Whilst they had both worked together on the short-lived Filthy, Rich and Catflap, and appeared together in The Comic Strip Presents and Blackadder, Bottom was the first bona fide Mayall-Edmondson TV project in quite a while and fans of their over-the-top slapstick and gross-out gags lapped it up.
Richard 'Richie' Richard (Mayall) and Edward Elizabeth 'Eddie' Hitler (Edmondson) are two maladjusted misfits who live at the bottom of the heap. Richie is a naive, insecure loser who still manages to be egotistical, pretentious and unbearably snobbish. Eddie is slightly more cheerful and not quite as delusional ... but he's also a violent drunk. Holed up together in the dingy Hammersmith flat they share, the long-time friends hatch up schemes to try and escape from their miserable lives and turn on each other at the drop of a hat, revelling in the psychological and physical pain they inflict on each other.
It doesn't sound that funny does it? It sounds sort of depressing... kind of makes you want to cry. Except that Mayall and Edmondson are able to create a cathartic kind of comedy from the depths of depravity, elevating their bleak situations, self-serving characters, puerile humour and cartoonish violence into a sort of anarchic art form. If you're able to stomach a bit of 'tasteless' humour, Bottom can leave you breathless with laughter and, for many, the show is Rik and Ade's creative peak and a tragicomic masterpiece.
Plus the very title of the show itself is a bum joke. Which might just make it the greatest comedy of all time.