Diary: MSN sponsor gunned down in Hall outburst

Forking out to be an awards sponsor never comes cheap, so to get a mention from the evening's compere should give that warm feeling of money well spent.

But at the New Media Age Effectiveness Awards in London last week, the key sponsor MSN got more than it bargained for when the US comic Rich Hall took to the stage.

With blatant disregard for the huge logo looming behind him, Hall launched into a 20-minute tirade against Bill Gates, the owner of Microsoft (and thus MSN).

"If he were a country, he'd be the 17th-richest nation in the world," he began. "$70 billion and the prick can't even crack a smile or buy a decent haircut," prompting schoolboy sniggers from punters sober enough to notice the gaff.

"If you stuffed his bed full of his money then kicked him out, it would take him 18 minutes to hit the floor. But with the interest he's making, chances are the prick would never land," he continued, winning more knowing cackles.

Then, after ripping into the foibles of Microsoft technology, Hall, the spit of Mo from The Simpsons, got personal. "Ever wondered why he's a megalomaniac?" he asked. "Obviously, the nerd never got laid in college. Maybe that's the real reason why his company's called Micro-soft."

One punter said: "From where I was sitting, his head appeared slap bang in the middle of the MSN logo. It was as if his ears were made from the wings of the MSN butterfly. It was poetic genius."

Reports say that Hall's agent has been flooded with calls and is delighted with the response, only he hasn't seen his client since he left the venue.

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