n HAVING begun their comedy careers under an all-encompassing title - the Three Men Trio Brothers Troupe - it's fitting that Greg Hemphill and Rab Christie are currently two of Scotland's busiest performers.

Having hosted last year's first season of Off The Ball, Radio Scotland's soccer phone-in fanzine programme, Greg Hemphill won a transfer to a longer-running footballing satire, Only An Excuse. He appeared in the show's small screen incarnation as well as in the stage version which toured Scottish theatres last autumn.

Typically, Greg had to turn his hand to a multiplicity of roles alongside his Only An Excuse cohorts, Jonathan Watson and Lewis MacLeod. So many, in fact, that even he has difficulty remembering them all.

``Let's think, I've been Derek Johnstone, Greavesie, John Lambie, Charlie Nicholas, Terry Butcher, Pierre van Hooydonk, the Pope, Brian Laudrup ..... in short, any role that requires a bloke whose first language isn't English,'' says Greg.

Greg's own everyday accent - a light-brown Canadian-Scottish brogue - is the result of a Glaswegian childhood partially misspent in the land of the maple leaf, the Hemphill family having bade farewell to the Gorbals when Pa Hemphill secured employment in Montreal.

He returned to Glasgow's heathery gloaming eight years ago as a student at Glasgow University's drama department. There he met Mr Christie, currently the voice of unlikely soulmates Peter Grant and Jean Paul Gaultier on Off The Ball's offshoot, On The Ball. Rab's TV CV encompasses Hamish MacBeth and High Road. He is soon to feature in a movie, Small Faces, with Greg booked for a Radio 4 sketch-show pilot, Wide Nation.

Presently, however, the duo have two writing projects: Pulp Video, BBC Scotland's forthcoming comedy TV sketch series, and the second series of ITV's The Baldy Man, Gregor Fisher's saga of discarded banana skins, missing manhole covers, and defecating seagulls.

Stand-up comedy, however, was what initially motivated the partnership. ``We couldn't settle on one name for our first gig, so we ran all the names we had together. The Three Men Trio Brothers Troupe looks a bit dated and studenty now.''

Aye. It's time now to doff our caps to the very funny Two Chaps Duo Siblings Combo.