Rich Hall is Heading North

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This March, Rich Hall is bringing his Hoedown to Scotland for three nights only, as part of his spring tour.  Join Rich Hall and his virtuoso musical mates for a mash-up of music, comedy and gratuitous coloration as they return this spring with a UK tour of Rich’s infamous ‘Hoedown’. Rich’s Hoedown will be touring the UK from March until July this year, with a stop off in Lochgelly, Fife and Glasgow in March. The floor will reek of liquor and spent dreams. Tickets are on sale now!

Rich Hall is rightly regarded as one of the funniest comedians to come out of the US in recent times. And, as he is based here most of the time, we in this country have over the past three decades been lucky enough to benefit from his wonderfully grouchy sense of humour. The comedian, who has won both a Perrier (Edinburgh Comedy Festival) and a Barry (Melbourne International Comedy Festival) Award, is the most dazzlingly funny curmudgeon in The West.

Rich’s straight-talking and acerbic comedy leaves his targets reeling and his audiences in stitches. He sends up whichever country he is in, but perhaps reserves his most trenchant scorn for his native USA. He is a superb live performer but don’t just take my word for it. Critics have long praised Rich’s highly original deadpan style (which was the inspiration for the marvelously cantankerous barman, Moe Szyslak, in The Simpsons).

In the run-up to the tour, Rich takes some time out to chat with The Mumble. You will no doubt be very pleased to learn that this particular comedian is just as funny in an interview as he is on stage. Rich, who has presented such critically acclaimed BBC 4 documentaries as ‘Rich Hall’s Californian Stars’, ‘Rich Hall’s You Can Go To Hell, I’m Going To Texas’, ‘Rich Hall’s Inventing the Indian’ and his most recent, ‘Rich Hall’s Presidential Grudge Match’, begins by underlining how excited he is to be performing live once again. “I love being on stage”. “I love the fact that when a live show is over, it’s gone. It’s happened, and it will never happen like that again. It can’t be replicated. That’s a great magical moment.”

Rich, who is also an accomplished author and has released three books, ‘Magnificent Bastards’, ‘I Blame Society’ and ‘Things Snowball’, all published by Abacus Books, thrives on the spontaneity of live comedy. He observes that, “In every single show, there are always two or three moments where I’m thinking, ‘Wow, where did that come from?’ You’re constantly thinking on your feet.”

One of the many unique features of Rich’s act is that he goes out of his way to find out about the town he is playing in and then improvises a song on stage about it. He goes the extra mile to tailor-make his material for that particular venue. “I try to tap into what is happening locally and address that musically by writing an improvised song based on the town I’m in.” Audiences really appreciate this bespoke comedy. “Once they realise you’re not just trotting out your regular act, people think, ‘He’s made a real effort. He’s on our side, so we’re on his side.” Then you can take them anywhere.

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“I like to do something custom-made every night, otherwise you would just be like a robot. That can really wear you down. Nobody gets more sick of hearing their own voice than a comedian.” Rich, who was also enjoyed huge success as his country and western musician alter ego, Otis Lee Crenshaw, carries on that, “When you’re improvising a song, you think, ‘I may never do this on again, but it’s a special moment for everyone here’.

“You want to reach the point where audiences say, ‘I’d like to see that guy again’. You want to deliver the goods and be Old Reliable.” The stand-up is one of only a handful of performers who can genuinely combine comedy and music in one act. He says that, “I will have such a great collection of musicians on stage for the Hoedown. Having a band there makes it a much richer experience – if you’ll pardon the phrase!”

Before he has to go, Rich reflects once more on what he loves so much about touring. “I’m not a big showbiz hound,” he muses, “but for me being on stage is the most satisfying thing imaginable.” A sentiment with which Rich’s legions of fans would no doubt wholeheartedly agree.

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Rich Hall’s Hoedown will be at the Lochgelly Centre in Lochgelly, Fife on Thursday 16th March and The Garage in Glasgow, as part of Glasgow Live International Comedy Festival on Friday 17th and Saturday 18th March. Tickets for Rich Hall’s Hoedown tour can be found at www.offthekerb.co.uk / @offthekerb / www.facebook.com/TheRichHall

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