Last night I went and saw Ross Noble at the Melbourne International Comedy Festival, which is the second time I’ve seen him live – third if you count spotting him at a cafe with my girlfriend. When I went to the show in 2006, I remember crying with laughter at his absurd humour. This time wasn’t as hilarious, but it was worth going to see – certainly in terms of value for money!
For those of you who haven’t seen him on TV or on YouTube, Ross interacts with the audience constantly. Unlike most comedians, it’s hard to tell what’s prepared and what’s improvised – much of the show is his making fun of audience members and building up ridiculous fabrications about them based on one or two of their seemingly innocuous comments. The way he manages to constantly relate what prepared stories he has back to the audience members builds up a large repertoire of in-jokes between himself and the crowd – it’s nice to know the person in front of you isn’t just acting from memory. Must be one of the reasons why he’s so popular.
However, by the middle of this mammoth two and a half hour show the imitations he does of the crowd (he only has a couple of different voices!) become repetitive: I was trying to telepathically will him to stop dragging out the stories with tangents and his own laugher. In all the time he was on stage, he didn’t much content – most of his comedy was in his manner and on-the-spot witticisms (which are both top-notch). This wouldn’t be a bad thing if it wasn’t for the length of the show. I would’ve enjoyed the night a lot more if he’d struck a better balance between the jokes he writes and the jokes he makes up – many of which are using the same formula again and again.
David O’Doherty, The Delusionists and Arj Barker are all on Saturday night, and I can’t wait.