Com­edy

The Chronicle - - What’s On - By MIKE KELLY

WHILE US Pres­i­dent Don­ald Trump di­vides the world into those who love him and those who hate him, one group of peo­ple are united in their feel­ings to­wards him.

Co­me­di­ans.

As a source of ma­te­rial it doesn’t get much bet­ter than Trump, as North East au­di­ences will find out later this month when Rich Hall’s Hoe­down comes to New­cas­tle Tyne The­atre & Opera House.

The first half of the show is, Rich says, an ex­am­i­na­tion of the catas­tro­phe Pres­i­dent Trump is wreak­ing on the world on a daily ba­sis.

The US-born co­me­dian joked: “I love the fact that Trump is Pres­i­dent. It’s great for com­edy, even though it’s dread­ful for the rest of the world and hu­mankind!

“But peo­ple ex­pect me to talk about it. You can’t avoid talk­ing about Trump be­cause he in­fil­trates ev­ery part of our world like a wee­vil. He’s like an egg sac which has bored into ev­ery as­pect of our lives.”

Rich, a fa­mil­iar face on TV, most re­cently fronting the BBC-aired Rich Hall’s Work­ing For The Amer­i­can Dream, says he has to be fleet of foot when tack­ling the sub­ject of Trump.

“My ma­te­rial keeps chang­ing be­cause the guy changes ev­ery day on a whim,” he said.

“No Trump joke has any shelf life at all. It’s good for three hours – then it’s out the win­dow. Jokes about the wall, for in­stance, are so last year. But at least it keeps you on your toes.”

The sec­ond half of Rich Hall’s Hoe­down is a ri­otous trib­ute to the de­lights of Amer­i­cana. With his band, the co­me­dian per­forms 10 to 12 songs, many of which he im­pro­vises, us­ing ma­te­rial he has gleaned from the au­di­ence in the first half.

Rich said: “The peo­ple in the front row re­alise that they will be tar­gets, but they will also be ser­e­naded. I like to find a cou­ple who have been mar­ried for a long time and write a song about how they first met.

“You have to keep your mind open to im­pro­vise. The best mo­ments come when the au­di­ence say to them­selves, ‘I didn’t see that com­ing.’

“You paint your­self into such a cor­ner that the au­di­ence think, ‘How is he ever go­ing to get out of that?’ And then you es­cape. It’s a real chal­lenge, but that’s what makes it funny.”

The New­cas­tle gig is part of a na­tion­wide tour which has been go­ing on through­out 2018. And it seems the au­di­ence like to get into the spirit of the show, turn­ing up at venues dressed in a full cow­boy hat and cow­boy boot en­sem­ble.

Rich, who won the Per­rier Award at the 2000 Ed­in­burgh Fes­ti­val as his bour­bon-soaked, coun­try and western-singing Ten­nessean al­ter ego, Otis Lee Cren­shaw, said: “The re­sponse has been as­tound­ing.”

One of Rich’s most mem­o­rable songs is called “Eritrean Truck­ing Buddy”.

He re­vealed: “It’s about the habits of Bri­tish truck driv­ers. In Amer­ica, a song about truck driv­ing would be very ro­man­tic and all about women in hal­ter tops hitch­hik­ing. But in Bri­tain, it’s far less ro­man­tic. The driv­ers have to get out and look un­der­neath their truck for hu­man cargo.

“This song is about a Bri­tish driver who finds a refugee from Eritrea un­der his truck and gives him a lift. It works quite well – un­less you’re from Croy­don. It doesn’t show Croy­don in a good light!”

■ Rich Hall’s Hoe­down, New­cas­tle Tyne The­atre & Opera House on Novem­ber 30 start­ing at 8pm.

Rich Hall

Don­ald Trump

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