A double entendre is figure of speech where a spoken phrase is intended to have a double meaning, usually for comic effect. Such phrases are typically used to convey a sexual meaning without using profanity directly, however some uses in media and entertainment are more innocent. Rik Mayall and Adrian Edmondson regularly use double entendres in their comedic style, no less so than in Bottom where every episode and live show is littered with fantastic examples. In the show, both Richie and Eddie frequently misinterpret each others statements, sometimes leading to physical violence when particular offence is caused to either character.
The most common use of the double entendre in Bottom normally begins with either character saying "Have you got the..." followed by any one of many everyday words that could and could not be misconstrued as inappropriate. Either character's reply normally references their genitals or other sensitive area of the their body. Rik is typically the instigator of the conversation, although there have been occasions where the roles have been reversed. Examples include:
Richie: Have you got the wind break? (referring to the device you put up at the beach)
Eddie: No, it's just the way my underpants have been ironed.
Richie: Have you got the wrench?
Eddie: No, it's just my underpants they're a bit tight.
Double entendres have been used to great effect where only a single statement is said or a question is asked, leaving it up to the audience to decipher the meaning based on the receiving character's usually horrified expression. The episode "Terror" is notable for this method, as detailed below:
Richie: Well what what can I tell you Eddie, it's an absolute disaster. I just can't get the hand of this cooking lark. I mean you put the sausage in the pan, set it on fire, and what happens? It gets incinerated!
Eddie: Maybe we should eat our flakes? (Richie turns to look at Eddie with a disgusted look on his face, only to see him holding up a packet of Cornflakes. One can only imagine what Richie thought he meant by the word "flakes.")
Eddie: Can I drink your juice? (Richie again turns around with a horrified look on his face, probably thinking he wants to drink any one of two obvious bodily fluids, only to see Eddie holding up a glass of orange juice that Richie had originally poured for himself and left on the table.)
Sometimes the double entendre becomes protracted with an additional to and fro of questions and answers before Richie becomes annoyed with Eddie and either moves on, rephrases the question to sound less evocative, or simply assaults him out of frustration. A good example is an exchange between Richie and Eddie in "Holy." Richie is reeling off a checklist of things to prepare for Christmas dinner, and says:
Richie: Now Eddie, crackers?
Eddie: Yes, but it's never stopped me so far!
Richie: No, I mean have you got the crackers?
Eddie: Nope, it's just the way my trousers hang.
Richie: Eddie, enough of the crackers jokes. I'm talking about the things you put in your hand and pull.
Eddie: Well I've got one of those but I'm not gonna stick it on the table!
In this exchange Eddie first thought Richie was calling him mad (synonymous with the word "crackers") then thought he was criticizing something related to his trousers and/or genitals, and finally becomes bemused at the suggestion he was being encouraged to get his penis out (the thing(s) you put in your hand and pull, as in what a gentleman does during masturbation.)
Not all double entendres in the show have contained sexual innuendo though, with some being quite clean but nonetheless very funny. Examples include:
Richie: How do I look?
Eddie: You use your eyeballs don't you?
Eddie: How do you feel?
Richie: I get my hands and go like this...(makes grabbing motions with his hands)
In the first example, Richie was innocently asking Eddie how he looked (in appearance) yet Eddie misinterpreted the word "look" as in what you do with your eyes. The second example is very similar, with Richie misinterpreting the word "feel" for the act you do with your hands, when in fact he was asking after his wellbeing.
In Filthy, Rich & Catflap, double entendres were followed by either one of the main characters saying "oo-er" and were usually one-liners (and not always that funny...) It is clear though from watching Filthy, Rich & Catflap that Rik and Ade were still mastering the art of the double entendre, and by the time of Bottom had nailed it (oo-er! Ahem...)