Hal Roach (comedian)

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Hal Roach (4 November 1927 – 28 February 2012) was a prominent Irish comedian. He spent over 60 years in show business, and was featured in the Guinness Book of Records for the longest-running engagement of a comedian at the same venue: 26 years at Jury's Irish Cabaret, Jury's Ballsbridge Hotel, Dublin.[1]


Born John Roach in Waterford, where he attended the Manor C.B.S., school, he began his career after winning a local talent competition as a boy soprano. He initially toured with an illusionist and specialised in magic, but later moved to comedy.[2]

A typical Hal Roach joke is as follows: "He told me that I have a cult following, at least I think that's what he said".

Another- "There is a man sitting in the middle of the road casting his fishing line... now none of us is perfect, but c'mon! So I asked him, "How many have you caught today?" He said, "You're the ninth."

Perhaps his most famous catchphrase is "Write it down, it's a good one!".


Roach has been cited as a major influence by other comedians such as Brendan Grace.[3]

Roach was popular particularly with American tourists visiting Ireland. His act played heavily on traditional tourist imagery of Ireland and on Irish jokes. Several of his shows have been released on cassette and CD, and they are popular with tour bus drivers in several English-speaking countries who play them to passengers to help pass the time between destinations.[citation needed]


After suffering from a long bout of ill health, Roach died on 28 February 2012. The following month, RTÉ broadcast a tribute to Roach in one of its graveyard slots, a repeat airing of a programme from the That's Entertainment series first broadcast in 1972.[4]


  • The King of Blarney Irish Records
  • We Irish Talk Like That Irish Records/Ceol
  • He Must Be Joking Irish Records/Ceol/Rajon
  • I Think I'm Having One of My Turns Cabaret Records
  • An Audience With Irish Records/Ceol/Rajon
  • The Best Of Irish Humour Grainne Music/Ceol/Rajon
  • Hal Roach & Friends Ovation
  • Write It Down Grainne Music/Rajon
  • It's That Man Again! Grainne Music/Rajon
  • He's At It Again Grainne Music/BMG/Rajon


  • Hal Roach It's himself Live at Jurys Cabaret Sony BMG
  • An Audience With Hal Roach, The King of Blarney Emdee
  • Hal Roach The King of Irish Comedy (2005) Irish Records (double-DVD)
  • Tony Kenny's Ireland - The Green Island (guest appearance)


  • Ireland's International Comedian: Hal Roach (His Greatest Collection of Irish Humor and Wit, Featuring the "Unnecessary Sayings" of the Irish in conversation) (1995) Folens
  • Party Laughs (1995) Grainne Music


  1. ^ The Val and Hal show, Daily Mail, London - 8 February 2007
  2. ^ Hal Roach’s success has been no magic act Archived 17 November 2006 at the Wayback Machine, Rita Charleston, Northeast Times, Philadelphia, 11 March 2004
  3. ^ Feeny, Seán P. (2008) "Grace by Name, Funny by Nature" Archived 6 March 2008 at the Wayback Machine, Donegal News, 25 January 2008, retrieved 29 March 2008 "I learned from the men whom I considered the band leaders, like Hal Roach the 'Daddy' of all Irish comedians"
  4. ^ "RTÉ tribute to Hal Roach tonight". RTÉ Ten. Raidió Teilifís Éireann. 27 March 2012. Archived from the original on 8 September 2012. Retrieved 27 March 2012.

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