Ever since his first visit to Australia back in 1999, Ross Noble has become something of an honorary citizen.
Not only has the English comedian toured our nation 13 times, he reveals that his spouse is Australian too, as is his young daughter. Currently celebrating a 21-year-long career in comedy, Noble is about to return to the place he calls literally his “second home”.
“I’ve called my new show Mindblender because it’s basically whatever has been on my mind and different aspects of what’s going on in my head being blended up,” he says. “It doesn’t have a particular theme. It’s sort of split up into random ideas and spread out randomly on a canvas, metaphorically speaking. It’s just not really about anything, to be totally honest, it’s just me talking bollocks.”
Don’t be afraid to sit up the front either, Noble says – he promises not to pick on you.... Well, not too much, anyway. While he admits he encourages audience interaction, he frowns upon comedians making people feel uncomfortable.
“It’s a real shame that people have come to avoid front seats at comedy shows. They’ve said to me before, ‘Well, you know, comedians have picked on me’. When you come to one of my shows, there isn’t any kind of malice or aggression at all. It annoys me when I hear people say they don’t want to be up front because I’m going to pick on them. I don’t agree with that kind of comedy anyway. I really don’t like it when comedians try to get a laugh at the audience’s expense. At the same time, I don’t see anything wrong with audience interaction – which is a whole other thing, if you ask me. At my show, I can ask someone a question in the audience and then just spin off on that. It’s different. No one feels stupid or bad in the end.”
What’s more, audiences have continued to return year after year – 21 years straight now, in fact.
“When I first started, I just wanted to do a few gigs, it was fun for me,” Noble recalls. “But then people started paying me for it. I’ve never treated it like a job, I’ve never been the sort of person to go, ‘Oh god, what if I can’t make a living out of this’. The ‘making a living’ part has just been an extra bonus to doing what I love. It’s worth so much more than just money anyway – the amount of people that I’ve met along the way, that’s been priceless.”
When in 2007 Noble filmed his 96-day tour of Australia for a Channel Ten television series, he claims he experienced one of the greatest adventures of his life – and ended up with the key to the city of Port Pirie. He’s ready to do it all over again, too, he says, this time across his native UK.
“It took us five months to make that, we never intended it to be a hit TV show or anything, it was just going to be a DVD extra from that tour. I’m a big motorbike enthusiast so I decided to do the tour that way, without any airplanes at all. We actually ended up zigzagging all over the country because it was impossible to book venues in order as we went – I ended up doing 26,000 kilometres all together. It’s amazing some of the people we bumped into on the way, and the situations. When we stopped in Port Pirie, the mayor gave me the keys to the town. When I showed up to receive my ribbon it was like this old shed, so now I’ve got the unofficial key to the shed of Port Pirie! Another highlight was Kalgoorlie where someone lost control of their car and drove through the front of a brothel and we got to interview the owner of the brothel about it. You just get to see a lot more of the place when you’re on a bike, you can stop wherever you want, so we’re going to do another one around the UK starting next year.”
In the meantime, Noble is basking in the glory of his new horror flick, Stitches. Directed by Conor McMahon and also starring Tommy Knight and Gemma-Leah Devereux, Noble says the movie is about a birthday clown returning from the dead to exact revenge on the children who killed him. Marking a film debut for Noble, he enthuses that it’s already earned itself an award for Best Death Scene at a British horror movie festival.
“This clown turns up at a kids’ party and the kids accidentally kill him by throwing a football at his head which makes him fall backwards into a dishwasher and a knife goes through his head. Then this black magic weird clown cult brings him back to life and he seeks revenge on the kids who are now teenagers six years later. He kills them all using his mad clown skills. For example, he blows up someone’s head in the fashion that you blow up a balloon and so on. Stuff like that.”
Adelaide Entertainment Centre
Saturday, March 16