Hall performing at the Tower Theatre in Upper Darby, Pennsylvania in 1986
|Birth name||Richard Hall|
10 June 1954 |
Alexandria, Virginia, United States
|Genres||Observational comedy, Deadpan, Political satire|
|Subject(s)||American culture, British culture, United States politics, British politics|
|Notable works and roles||QI, Saturday Night Live, Fridays, Late Show with David Letterman|
Early life and career
Hall was born in Alexandria, Virginia and grew up in Mecklenburg County, North Carolina. He is part Cherokee. Early in his career, he performed as a street comedian with a suitcase and stand, traveling the college circuit, and performing impromptu skits for gathering crowds. He attended college at Western Carolina University.
Hall's first professional work was as a writer and performer on the American sketch comedy TV series Fridays from 1980 until 1982. After the end of Fridays, Hall co-wrote and starred in the satirical comedy series Not Necessarily the News from 1983 until 1990 where he coined the term "sniglet" and collected and published several volumes of books of them. Matt Groening has described him as the inspiration for Moe Szyslak from The Simpsons. He was also a regular on Saturday Night Live for the show's tenth season (1984-1985), becoming the only Fridays cast member to be an SNL cast member (Larry David, while also a Fridays cast member who went on to work for SNL was hired as a writer and only appeared onscreen as an extra). In 1986, he had his own Showtime channel special, Vanishing America, which was turned into a book with the same title. He hosted a talk show during The Comedy Channel's 1990-91 season, titled Rich Hall's Onion World.
Appearances and work in the United Kingdom
Outside his homeland, Hall has also achieved popularity in the United Kingdom, where he has lived on-and-off for 23 years. He spends part of his time during the off-seasons writing plays in the United States where he has a small ranch just outside Livingston, Montana. The rest of the time is spent in London, where he owns a flat. Hall is a guest on popular BBC panel quiz shows, most notably as a regular guest on QI, for which he has received much critical acclaim and is known as the game's most frequently victorious guest panellist with ten victories (only permanent panellist Alan Davies has won more shows), and also with appearances in 8 Out of 10 Cats, Have I Got News for You and Never Mind the Buzzcocks. He has also appeared on the British stand-up comedy series Jack Dee's Live at the Apollo. His appearances achieved some cult status due to his line of jokes on Live at the Apollo about Tom Cruise, and the perceivable similarities between many of his roles. In 2000, he won the Perrier Comedy Award at the Edinburgh Fringe, in the guise of his own grizzled uncle, Otis Lee Crenshaw, the much-convicted country music singer. He has released several albums and a concert movie as this character. In 2004, he published a book of the man's memoirs, entitled Otis Lee Crenshaw: I Blame Society, and in 2007 he finished a screenplay for a film based on the book, written for the director Mel Smith. In 2006, Hall also wrote and acted in the play Levelland at the Edinburgh Festival.
Hall has had four BBC TV series of his own: Rich Hall's Badly Funded Think Tank, Rich Hall's Fishing Show in 2003, Rich Hall's Cattle Drive in 2006, as well as a one-off programme about the 2004 American Presidential Elections, Rich Hall's Election Special. He also appeared on the BBC Two programme Top Gear, where he successfully managed to make a song about a Rover 25 car, much to the enjoyment of host Jeremy Clarkson and the audience. After the September 11, 2001 attacks, Hall was entrusted with the task of responding to the tragedy on the first subsequent edition of Have I Got News for You.
Hall has written and presented five 90-minute documentaries about film genres, broadcast on BBC Four. Rich Hall's How the West Was Lost (first broadcast June 2008) discusses Westerns, Rich Hall's The Dirty South (October 2010) challenges stereotypical Hollywood presentations of the Southern United States, Rich Hall's Continental Drifters (November 2011) examines the American road movie, Rich Hall's Inventing the Indian (October 2012) discusses portrayals of Native Americans. and Rich Hall's You Can Go To Hell, I'm Going To Texas, first broadcast 30 June 2013, which examines what it means to be a Texan.
In 2007, he returned to the Fringe with his second play, Best Western, which he wrote and directed. In 2008, Hall toured two stand-up shows around the UK: Rich Hall Autumn Tour 2008 played around 45 dates and he also went on the road as his alter-ego in a show entitled Otis Lee Crenshaw and Band that listed Rich Hall as a "special guest." He subsequently toured a version of this show throughout the UK and Ireland in 2009, with longtime sidekick Myron T. Buttram (guitarist and pedal steel player, Rob Childs) and Lonesome Dave (banjoist and guitarist, David Lindsay) appearing at the 2009 Adelaide Fringe festival, the Sydney Opera House, and the 2009 Melbourne Comedy festival. With the band renamed as "The Honky Tonk A**holes" and joined by Horst Furst II (bassist, Nigel Portman Smith) and drummer Mark Hewitt, his autumn 2009 tour included a performance at London's Hammersmith Apollo, which was recorded and released in November 2009 as a live DVD.
In 2009, he performed at the Edinburgh Festival in two shows, his solo stand up and also with longtime collaborator Mike Wilmot and Montana-based actor Tim Williams in a new play entitled "Campfire Stories".
Rich Hall made an Irish TV appearance as a guest on the fifth series of RTÉ's topical news comedy programme, Don't Feed the Gondolas, and has appeared at the Kilkenny Cat Laughs comedy festival on 15 occasions. He has also performed at the West Belfast Festival/Feile an Phobail, one of the largest community festivals in Ireland, to a sell-out audience where he received widespread critical acclaim. He appeared in several Pizza Hut commercials in the 1980s, mainly promoting Pizza Hut's guarantee of serving each customer within five minutes.
Hall has achieved some popularity in Australia, regularly appearing at the Melbourne International Comedy Festival and the Adelaide Fringe Festival, and on Australian comedy panel shows, such as The Glass House and Spicks and Specks.
Hall appeared at the Garvey 1989 Celebrity Ski Classic and at the Altitude Comedy Festival 2008 in the ski resort of Meribelin France. He also appeared — albeit briefly — in the 2006 Cheap Seats (ESPNCL) episode titled "Steve Garvey Celebrity Skiing".
List of celebrities impersonated on SNL
- Doug Henning
- Doug Flutie
- Bernhard Goetz
- Caspar Weinberger
- Paul Harvey
- David Byrne
- Mark Goodman
- Vince McMahon
Musical and literary career
- London Not Tennessee (with The Black Liars) (2001)
- How Do We Do It? Volume! (2003)
- 1984: Sniglets (Snig'Lit: Any Word That Doesn't Appear in the Dictionary, but Should), ISBN 0-02-012530-5
- 1985: More Sniglets: Any Word That Doesn't Appear in the Dictionary, but Should
- 1986: Unexplained Sniglets of the Universe
- 1986: Rich Hall's Vanishing America, ISBN 0-02-547480-4
- 1987: Angry Young Sniglets (1987)
- 1989: When Sniglets Ruled the Earth (1989)
- 1994: Self Help for the Bleak: Attaboy Therapy, ISBN 0-8431-3669-3
- 2002: Things Snowball, ISBN 0-349-11576-1
- 2003: Top Gear, (2003)
- 2004: Otis Lee Crenshaw: I Blame Society, ISBN 0-349-11818-3
- 2009: Magnificent Bastards, ISBN 0-349-11965-1
- "QI - Season 2 - Episode 12". QI (Quite Interesting).
- "The real life Moe". Ananova. Retrieved 2008-09-16.
- "Filmography by TV series for Rich Hall (I): 'QI' (16 episodes)". IMDb. Retrieved 2007-08-04.
- "Rich Hall, Amy Winehouse, Mike Peters, Fearne Cotton". Never Mind the Buzzcocks. Season 14. Episode 10. 2004-03-08. BBC.
- "Rich Hall, Amy Winehouse, Mike Peters, Fearne Cotton". TV.com. Retrieved 2007-08-04.
- "Acclaimed Stand-up Comedian Rich Hall Makes Light of Life". 2007-02-28. Retrieved 2008-07-17.
- "Rich Hall's "How the West was Lost"". BBC Four. Retrieved 9 April 2012.
- "Rich Hall's "The Dirty South"". BBC Four. Retrieved 9 April 2012.
- Rampton, James (9 July 2012). "Rich Hall on the Dirty South". Telegraph.co.uk. Telegraph Media Group. Retrieved 9 April 2012.
- "Rich Hall's Continental Drifters". BBC Four. Retrieved 16 November 2011.
- "Rich Hall's Inventing the Indian". BBC Four. Retrieved 28 October 2012.
- "Rich Hall's You Can Go To Hell, I'm Going To Texas". BBC Four. Retrieved 2 July 2013.
- Sweney, Mark (14 June 2010). "Channel 4 lines up topical standup show hosted by Patrick Kielty". The Guardian. Retrieved 3 July 2010.
|Wikimedia Commons has media related to Rich Hall.|
- Rich Hall at the Internet Movie Database
- Rich Hall reading from "Magnificent Bastards" at writLOUD, London