Christopher Hall – Background Singing, Stand-Up, And Trying To Live Better

Following a sold-out run at the Edinburgh Fringe in 2023, and a collection of huge collaborations with global icons, UK comedian Christopher Hall is in Australia with his new show 'Self Helpless’.

Christopher Hall

It's an (un)wellness journey of discovery for the ages. Procrastination methods, the development of anxious thoughts, and self-helplessness. Chris is wading sarcastically through the world of millennial-dom, the only way he knows how.

Chris' series 'Your Cat' and 'The Superstition HQ' have done their part in bringing viewers to him from all over the world. COVID was the most unexpected lemon to produce lemonade, however – when Chris took to Instagram and Tik Tok to release a series of sketches.

These sketches have now been seen by more than 50 million eyes and liked more than 12 million times.

You also may have seen him dominating algorithms with his 'Background Singers' series. . . Where Chris and his sister come up with their interpretations of the background singers of their favourite artists. Such is the power of the internet that a handful of these singers themselves (we're talking the likes of Gwen Stefani and The Jonas Brothers) have even featured in some of the 'Background Singers' videos. No biggie.

Before Chris hits the stage with 'Self Helpless', we speak to him about his career, this show, the runaway success of 'Background Singers' and more.

This is your first ever tour! What is this experience like so far?!
It’s been great so far. I’ve travelled for work before but not for a solo show, so I stop and reflect every so often and think how incredible this is that I’m overseas performing a solo show, and people are actually buying tickets, it’s amazing.

You had a sold-out run of the Edinburgh Fringe last year. Tell us about how it felt to sell out at such an iconic event.
That was super overwhelming, I’d been attending the Edinburgh Fringe as a viewer since I was a teenager and to sell out when there are so many shows to see was madness. The crowds were wild I had so much fun!

You’ve brought ’Self Helpless’ to our shores. What sorts of things are covered in this show?
I mostly talk about all the ways I try and live a better life, there’s always some new therapy or magic trick people are convinced is the best way to live life and find peace and health, and especially since 2020, I try them all. Hopefully by the end we can all agree that we’re all a little bit of a mess but that’s ok.

And what are you most looking forward to about these shows?
I’m just so excited to perform for audiences that wouldn’t normally get to see me live as easily! It’s going to be a scream, as I think the Aussie humour is similar to British. I want to make sure everyone has a cracking night.

A lot of your following and success came via/during the pandemic. What inspired you to jump on Instagram/Tik Tok and whip something up?
Pursuing comedy and making content was always something I’d wanted to do, and thought I’d be good at, but I was focused on other things and was worried about what people would think. In the pandemic I’d lost my jobs for the third time by January 2021, and just thought, if not now. . . Then when.

You’ve captured the attention of some wildly big names. What would you say has been your highlight collaboration thus far, and why?
It’s so hard to pick! Shania Twain was pretty iconic, I remember the Come On Over album being played in everyone’s car on every car journey when it came out. My little sister (and fellow ‘Background Singer’) was in awe of the Jonas Brothers and JoJo is one of my personal favourite artists so that was an amazing moment. This year also we collaborated with Delta Goodrem, basically royalty.

In reference to your ‘Background Singers’ series. . . Where do you start when it comes to choreographing and preparing each one?!
We try and always make sure it’s a song we like, that’s fun for us, and then check that it has a fun Backing Vocal to play with. Then I choreograph and teach it to my sister. She’s a natural but not a trained dancer so we’ve had to find the best way of rehearsing together, she’s only stormed out of rehearsal once so I think we’re doing well.

Then how do the collaborations with the original singers come about? Do they reach out to you?
Mostly they reach out but we have also outreached a couple of times! It’s the wildest sight ever seeing an email that says, ‘Natasha Bedingfield wants to collab with you’, it’s mind-blowing.

It was 2022 that you took your comedy to the world of stand-up. Was that your first foray into ‘public speaking’, so to speak, on this scale? What made you decide to try your hand at it?
I graduated from Musical Theatre College in 2012, and worked in the industry up until 2020, so I was definitely comfortable on stage, making a fool of myself and playing up to an audience. The difference was in theatre you are doing what the creatives ask of you, and in stand-up you’re the writer/producer/director and performer all in one, which is a very different process. My physicality on stage often gets commented on, so I guess the ballet classes haven’t gone to waste!

What’s the biggest lesson you’ve learned so far, in doing what you do?
I’m still working on it, but trying your best to keep authentic to who you are and leaning in to what you do best as much as you can is the ticket! Always making sure you personally are having fun and not focusing on the destination too much. Oh, and no one is overthinking the conversation you had with them six months ago so you should let it go too.

Christopher Hall plays The Comic's Lounge (Melbourne) 19 March and The Comedy Store (Sydney) 29 March.