“Rhode Island State Jester” Charlie Hall returns to Boston and Club Café with Mass Hysteria, his politically-minded musical cabaret aimed at the likes of Barney Frank, Mitt Romney, and, naturally, the MBTA. We spoke with the multi-talent about insomnia, the Bulger-Brady connection, and Chappaquiddick.
You mentioned in an email that you’re on two hours of sleep? That busy?
(laughs) Actually, I couldn’t sleep last night. I’m up early making half-price coupons for the show.
On top of marketing, what’s your role in Mass Hysteria?
I’m the producer. I’m the booker, the writer and, many times, I perform when somebody can’t make it. I’ve had to see what Massachusetts is all about. I’m a Rhode Island guy, so I had to come up here and read a lot of papers. I went to YouTube to see countless interviews of Whitey Bulger.
Reviled, but also a local hero.
Yes! He’s this legend, and we did a couple numbers about him in the show. At the very last part of the bit, he holds [up] this sign that says “Whitey for Mayor.” And the crowd goes wild! “Whitey for Mayor of Boston.”
People say he kept drugs out of Southie. Which is false, but …
We’re doing a bit with his girlfriend, Catherine Greig. We have Catherine Greig and Gisele Bundchen singing “Stand By Your Man.” You remember Gisele swore at [Tom Brady's] teammates. “All my Tommy can do is f’in throw it he can’t f’in catch it!”
There’s a Jesus Christ Superstar parody with Ted Kennedy.
Ted Kennedy comes out in a halo and there’s a song about all of his past scandals. I’m thinking, “Ehh, the Boston crowd, they love their Kennedys. They may not like that.” Sure enough, they laughed and they loved it.
I’m always down for Chappaquiddick jokes.
(laughs) Now that’s you.
You call the show “stand-up comedy set to music,” not musical cabaret. What’s the distinction?
The songs have set-ups and punchlines in them.
In my show, if I don’t hear a laugh every 15 seconds, then something is wrong.
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