"A lot of comedians aren't working with thermoplastics anymore," notes Rich Hall as he picks up a rectangular slab of Plexiglas and proceeds to use it as a wacky window on the world.
A lot of comedians, probably too many in fact, want us to listen to them examine their childhoods and their girlfriends and make fun of Dan Quayle. Only Rich Hall can see the possibilities in Plexiglas. Placing it in front of him like the counter at a movie concession stand, he looks down and exclaims:
"Eight dollars for Milk Duds? Give me an estimate on the Raisinettes. Eight dollars for Milk Duds? No, I'm just looking, thank you."
What you get from Rich Hall is a dose of reality mixed with a dose of nonsense. And if, as some scientists believe, laughter can help cure what ails you, then Blue Cross ought to start paying for tickets to Rich Hall in Concert.
Hall used to make house calls _ on "Saturday Night Live" and HBO's "Not Necessarily the News." But a visit to him in person is even better medicine, as his appearance at Park City's Egyptian Theatre proved Monday night.
What about those change machines that you can find in places like laundromats? "Don't you wonder about the guy who invented that?" asks Hall, who then becomes the inventor, muttering to himself: "I'm not making a penny on this deal."
Hall is probably best known as the originator of sniglets ("any word that doesn't appear in the dictionary but should"). In concert, though, the sniglets tend to fall a little flat. Hall was wise to do only three, and these only at the insistence of a rather rowdy audience.
The visual jokes worked better, even a silly routine with three boxes of detergent. Even more effective was a Paul Harvey imitation in which the radio commentator tells us that it's still safer to fly in Europe than to take a bath ("Careful, there could be a Shiite hiding in the hamper!").
Moammar Gadhafi, muses Harvey/Hall, "What man runs a country and only makes himself a colonel? In America if you make a chicken recipe with 14 herbs and spices you're a colonel."
The audience gave Hall a standing ovation and brought him back for an encore, during which he proved that he is as funny off the cuff as he is with routines and props.
Opening for Hall was one of the odder acts in show business today _ Chuck E. Weiss and Friends. Chuck E. does the blues, sounding like an old black man from Mississippi but singing words like "the sky turned the color of Pepto Bismol."
Don't miss the guys if they ever come back to Utah.