Ross Noble - Randomist
During the last 7 years of Ross' career, he's gained a reputation as one of the most entertaining, original, off -the-wall and just down right hilarious stand up comics in the country. Following the culmination of his last tour, Noodlemeister in Australia, Ross returns home to begin his 7th UK show, Randomist.
Framed by a gargantuan inflatable orange rubber curved twigletty type object, Ross kick starts the show nattering to various late comers in the front row - bouncing off their comments skilfully and amusingly. In fact, the majority of the first half consisted of Ross, very successfully, giving off the impression that a great deal of his set was off the cuff. At times he would launch into what MUST have been a pre-written set piece but one that was only reached from seemingly random elements from conversations with various audience members. It's difficult to distinguish between ad-libbed and pre-written stuff but and that's an immense skill to possess. It goes a long way to make that evening's audience feel like they're special and they will be the only people to witness these wonderful streams of consciousness.
Another thing to stand out about Ross' performance was the sheer originality and lack of cliché in his material. This quality is fairly well known, as it's what he's built such a successful career on, but it never fails to impress me. Having listened to reams of two-bit comedians doing poorly thought out and obvious satire on the current situation in the middle east or George W. Bush's war on an intangible concept, I can't tell you how refreshing it was to hear Ross approach the subject of the recent shooting of Charles De Menezes by British armed Police with genuine wit and inventiveness. In fact, his likeable nature and rapport with the audience allows him to seamlessly move on to such topics without it seeming like a transparent effort to shock for the sake of it. The Muslim Ramblers Association not being able to wear backpacks, the size of a dwarf's cock, mental illness - all subjects that, without his brilliant, flippant and off-the-wall approach, could have easily felt like predictable, dull satire. To take material from subjects I don't normally find funny, and turn them on their heads until I'm laughing like a twat is a skill I wish more comedians had in as many bucket loads as Ross does.
After two excellent acts, Ross threw the floor open to the assembled masses for a Q&A session during his encore. However, the problem with inviting a comedy audience to shout out at you plays right into the hands of unfunny, annoying twats who are DYING to have their unfunny and annoying comments blurted out as soon as possible. One inspired soul asked the question: "Do you think you should perform the rest of the show on the steps at the side of the stage as at the moment you appear to be stood in the path of a huge deformed crab [referring to the large inflatable stage dressing]". HAHAHAHA, yes well done now kindly shut the fuck up, ta. Another constantly pestered Ross to do the Hare Krishna dance from a previous show - obviously failing to grasp the concept of a comedian actually performing *new* material during a new tour. Finally, after being asked a question about the recent Ashes test, Ross was interrupted during a routine about Shane Warne by the sound of 5 Ampleforth College twats all shouting "BOWLED WARNIE" in unison thus interrupting his flow (something that's easy to do) for NO GOOD REASON. And yes, yes, I know heckling can be all part of the fun at times, but I pay money to see someone being funny for their profession, not to witness a bunch of cunts under the impression they're funnier than the act.
But, never mind - I'll live. What's important is that it was a true delight to see such a original, funny and consistent comedian perform at the very top of his form. Form that seems to have lasted for the last 7 years and has no signs of abandoning him, yet.
Ross Noble will be touring with Randomist in the UK until 18th December. Tour dates can be found on his official website.