as he does now. And the British Comedy Awards respected that... By totally forgetting him.
No mention of Rik was made at the awards. There was a very quick "in memory of" written at the very start but he wasn't mentioned. There was no tribute and THAT is the greatest tribute the British Comedy Awards could give Rik Mayall. In the same year that James Corden was remembered by the Queen, Rik Mayall was forgotten, quite rightly, by the comedy establishment. I've never been prouder of him. Think he'd care? Go to bed, spotty.
Imagine if he HAD been mentioned? He'd be just like the rest. Horrible, horrible thought.
Brendan O'Carroll was named Comedy Writer of the Year at the awards and that's quite right. That's how it should be. The Queen acknowledges James Corden for his services to entertainment and that is great. He's far from the worst and the Queen is not the establishment. Not of comedy. The British Comedy Awards are. And they know that. I thank them humbly for their respect this year.