Recharged - and ready for laughs
ODD-MINDED Geordie comic Ross Noble shares the contents of his addled head at Swansea's Grand Theatre, stopping off as part of his Mindblender tour.
He has become a regular foil for Stephen Fry's cutting wit on QI and a rent-a-gag for
Have I Got News For You, but while he might seem omnipresent he has, in fact taken a break from stand-up for a while.
Happily he is back in the saddle and is heading this way on Wednesday.
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He says the break has been a recharging one, letting him indulge his passion for riding dirt bikes in an extreme off-road race in Transylvania.
"I had been gigging solidly for 21 years, so I thought, 'I'll take this year off. I won't tour, but I'll spend the time doing normal things like an off-road motorbike race through Dracula's home state," he laughs.
He says getting back on stage was a pleasure, though.
"I began performing again in Australia earlier this year. When I started, I was thinking, 'Do you have to be match fit like a boxer? What if I've forgotten how to do it?' "But the moment I walked on stage and the light hit me, it came flooding back.
"It was like getting back into a warm bath. And, he says, thanks to the break he is on his best form for years.
"I have recharged my mental batteries and come back with fresh energy.
"Having the year off has made me appreciate how much I love stand-up.
Though he insists on making it hard on himself by keeping the format loose, he says.
"What a lot of comedians will do is write a load of jokes, see which ones work and then hone them.
"But I simply go on and improvise stuff. That might spark the seed of the next idea, and that in turn might spark the seed of the next idea.
"I'm so keen to explore new ideas that I don't keep the original idea. My show is a constant work in progress.
"The best way to describe it is to say it is like driving a car.
"When they first start driving, most people are nervous.
"They have to look at the gear stick and don't know which pedal is which. But once they get to the point where they can drive without thinking, that's when they can go much faster and really start to fly.
"Stand-up is exactly the same. Playing a rough club is like driving in heavy traffic — you're constantly negotiating obstacles. If you skid off the road, you just deal with it.
"Yes, you might drive up a cul-de-sac, but then you can show off, do a handbrake turn and get back on the road!"
Strap yourself in for a scenic trip from 8pm.