Cantankerous comedian Rich Hall is back on tour and is demanding you sit up and take notice of him.

The critically acclaimed stand-up has penned his new show, Rich Hall – 3:10 to Humour, and is eager to spend quality time with audiences across the UK – free from twitter, tablets and telephones.

He explains he enjoys being on tour, saying: “You have someone’s complete attention, which is almost impossible nowadays. People don’t even listen to President Obama speaking without looking at their phones all the time.

"So maybe those two hours when I’m up there on stage provide a respite from all of us slowly turning into gadget-pedalling robots.”

The American-born comedian is often pigeon-holed as a grumpy, acerbic character who is furious with the world – however, this is a myth he is quick to dispel.

“I’m not really angry at all,” says Rich, the inspiration behind crochety barman Moe Szyslak in The Simpsons.

“There are very small outward changes in my emotions. I have a sort of deadpan Walter Matthau visage. People think, ‘This guy looks grumpy’, but that’s just how my face is put together. Your comic demeanour has to match your face. Most comedians fit their face.”

Hailed as a master of absurdist irony and the king of rapid-fire wit, Rich is also famed for his ability to create spontaneous songs on stage improvised using observations from the audience.

The award-winning comedian has established a place on the British panel-show circuit, in shows such as QI, Mock the Week and Have I Got News for You – but he is excited to be back on the road speaking to a live audience.

He says: “What I love about stand-up is the immediacy of it. Having run the gamut of TV panel shows, after a while you know how to do them and they are not so much fun any more.

“I may have become overly familiar with the motorway service stations of the UK, but I really like discovering new places. It’s important to visit out of the way towns because it gives you a new perspective.”

Rich Hall – 3:10 to Humour, Alban Arena, Civic Centre, St Albans, Wednesday, March 4, 7pm. Details: 01727 844488,