Rich Hall

Rich Hall
Rich Hall

Hall performing at the Tower Theatre in Upper Darby, Pennsylvania in 1986
Birth name Richard Hall
Born 10 June 1954 (1954-06-10) (age 57)
Alexandria, Virginia, United States
Medium Stand-up, Television
Nationality American
Years active 1979—present
Genres Observational comedy, Deadpan, Political satire
Subject(s) American culture, British culture, United States politics, British politics
Spouse Karen Hall
Notable works and roles QI, Saturday Night Live, Fridays, Late Show with David Letterman

Richard "Rich" Hall (born 10 June 1954) is an American comedian, writer and musician.


Early life and career

Hall was born in Alexandria, Virginia and grew up in Mecklenburg County, North Carolina. He is part Cherokee Indian.[1] 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.

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.[2] He was also a regular on Saturday Night Live. 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.

In the United States, he has appeared several times on American talk shows such as Late Show with David Letterman and Late Night with Conan O'Brien

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 twenty-three 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,[3] for which he has received much critical acclaim and is known as the game's most frequently victorious guest panellist with seven 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.[4][5] 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.[6] 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, Rich Hall's Dirty South in 2010, as well as a one off programme about the 2004 American Presidential Elections, Rich Hall's Election Special. He also appeared on the famous BBC Two programme Top Gear, where he successfully managed to make a song about a Rover 25 car, much to the enjoyment of the audience and the host, Jeremy Clarkson. 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.

In 2007, he returned to the Fringe with his second play, Best Western, which he wrote and directed. In 2008, he returned to television with a 90-minute documentary about Westerns, Rich Hall's How the West Was Lost, broadcast on BBC Four.

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 long time 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 long time collaborator Mike Wilmot and Montana-based actor Tim Williams in a new play entitled "Campfire Stories".

On April 5, 2010, Hall appeared as one of the stand-up acts on Channel 4's Comedy Gala, a benefit show organised by Channel 4 to raise money for Great Ormond Street Children's Hospital.

Hall is now a regular performer on Channel 4's Stand Up for the Week, which began in June 2010.[7]

In November 2011, Hall wrote and presented a 90-minute documentary about the American road movie for BBC Four's All American season, entitled: Rich Hall's Continental Drifters.[8]

Other appearances

Hall also 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 has also achieved some popularity in Australia, regularly appearing at the Melbourne International Comedy Festival and the Adelaide Fringe Festival, and also on Australian comedy panel shows, such as The Glass House and Spicks and Specks.

Rich Hall also made a guest appearance on Top Gear (British TV series) in 2003.

Hall has also appeared in France at the Altitude Comedy Festival 2008 in the ski resort of Meribel. He also appeared — albeit briefly — in the 2006 Cheap Seats (ESPNCL) episode titled "Steve Garvey Celebrity Skiing". He was also at the Garvey 1989 Celebrity Ski Classic.

List of celebrities impersonated on SNL

Musical and literary career


  1. London Not Tennessee (with The Black Liars) (2001)
  2. How Do We Do It? Volume! (2003)


  1. 1984: Sniglets (Snig'Lit: Any Word That Doesn't Appear in the Dictionary, but Should), ISBN 0-02-012530-5
  2. 1985: More Sniglets: Any Word That Doesn't Appear in the Dictionary, but Should
  3. 1986: Unexplained Sniglets of the Universe
  4. 1986: Rich Hall's Vanishing America, ISBN 0-02-547480-4
  5. 1987: Angry Young Sniglets (1987)
  6. 1989: When Sniglets Ruled the Earth (1989)
  7. 1994: Self Help for the Bleak: Attaboy Therapy, ISBN 0-8431-3669-3
  8. 2002: Things Snowball, ISBN 0-349-11576-1
  9. 2003: Top Gear, (2003)
  10. 2004: Otis Lee Crenshaw: I Blame Society, ISBN 0-349-11818-3
  11. 2009: Magnificent Bastards, ISBN 0-349-11965-1


External links

Wikimedia Foundation. 2010.

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