If you’ve ever had the bizarre pleasure of attending a Ross Noble show, then you’ll know precisely how difficult this review is to write. His trademark standup possesses no beginning, end, or anything that remotely resembles structure – unless the comedian’s tangential flow of absurdity somehow makes sense to you. Unlikely. But while the Newcastle native’s mind may be beyond comprehension, it is not to say that the journey upon which you are taken is not highly, HIGHLY enjoyable.
Prefacing his entrance with one of the most entertaining “TURN OFF YOUR MOBILE PHONES” segments I’ve ever encountered at a live performance – (and yes, it WAS shouted at us), the curtain dropped, and a giant Ross Noble face is split in half to reveal the man of the hour. With his feature curly mop, oversized long-sleeved black shirt and pants, and black shoes with in-your-face, bright pink soles, one can’t help but think that his physical representation is a spot-on reflection of his twisted, eccentric humour.
Revealing to us the none-too-shocking fact that “none of this is researched”, and that Humournoid “very much rewards those of you with an imagination”, we are treated to two hours of mostly adlibbed comedy. Confessing that the very morning of said show, he literally wondered to himself, “what am I going to talk about tonight”, random Ross cements his status as the king of improvisation. In fact, the bulk of his show is constructed on preposterous musings, inserted between references to a handful of victims in the audience (though victims may be the wrong word, as I’d love to make up a portion of one of his shows!)
From a particularly excitable reference to Adelaide’s new “lime scooters” – a self-confessed obsession of his, despite realizing that “adults on scooters look like knobs”, to stimulating bears and pleasuring pandas, a brief coverage of “gender politics” and the “solidarity diet” (where one should avoid consuming nuts, fruit cake, crackers, bananas, in support of mentally ill persons), there is never a dull moment in this two hour show. And while his attempt to be more PC spectacularly fails, he very clearly points out that he, as well as his humour, is “too fucking daft to be offensive”.
At one point of the performance, a heckler bellows out for him to “get on it with it”. Noble proceeds to calming explain that in every one of his shows, it is “not about the destination, it’s about the journey”, and that if anyone has ever turned up to one of his shows and wanted him to indeed, get on with it, then they have entirely missed the point of his craft. If you are one of these individuals, then probably best not to waste your time here. But for those of you who enjoy a tale or two about Anthony Callea in a canvas bag, scattering ashes at Disneyland, Viking funerals and wise Chinamen, or if you’ve ever wondered, “if you have sex with a ghost, is that cheating”? Then grab yourself a mother-effing-ticket!
There is a reason this charismatic, witty, unbelievable storyteller is so adored by his fans, and why he and we both keep coming back, year after year.
Rating: FOUR OUT OF FIVE STARS
Humournoid is playing at the Thebarton Theatre until March 16.