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24 September 2014
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June, 2004
Rich Hall with Mike Wilmot- The Oxford Playhouse
Rich Hall
Rich Hall
Never Mind the Buzzcock's irreverent panelist Rich Hall and alta-ego Otis Lee Crenshaw delighted Luci Cummings at the Playhouse.
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By Luci Cummings

In the current political climate it is a dangerous thing to be North American and performing live on a UK stage. American Rich Hall and Canadian support act Mike Wilmot rose to the challenge bravely in front of a packed Oxford Playhouse.

Wilmot's warm-up covered everything from the cultural gulf between Canadians and their American neighbours to middle-aged male laziness and female dominance in relationships. The jokes were funniest when Wilmot was making fun of himself and his lack of sexual prowess, during which the audience were almost paralysed with laughter.

Rich Hall's stand-up was exactly what we've come to expect - brash and vitriolic but incredibly funny. He began with an apology for being American, and followed up with attacks on George Bush's stupidity and the folly of the Gulf War. But he went further than merely trading on the UK public's increasingly hate-hate relationship with the States and moved on to laugh at Brits in general as well as specifically selected audience members who were unable to answer simple questions such as 'what is your job?'

Part two of the set saw Mike Wilmot take the stage once again, this time with a far more explicit set, focusing on the sexual incompatibility of men and women. This was arguably even funnier than his first appearance, especially with Hall heckling from backstage.

Hall returned as his alter ego Otis Lee Crenshaw and performed a number of country and western style songs with his own lyrical twists. Among the best of these were his part-improvisations based on discussions with audience members. Heckling from these same audience members meant that Hall often dropped out of his Crenshaw persona to answer back with the quick-fire wit and intelligence which characterises the rest of his stand-up.

This was the last night of a 36-date tour of the UK and the evening resembled the last day of a school term. Both comedians hilariously tried to undermine each other in the second half, and after a number of encores the applause showed that a good time was had by all. Bring on the next tour!

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