Adelaide Fringe

Fringe Review: Rich Hall

Rich and compelling. Pessimism has never had such a great result…

If you like a good chuckle but you don’t know who Rich Hall is, get Googling. He’s been involved in comedy spectaculars such as the original David Letterman Show and Saturday Night Live. There’s even a Simpsons character based on him… wonder if you can guess which one?

So it’s no surprise really that each and every one of his shows in the Garden of Unearthly Delights is sold out (but FYI you can still get your hands on tickets to his Saturday night show at Palace Nova…) And from our own experience not just normal ‘sold out’ but get-real-cosy-and-sit-on-the-lap-of-the-person-next-to-you-in-35-degree-heat kinda’ sold out. Yet, that’s all the more reason that you need to put him on your radar, because he’ll certainly be back and you need to see whatever he brings!

How can we be so sure? Well he spent a good portion of his (slightly over the designated) 60 minute show telling us how much he loved us Aussies and our country as a whole. Sure, large parts of that were taking jabs at our generally laid back attitude to most things our mighty country throws at us; such as deadly spiders, deadly snakes and deadly politicians, but his views on all these things still seemed upbeat.

He even took jabs at Adelaide which yes, is nothing new for an overseas or even just interstate comedian but Hall did so in a way that expressed he knew the characters and stories of our great state a little more in depth than something he was just spoon fed by his management. Like, for example, the tardiness and harshness of Adelaide City Council, the characters you’re likely to meet in Elizabeth and our bizarre way of lining up for public transport (guys, it’s actually not normal).

After pumping up our egos about how strange yet great we are, he then went on extended rants about his home country of America. Is there anything more comforting than hearing an American talk about how messy their own culture and history is? With the current climate? We think not. A refreshing change to a US comedian recently in Adelaide who sang a song entitled ‘We’re America. We’re Great. F**k You.’ Can’t say that one was too well received.

There were certainly parts of the show that left us gasping ‘Can you say that!?’ but what great comedy doesn’t have those moments? Being part Cherokee himself (not something he brings up) seems to make more acceptable room for jokes about the suffering of refugees.

The most brilliant part of this show was Hall’s interaction with the audience. We weren’t silent viewers of a scripted monologue, but rather active participants. Generally, I’m not a huge fan of audience participation, telling an entire crowd who I am and where I’m from isn’t my idea of fun. But Hall was incredible. To see someone ask an audience member what they do, pick up a guitar and weave it into a completely unique, off the cuff, RHYMING song was so skilful. And before the naysayers cry out ‘it was planned’ tell me how you plan a song about a forklift ticket assessment officer… and somehow make it rhyme?

There were plenty more where that came from, and even though the exceptionally crowded, stifling room had discomfort levels at an all-time high, we were all hanging on every single word that left Hall’s mouth.

Those that would ordinarily heckle the comedian were silenced as he jumped in first to heckle the crowd. Word of warning, don’t leave the show early, especially to grab another drink, he will make a spectacle of you! (And rightfully so if you ask us, it’s 60 minutes. Can’t you wait?)

An absolutely side splitting show from a brilliant talent. If pessimism isn’t your cup of tea, then neither will Rich Hall be. But if you get around a good grumble, we strongly suggest you get on board early next year. Plus, if a man named Donald gets the Presidency (and doesn’t blow up the world before the 2017 Adelaide Fringe) it’ll make for 60minutes of solid brilliance from Rich Hall.

Get your hands on the last tickets to his Saturday show here.

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