Rich Hall’s Quite Interesting Visit to Limerick

Liverpool‘s late loss to Lille last night must have been deflating for Reds fan Mick Dolan but his spirits were surely raised by the huge turnout at his pub and two music venues. The bar was packed with regulars and visitors as well as loads of punters from the local college who were taking part in some sort of talent show as part of Seachtain na Gaeilge. There was also a fine crowd upstairs to see novelist and Richmond Fontaine frontman Willy Vlautin perform some Americana to a hushed and reverent crowd of music fans. I managed to catch the end of his gig as I had been at the Warehouse to see Vlautin’s fellow countryman Rich Hall play to a loud and irreverent crowd of comedy fans. Hall should be familiar to viewers of QI and Have I Got News For You and even to fans of The Simpsons (more about that later). I read about his “first visit to the treaty” when the Limerick Event Guide made it one of their 5 Best Buys for March. The Limerick Leader‘s Alan Owens also bigged up the gig in his article here where he opens with Hall’s connection to the Simpsons and his Perrier Comedy Award victory at the Edinburgh Fringe for his show about his alter ego, Otis Lee Crenshaw. He won the award in 2000 when he beat off strong competition from an impressive list of nominees that included Dave Gorman, Lee Mack, Catherine Tate, Garth Merenghi and Sean Lock

Well, I’d like to add a vital piece of information that’s missing from Hall’s Wikipedia entry: Rich Hall brought his Otis Lee Crenshaw show to Limerick a full year before his Perrier win! In February 1999, Hall made not one, but two, appearances at the Belltable as part of that year’s UnFringed festival. I had already seen him on TV and was part of a crowd that barely made it into double figures for what turned out to be an enjoyable evening of song and comedy. Mr Crenshaw played an hour of original songs that parodied country music and deconstructed popular songs. He also improvised by taking suggestions from the audience and turning them into new songs. There was more of the same at Dolan’s last night as Rich abandoned his Crenshaw persona but brought along his keyboard and acoustic guitar

He took to the stage just after nine dressed in dark jeans, black sneakers, a grey Kentucky t-shirt and the same black cowboy shirt that you see in the picture above. He ambled up to the mic and seemed genuinely surprised at the size of the crowd seated before him on the ground floor and upstairs. He’s the type of comedian who doesn’t tell jokes as such but whose humour is more of the observational kind. He opened by revealing that he was staying at the Clarion hotel and had a fine view of the steelyard on the Dock Road. Like the last time, Hall interacted with the audience throughout. His first victim was Tim who was there with his wife. Tim was unfortunate enough to be sitting at the front with a vacant seat beside him. Hall got great mileage out of the jobless Tim and also an electronics engineer on placement named Darragh. Later, Hall went over to his keyboard and sang a romantic number for Darragh and his absent Dublin-based girlfriend. He broke up the show with a few more humorous ditties including one about the dangers of unhealthy eating that wittily name-dropped dozens of Irish place names. For the rest of the show, Hall brought loads of laughter and even a few rounds of applause for his wry observations on Ireland, England and the USA. He has been a resident of the UK for a while now and his outsider’s view of our easterly neighbours was spot on. His main target, obviously, was his own country and he quite a bit of material to draw upon

Towards the end, he actually started taking requests and it nearly turned into a question and answers session. At first, he turned down my request for him to do his deconstruction of Elvis’ Jailhouse Rock but eventually he acquiesced. This led to him telling us about his visit to the home of the King of Rock ‘n’ Roll at Graceland and to a later visit to the home of the Queen of England at Buckingham Palace. He also filled us in on why he’s the inspiration for Moe the bartender in The Simpsons and treated us to his hilarious take on the film career of Tom Cruise. He finished on another improvised number and left the stage to a rapturous round of applause. I met the man later chatting to Limerick’s own Karl Spain in the bar. Just like the writers at the Limerick Event Guide and the Leader Mr Hall was sketchy about his previous visit to Limerick as well. I invited him for breakfast at The Wild Onion and was heartened to learn that, like me, breakfast time for him was 1.00pm. I’ve no idea if he made it as I didn’t get home until six this morning and only just managed to rise at the appointed time. After Dolan’s last night, I made it to the latter stages of the Speakeasy Jazz night at the Shannon Rowing Club and finished the night at a house party. Well, I do need to get into training for the fourth of July. To finish up, here are a couple of audio versions of his Tom Cruise sketch and one of his Otis Lee Crenshaw songs

Tom Cruise Sketch – Rich Hall

Just Don’t Hurt Me – Otis Lee Crenshaw


3 thoughts on “Rich Hall’s Quite Interesting Visit to Limerick

  1. No worries, I don’t really care. I just felt like saying it. It’s actually pronounced exactly the same cos I don’t have a fada

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