He’s Everywhere! From stand-up at just about every Rhode Island comedy club to his Ocean State Follies, Charlie Hall has entertained Rhode Islanders for as long as I can remember.
For his “real job,” he is a court sketch artist and in his spare time he draws political cartoons for the Warwick Beacon, Cranston Herald, Johnston Sun Rise and Providence Journal.
Charlie Hall, the first inductee into the Rhode Island Comedy Hall of Fame, has teamed up with Doreen Collins, first female inductee into the hall, to present a new comedy show, “Aging Disgracefully.”
The comedian, well into his sixties, and his long-time Follies performer, “well on her way,” have developed a hysterically funny show that they describe as “stand-up, songs and skits on everything from bingo to botox.”
Collins calls it a work in progress, as the duo assesses their audiences’ reactions, which are different every night.
Last Friday night at Lancellotta’s Banquet Restaurant in North Providence, the packed hall laughed long and loud at their shenanigans, as they poked fun at the aging process and their role in it. Charlie got the room’s attention by making the usual opening statement: “Turn off your iPhones,” but added “pacemakers and heart monitors.”
“We are careful about not offending anyone,” Charlie told me after the show. “We make fun of ourselves and near the end come out in costume to do a bit. It changes every night, and we play to the audience, involving them without embarrassing them.”
The jokes are funny, some even a bit corny. Some are risqué, like the old vaudeville days, and Hall and Collins respect that fine line between risqué and raunchy. As a senior himself, Charlie can joke about his experiences with hearing loss and nighttime trips to the bathroom.
There are the quips about Viagra and colonoscopies, forgetfulness, and a funny song about AARP sung to the tune of YMCA. Hall and Collins are masters of ad-libs, playing off each other perfectly. This is not a polished show, and I say that in a positive way. While their comic timing is excellent, an occasional flub of a line usually gets the big laugh. Another funny bit includes a number of homemade devices that Charlie has invented for seniors.
In one segment, they alternate singing a few lines of a song with their revised words. “Memory” from CATS will have you in hysterics, as it did with one woman whose infectious laugh got the entire room going crazy.
The show takes a big breath at the end when Doreen sings a serious song, “I’m Still Here,” which is a message to young people about not forgetting their elders and recognizing their importance and dignity. The audience joins them in “Young at Heart” and all leave having laughed at the aging process, whether gracefully or disgracefully.
To book the show for your next fundraiser or function, contact Doreen Collins at 447-1594 or Charlie Hall at Rhodecomic@