An interesting story in the New York Times today on the Edinburgh Fringe comedy festival, supposedly the toughest competition in the world for stand-up comedians. It quotes former Saturday Night Live cast member Rich Hall.
"It goes on the longest, it is the most competitive and you are bankrolling it yourself.”
"You feel a bit like mercenaries. We’re in Rwanda, now we’re in Angola, next it’s Vietnam.”
When he lived in Montana in the 1990’s, Rich Hall frequently appeared at the comedy club at the Westerward Ho in Grand Forks before it closed. He has been a guest on WDAZ News @5 a half dozen times or more.
He is one of the funniest and most underrated comedians in the U.S. Not so in Europe, though, where he is a very big star.
Hall won the Edinburgh contest’s top prize, the Perrier Award, in 2000. He followed it up a year later with a show called "Rich Hall and Dave Fulton Present The Terry Dullum Appeal." I am not making this up. I couldn’t.
Having only read the show’s reviews, I gather it was a spoof on benefits or appeals. In it, Terry Dullum is a little boy from Wisconsin with Tourette’s syndrome. That is, he may have Tourette’s, or he may just swear at lot. According to a life-sized lobby display advertising the show, he also has some sort of claw for a right hand. Terry doesn’t appear in the show, but his stepfather does. So does his favorite professional wrestler–all trying to raise money for little Terry. Again, I couldn’t make this up. Only Rich could.
Why the show carried my name, I don’t know. Hall now lives in London and rarely performs in the U.S. except for an occasional appearance on television with David Lettermen or Conan O’Brien.