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Noble pause: Comedian's big comeback, even though he didn't go away

Culture

He never went away, he explains, he thought 2021 Comeback Tour was a fitting name after a three month Covid-induced break. But Ross Noble’s accidental tour hiatus didn’t stop him from gracing our screens on the ‘absolutely bonkers’ Celebrity Apprentice.

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With 16 tours under his belt, Ross Noble hasn’t stopped touring for over two decades. When Covid-19 hit and closed down theatres across the country, it pulled the rug out from under the comedian.

Now he’s back on a grand 2021 Comeback Special tour, with a two week residency at Brisbane Powerhouse starting 27 July as part of the Brisbane Comedy Festival.

“I thought it would be funny to call it the 2021 Comeback Special. One, I hadn’t been away for that long. Two, literally everyone went away,” Noble told InQueensland. 

“The whole world shut down and every performer on the planet was out of work. I wanted to imply that I was the only one that has been away.

“As somebody who’s made their living from pretty much exclusively stand-up and working live, Covid-19 has not been ideal.

Noble is unlike other comedians. He won’t tell you what his shows are about beforehand, mostly because he doesn’t know either. Known for his surreal, tangential shows like Sonic Waffle, Headspace Cowboy, and most recently Humournoid, he performs on the fly.

“I just see where the wind blows. What’s going on in my head changes second to second anyway. There is no theme, sometimes I have ideas prepped but then I get bored and don’t bother,” said Noble.

Used to touring all the time, Noble said he all of a sudden had free time he didn’t know what to do with, so he made the natural progression to compete on Celebrity Apprentice, which recently aired its ninth episode with Noble a strong contender.

“It’s a good way of raising money for charity but also during Covid it was the first time in my career where I’ve ever had spare time so I could either sit in the house and twiddle my thumbs or go and compete to win the coveted title of Celebrity Apprentice,” he said.

The world of Celebrity Apprentice is totally bonkers anyway, said Noble, but he’d also never really had a job before, which didn’t help.

“It’s all about impressing a fake boss in a fake boardroom for a fake job,” he said.

“You find yourself in situations like having to sell Chinese food with Anthony Callea or finding out whether people will buy Budgy Smugglers off The Veronicas. Every minute of every day while we were filming was absolutely bonkers.

“Especially arguing with Camilla (Franks)  on the show, I sat there thinking to myself ‘why am I in an argument with a woman who makes kaftans and turbans? What is going on?’”

“I think people assume that comedians are idiots. But you’ve actually got to be quite smart to appear this stupid.”

Ross Noble made his fame on the UK comedy circuit from his hometown of Newcastle but has been an honorary Australian for a while now, living on the outskirts of Melbourne with his wife and kids for a number of years.

He said there’s a stark difference between performing in the UK and Australia.

“Australians have a real larrikin spirit and like to muck about whereas the British audience, especially in the wintertime, are a bit miserable. You turn up to a town and it’s lashing down with rain and everyone’s had to drive through shocking traffic to be there.

“In the UK you plan to bring in a bit of sunshine into people’s lives. Whereas in Australia you’re already applying sunscreen to people’s backs.”

Ross Noble begins his 2021 Comeback Special Tour at Brisbane Powerhouse on 27 July. The Brisbane Comedy Festival kicks off 16 July with a huge lineup of international and local acts, for more information visit their website

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