Comedian Ross Noble Talks Travel & Tangentleman

24 March 2015

There's no two ways about it, Ross Noble is a charming guy. It's seen him sell out 14 Australian tours and build a wildly successful career as a stand-up comedian. It also means he goes off on tangents, such is the ease with which he finds himself drawn into lengthy conversations.

"Well, this is a bit boring!" Ross told me midway through a five-minute response to a question about how he packs his suitcases. Yet it's his attention to detail and willingness to draw out the humour from everyday situations that's helped shaped his latest show, Tangentleman.

 Ross Noble is back in Australia. (Image: Andy Hollingworth)

"The reason the show's called Tangentleman is because the show's not really about anything," Ross says during an early-morning chat in Brisbane. "It's just me talking about whatever's in my head, really."

It's this disarmingly off-the-cuff style which has seen Noble sell out shows across the country, with the Geordie comic almost as familiar with Australian audiences as he is with his native England.

"In 2007 I did a tour which we made into a TV series that was on Channel Ten over here. I started in Brisbane and I did the whole country – I didn't use any aeroplanes at all – and I did the whole thing on my motorbike over five months.

"I did 26,000 kilometres of just... gig-to-gig and played pretty much everywhere you could play."

You could say that Noble, who started his latest Australian tour in Adelaide and who will wrap it up in Sydney almost two months later, is somewhat of an enthusiastic road warrior.

He's particularly fond of regional Australia, name-checking Port Hedland in Western Australia, the Queensland mining town of Mount Isa and the isolated Broken Hill in New South Wales as three of his favourite stops from tours past.

"They're definitely pleased that you've turned up," Noble says of the crowds who turn out to watch a big-name foreign comic entertain some of Australia's most remote towns. "But that's also coupled with the fact that you might be their big night out, so they properly get on the drink!"

With frequent TV appearances and regular radio slots complementing his relentless stand-up schedule, you could be forgiven for thinking that Noble – who is married to an Australian – might one day be keen to settle into a life of domiciled routine.

Yet there's still plenty more of the planet this much-travelled comic is eager to see.

"I've been trying to do a gig in the South Pole for ages! For years and years that's been on my list," Noble says of his ultimate travel destination.

"I haven't really done America in the way that I'd like," he adds. "I'd especially like to go driving in the Deep South. That sort of really fascinates me, all that Bible Belt and all around there.

"I'd like to spend a couple of years properly criss-crossing America the way I've done down here."

For now, Noble is focused on a latest Australian tour which saw him draw rave reviews at the recent Adelaide Fringe Festival.

"The main thing with the show is that it's a proper live experience," Noble says. "Nowadays you can stream things online and you can get instant entertainment delivered straight to you.

"But with stand-up, the beauty of it is that it's just in the moment, on the night. It's the sort of thing where you're getting an experience – an actual live experience – rather than just sitting there passively watching a show."

A unique experience filled with off-the-cuff observations, audience interaction and more jokes than the average punter tells in a lifetime?

Now that's a Noble sentiment indeed.

 Ross is on tour across the country

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Ross Noble's upcoming Australian 2015 tour dates

Brisbane - March 24 to 27. Toowoomba - March 28. Rockhampton - April 1. Gladstone - April 2. Bundaberg - April 3. Caloundra - April 4. Gold Coast - April 5. Port Macquarie - April 8. Taree - April 9. Newcastle - April 10. Wollongong - April 11. Melbourne - April 14 to 18. Bendigo - April 20. Canberra - April 22 & 23. Sydney - April 24 to 29.

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Mike Tuckerman

From Europe to Asia and many places in between, there's rarely a town or city I've not enjoyed exploring. When I'm not wandering the streets and discovering new destinations, you can usually find me hanging out with the locals at major sporting events.