Thursday, July 1, 2010

Ross Noble - Randomist (2006)

Most likely, Ross Noble has some terrifically funny material. Odds are, he's got some hilarious gags that would have you laughing until your sides hurt. Unfortunately, he never gets to it. Fortunately, what takes place on stage instead of prepared material is proof of why Noble may be one of the most brilliant comic minds in the world. There is a reason this 4 DVD set is entitled "Randomist". It isn't about running thru a set, it's about what's running thru his mind.

Noble seems to have acquired a version of Attention Deficit Disorder that allows him to articulate on whatever it is that has captured his fancy in such a funny way that you don't want him to ever be cured. For starters, if you're at all self-conscious and are going to one of his shows, whatever you do, don't show up late. He notices the latecomers, is distracted by them, and they become fodder for jokes for anywhere from a couple of lines to a running gag throughout the entire evening. And if you yourself suffer from ADD, this may not be the disc for you. Because Noble runs completely on stream-of-consciousness, you really have to watch the entire DVD straight thru in one sitting. Pausing or stopping to go out and do something else and then resuming the show later is practically not an option with this. It's the type of comedy that builds on itself, and gets funnier as it steamrolls along, and interrupting that flow of momentum will lead to a train wreck of monumental proportions. And you'll be really lost when you start the DVD back up again.

Stalking back and forth across the stage in his track-suit outfit like an overly-caffinated athlete warming up for a sprint around the globe, Noble only seems to approach something resembling material when he's reminded of a story he wants to share. But he's only telling the story because something the audience did or said remined him of it, not because he went on stage with the express intent of telling that particular story. Watching him at work is fascinating, following him from one tangent to another, and seeing him weave them together like some sort of psychedelic tapestry. Which brings up another interesting point; he's completely clean. Noble does not do drugs of any kind, which makes you really wonder about his brain all the more.

Due to not taking any drugs, his mental rolodex is in perfect working condition. This is extremely vital to his performing style, because Noble often distracts himself. In the middle of discussing one story, he's reminded of something else, and wanders off down that road. All is not lost however, as he does...eventually...return to the story he was originally telling. He is aware of whatever unfinished-story business he has going, and manages to wrap them all up in a race against time (and the closing of the nearby car-park). It almost comes across like a suspense film, as both the live audience, and the DVD watchers, move closer to the edges of their seats, wondering if he'll ever finish the story about the radio interview...

Noble may also be the most physically active comedian ever. There's a reason he wears a track suit at gigs, for he's constantly moving around the stage, even pacing when just telling a story. When he adds physical comedy into the mix, he's sometimes flat-out running. It's almost as if his body is trying to keep up with his mind. You'll be worn out too if you get this DVD set (his 3rd offering on DVD), as the 4 discs contain something close to 9 hours of material. The main show alone, filmed in Newcastle, England in December 2005, is 2 & 1/2 hours long. Then there are other shows included from the year long tour, commentary tracks from Noble on each show, separate documentary films for both the Scottish and Australian legs of the tour, plus another hidden show that can only be accessed by correctly answering a quiz based on having watched the contents of the DVD package. It's well worth getting a copy of this box set, as the laughs, and the massive quantity of them, will have you hunting down more DVD's from Noble. And you'll learn the proper way to tuck in an owl.

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