AMERICAN comedian Rich Hall, the deadpan funnyman that legend has it was the inspiration behind The Simpsons’ luckless bartender Moe Szyslak, returns to the Gaiety Theatre next week.
As is often the case with comedy shows, Hall’s sharp off-the-cuff observations means those with front row tickets should prepare to participate or arrange a seat swap.
He last played the Gaiety in 2009, and went down very well as part of a ‘double bill’ show with his musical alter ego; the much-convicted country music singer Otis Lee Crenshaw, a character that won him a Perrier Comedy Award at the Edinburgh Fringe festival in 2000.
He has released several albums and a concert movie as this character, based on his book of Otis’ ‘memoirs’ entitled Otis Lee Crenshaw, I Blame Society.
Hall’s varied 20-year comic career, which has also included TV shows and touring with his band The Black Liars (sometimes renamed as The Honky Tonk A**holes), has had at least one constant – his acclaimed stand-up work.
The American rose to prominence on British television thanks to regular slots on BBC comedy panel shows like QI, Mock the Week, Never Mind the Buzzcocks and Have I Got News For You (including appearances as a guest host).
His sardonic persona and absurdist irony struck a chord with UK audiences, and Hall has continued to live and work for large portions of the year on this side of the Atlantic.
Rumour has it that, before fame came knocking, the North Carolina native had a job that involved naming hurricanes for the United States Meteorological Service, and he first drifted into comedy through street performing in order to pay off his student debt.
After touring a stand-up act and writing for TV sketch shows, Hall’s star rose in the 1990s after guest spots on The Conan O’Brien Show and appearing on, and writing for, The David Letterman Show, through which he won two Emmy Awards.
Subsequent success in Britain brought new opportunities, and Hall wrote and presented several TV shows for the BBC, including Rich Hall’s Cattle Drive, Rich Hall’s Badly Funded Think Tank, Rich Hall’s Dirty South, Rich Hall’s Election Special (a one off about the 2004 US presidential elections) and Rich Hall’s Fishing Show with Mike Wilmot.
Each of these carried a definite comic twist, so 2008’s thought-provoking How the West Was Lost – a 90 minute documentary on Westerns broadcast on BBC Four, came as something of a departure from comedy.
Tickets for his show at 9pm on Wednesday (May 30) are £16.50 and available from the Welcome Centre at the Sea Terminal in Douglas, or by calling the ticket hotline on 600555.
At the time of going to press there was no online seating available from www.villagaiety.com