Ross Noble: Humournoid

GETTING Ross Noble to tell you what’s in his forthcoming show, Humournoid, is a rough task – not because he’s being secretive, he just doesn’t know as he makes up most of it on the spot.

“I get distracted quite easily,” admits the Geordie comic. “Whatever’s in my head tends to dance to the front. When my show’s at its best I think it’s when my brain is open to anything.”

Ross Noble’s brain is open to anything when he’s on stage

The often-quoted statistic is that he improvises around 70 per cent of his show, but he says: “I don’t know, I’ve never measured it. What I do is I go on stage at the beginning and improvise, then if something tickles me I might write it down and then the next night, I’ll go back to that idea. But I might go back to that idea and do it a bit differently.

“So it’s never quite the same. I like that white-hot heat of being in the moment. Even if an idea was good, I won’t repeat it exactly the same because that’s last night’s thing, I’ll just take the essence of it and do something new with it.”

Walking on stage every night to face thousands of people with only a vague plan of what you’re going to do would sound daunting to most people, but Ross insists he doesn’t get nervous.

“No, because there’s nothing to be frightened of,” he says. “I think this applies to life as well. There’s no point worrying about what’s going to happen, you may as well just deal with it when it happens.

“I think you can get too hamstrung by worrying. Don’t worry about the past, don’t worry about the future, just enjoy the moment you’re in. Could you just write in the article ‘at this point, Ross got into a lotus position and floated three feet in the air’?

“I do think I’m best on stage when I’m playing. And some people might think this is an emotionally stunted, man-child way of looking at it but I think it’s nice to make everything about playing. Because if you do that, it doesn’t matter if you’re winning or losing, you’re just playing.

“For example, if I say to my kids ‘tidy your room’, they won’t. If you go ‘Let’s see how many socks we can throw across the room into that laundry basket’, you get the tidying done and everyone’s had fun. I think that might be the secret of happiness: just turn everything into a game.”

The 43-year-old finds fun wherever he can – even on tour, saying: “It’s boring and depressing if you just do your show, sit in the bar, then go to bed so I try and keep it fun. I’ve got a little crew of guys I’ve known for ages and we find stuff to do during the day.

“It depends where we are. When we were in Australia it was like a slightly more blokey version of Priscilla, Queen of the Desert. We’ll do stuff like find motocross tracks or forests to go off and have fun with some off-road biking.

It’s exhausting but you’re full of adrenalin when you go on stage after a day doing that. Sometimes, I’ll look down at my hands on stage and my fingers will be bleeding.

 “Escape Rooms is always a popular one. You have to give it plenty of time though – you don’t want to be in an Escape Room an hour before you’re due on stage. We did one in Brisbane and we couldn’t find the entrance. You know it’s not a good start if you can’t even find the entrance to the Escape Room.”

Ross Noble’s Humournoid tour was due to arrive at G Live, Guildford, on Saturday 25 April, but dates are being rescheduled because of the coronavirus pandemic. For updates – plus comedy clips – visit rossnoble.com.

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