A noble comedian

24 April 2012 | 1:29 pm | Aleksia Barron

Ross Noble shares a story about how his jokes saved a man's life

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We've missed Ross Noble. Eccentric and engaging, he's become one of those comedians that Australia adopts as our own, frequently appearing on our stages, screens, and airwaves. We even married him off to an Aussie in the hopes that it could keep him here, although the Nobles ultimately decided to relocate to England following the destruction of their family home in the 2009 Victorian bushfires.

Finally, however, Noble is coming back to MICF with his new two-hour show, Nonsensory Overload. And the good news is, after a year-long hiatus from comedy, he's back at the top of his game. “I'm glad I had a break,” Noble admits, adding quickly, “...not that I've become jaded or anything. But I had a bit of time off and I've come back refreshed. I'm on really good form at the moment.”

Noble's new show sounds exactly like his classic style: “It's me talking bollocks in a hilarious fashion,” he says happily. “That's about all I can tell you because, to be honest, there's no theme. There's no sort of big, higher concept. It's just me talking. I will be overloading people with nonsense, basically.”

Essentially, Nonsensory Overload is classic Noble, from the meandering anecdotes to the “audience participation”. Noble doesn't consider everyone who calls out at him during a show to be heckling – in fact, he enjoys a bit of a chat. “I want people to be part of the show. I want to be able to talk to people in the audience but for them to not feel like I'm picking on them. But if somebody wants to disrupt it for others, I will tear them to pieces.”

His favourite heckler is a heck of a tale. “I did have one once, where somebody was shouting, 'Does anyone know Peter?' I went and did this whole thing about, 'Are you talking about the disciples? Does anyone know John?' and turned it into an auction sort of thing, like, 'Do we have a Mark?'” The situation, however, was not what he'd first thought. “It turned out that she was shouting, 'Does anyone know CPR?' because a guy was choking on a Malteaser.”

It turns out that Noble's comedy is so good, even a dying man won't look away. “He was choking to death but he was still watching the show, so because of that, he was laughing and choking at the same time. He laughed and the Malteaser flew out of his mouth.” So Noble saved a man's life with the power of comedy? “Yeah, pretty much.”

It's a great tale. But come to think of it, if a man was choking, shouldn't the woman have been asking whether anyone knew the Heimlich Manoeuvre? “Well, exactly,” laughs Noble. “She was an idiot, really.”