Comedians know that you need the right audience for your jokes and material. And Charlie Hall and Doreen Collins (founder and star of the Ocean State Follies) didn’t need to look far. Their new show, Aging Disgracefully is all about becoming decrepit, with a sense of humor.
Long time Rhode Islanders know that Charlie Hall is the stand-up comedian and cartoon artist who founded the Ocean State Follies almost 30 years ago. He met Doreen Collins, a professional singer and actress from New York City, when she became a cast member. Political satire, song and dance, comedy and Rhode Island folklore gave the cabaret show its multi-decade popular run. But decades, demographics, and Covid, changed everything.
“About 3 years ago, I started to do stand-up again, but felt like I was out of step with the younger crowds and other comics,” Hall said. “So I decided to do a whole show about getting old, and decided to do it with gal pal, and former Follie member Doreen Collins. We have jokes and parodies, like the Ocean State Follies, but also a touching moment or two.”
Now, the duo call themselves “seasoned citizens,” and target their comedy in elegant and finely elderly form. The jokes range from viagra, to forgetfulness, from irritated digestive systems to CVS receipts long enough to measure a football field. According to infoplease.com, about 25% of the state is over the age of 55. So, the Ocean State is filled with an energetic and healthy, fun loving, albeit aging, population.
Follies fans are still faithful and ready for a good time. Proof of that: Charlie and Doreen are selling out shows weeks and months in advance. Their brilliant innovation was to find the right venues, and the right time of the day to perform. Entertaining sleepy folks wouldn’t be a winner, nor would attempting to engage the crowd in a poorly lit bar. And late night dive bars aren’t walker friendly. Performance spots now include Chan’s in Woonsocket, Chelo’s in Warwick, George’s in Galilee, The Lobster Pot in Bristol and Carriage Inn in Wickford.
“We don’t ensure that Ensure vodka drinks will be available at our shows,” Charlie laughs, “but we do more matinees than evenings, so that our friends and fans can order early bird suppers.”
“And no one wants to drive late, because we’re all losing our eyesight,” Doreen chimes in. “Booking matinees works for us too!”
As Charlie proudly says, “If they’re over the hill, they are with us!”
For full information about upcoming shows, check Motif’s listing or go directly to the website agingdisgracefully.net