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The Master of Sardonic Comedy in Fine Stand-Up Form
It is clearly a great time for stand-up comedians, especially American ones. So there was no shortage of material for the sardonic, laid-back Rich Hall who ended his latest UK tour with an impressive performance at the Lichfield Garrick Theatre. Rich, who hails from Montana in the US, but has been visiting British shores for 20 years, was performing at the Garrick on July 7 as part of the 2017 Lichfield Festival.
American comic Rich Hall was in great form
With the repercussions of Donald Trump's election to the White House continuing unabated, both political and comedic, it was no surprise that Rich's opening comment was to tell the audience "feel free to laugh at America". That set the standard for almost two hours of splendid humour which was divided into two distinct sections - the first half being pure stand-up and the second devoted to the "hoedown" of the show's title when musicians Rod Childs and Mark Ewan joined Rich on stage to deliver his clever and funny take on country music.
Rich Hall concluded his UK tour in style. By Tina Downham - Own work, CC BY-SA 4.0,https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=48239755
Rich was in superb form from the outset with his dry humour, much of it directed at his native country, such as the Bruce Springsteen cover band who turned down an invitation to President Trump's inauguration. But his comedy covers far more territory than that, with hilarious observations about people who buy ready-made meals for one, the UK horse meat scandal, and an expensive solution to a problem with his eyelids caused by standing on his three year old's son building bricks (just in case I can't mention the actual company name!). But he wasn't afraid to also deal with far more serious matters, such as the recent terrorist attacks on London and the situation in Syria.
A packed Lichfield Garrick was treated to more than its fair share of laughs
After the interval, it was the turn of the 'hoedown' for Rich, who has been a familiar figure on UK television including a series of documentaries for BBC 4. Rich used the first half of his show to find a little bit of information from members of the audience in the front row. And he then weaves those people into his country songs, which is why we heard about Mark the transit van salesman, Sharon the nurse, and Bob the metallurgist. In between, he also performed less spontaneous offerings including "Williams" about the perils of playing a jukebox, and "Eritrean Trucking Buddy' on the subject of migrants trying to stow away on lorries in Calais. All in all a very funny and satisfying evening.