**** STARS

By Jessica Taurins

After seeing Ross Noble’s Comeback Special at this year’s MICF, I can only wonder how his wife spent the entirety of lockdown with him without committing some kind of murder. Noble’s Special opens with a starry background, which dissipates slowly to reveal a giant inflatable head, signifying our horrifying (yet entertaining) descent into his wacky mind.

Noble is an extremely seasoned comedian, having been a performer for 20+ years, and his skill in comedy is impressively displayed during his shows. However, you can’t go in there thinking that this will be a traditional stand-up show – no, this is a stream of consciousness semi-nightmare experience, running rampant through Noble’s vast, weird psyche.

To give a few examples:

 

  • Noble mentions a story about mobile phones about five minutes into the show, and only finishes his joke an hour later.
  • He references multiple films, from Die Hard, to the Matrix, and even drops in a Star Wars joke that gets everyone laughing, then he moves on so quickly it’s like he never mentioned anything at all.
  • A woman in the front row wearing a beanie with a bobble on top distracts him, and he derails his train of thought for five full minutes to think about what a knitted boob would feel like for a baby to nurse on.
  • He tells a story about a previous show where he repeats ‘monkey tits’ over and over, just to see an Auslan interpreter use the signs for the audience.
  • There’s a great (probably NDA-breaking) segment about his time on Celebrity Apprentice, which hasn’t yet gone to broadcast. There’s some juicy gossip in there that should not be written down, but was definitely a highlight of the evening.

Noble has an amazing ability to turn anything into a punchline. Even jokes that seem to fall flat are brought back around as though it was always his intention, plus his one-liners are so snappy they often startle the audience into raucous laughter. His cadence and emphasis on certain words make him so extremely fun to listen to, making even simple audience interaction moments light up the show.

While it is a bit disconcerting to sit through an entirely unscripted stand up show, Noble’s special brand of comedy is so truthful to himself, his brain, and his life, that it feels somehow intimate despite the large theatre. For anyone looking for a completely unique show, or just to shut their brain off for a bit and let some silliness wash over them, Noble’s 2021 Comeback Special is well worth the time.

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