Ref NoBSUCA/OD/1/40
CollectionOliver Double Collection
TitleRoss Noble interviewed by Oliver Double
Name of creatorDouble, Oliver, 1965-
Duration1 hr. 22 min. 13 sec.
Extent1 sound disc (MiniDisc) (80min)
1 audio file Broadcast WAVE Format (BWF)
DescriptionRoss Noble interviewed by Oliver Double at the Haagen Daz Cafe, Leicester Square, 25th August 2009.

Summary: [00:04] Recording starts, general chat about mini-discs [01:19] Oliver Double asks Ross Noble [RN] how he got into Jonathan Winters. [01:49] RN says that many people in America were influenced by him, Robin Williams, Bill Cosby [02:40] RN used to listen to Billy Connolly, Jasper Carrott.
[03:19] Shows like Just For Laughs and Paramount City led RN into reading more about comedy. [04:14] Oliver Double asks RN what it was about Carrott and Connolly that he got into? RN liked the nature of what they did, the creativity of it, they were specific. [05:00] RN liked Lenny Henry as a child.
[05:41] Jasper Carrott had an edge to him. [06:09] Books of his routines Sweet and Sour Labrador and Little Zit on the Side. [06:41] Magic Roundabout Funky Moped album. [07:15] Jasper Carrott was establishment but not middle of the road. [07:27] Comic Strip were edgy and wild compared to mainstream comics, but many were still middle of road. [08:02] Keith Allen had the edge.
[08:24] Oliver Double talks about Jasper Carrott’s warmth. [09:13] These comics were original, you couldn’t see their influences, [09:26] The mainstream comics were trying to be like Bernard Manning Wheeltappers and Shunters.
[09:43] Oliver Double asks about the comedy scene in the North East. [09:55] RN says there were two camps. One was Chirpy Chappies Comedy Café run by Dave Johns under the stage name Ben E. Cauthen. [10:56] support acts there were Mike Milligan, John Fothergill, Anvil Springsteen, and Paul Sneddon as Vladimir McTavish. [11:28] He had headliners like Jo Brand, Mark Lamarr, Mark Steel.
[11:40] The other was the Crack Club run by the Near the Knuckle comedy collective, which Anvil Springsteen was also part of. Tony Mendoza, Steffen Peddie, The Big Fun Club double act, and Eric Scarboro and Ernie Thick who were a Morecambe and Wise spoof. [14:07] Scarboro and Thick did parodies of Spender. [14:55] Ernie Thick went solo and used his real name Gavin Webster.
[15:27] Outside of London, comedy clubs like The Glee Club and The Frog and Bucket in Manchester opened. [16:00] 1992-3 The Glee Club opened, the first proper comedy club outside of London where there were proper seats.
[17:19] RN started in 1992. [17:48] People would get asked “Do you do jokes or are you alternative?” by the older people. [18:13] This evolved into people asking “Is it gags or is it more like Billy Connolly?”
[18:36] One night they’d do a working men’s club, the next night it would be a function room, then it would be Stockton Festival with a marquee. [19:00] In effect it was what had happened in London ten years earlier.
[19:20] Oliver Double asks if starting so young influenced his style.
[20:11] RN compered at Newcastle University and Sunderland University, [20:31] and he compered at the Comedy Shack in York [20:39] The headline acts were Jeff Green, Lee Evans, Patrick Marber, and they eventually led to Lee Hurst and Jo Brand.
[22:08] Oliver Doubles asks RN about moving down to London. [22:15] RN describes it as being like starting over again. [23:00] RN won the heats of a comedy competition, but someone else won. [23:57] He moved to London in 1995 and did open mic nights.
[24:29] His first agent ran a comedy club in Southend and got him some gigs in the South of England like he had in the North East. [25:22] RN did a gig in a pub Essex where he did promotions for Foster’s Ice.
[26:40] RN tells stories of all the weird warm-up gigs he did, including for Gail’s Campus Capers, a gameshow around universities with a Page 3 girl called Gail.
[27:22] Who’s Sorry Now on Living TV, a show about couples with grievances would have their fate decided by the audience and a spinning wheel. [27:40] RN went on as a fake contestant. [28:50] RN did loads of warm-up acts for shows, he did a sports quiz show called Sick As a Parrot.
[30:00] He did a warm-up gig for GMTV’s Fun in the Sun in Spain on the beach entertaining holiday makers with Mr Motivator. [30:25] Oliver Double asks how he retained creativity during appalling gigs. [32:40] He did warm-up gig for the Radio 1 Road Show. [33:14] RN reflects on this period of his life as being like a montage in a film.
[33:49] The gig he hated the most was a Sky One chat show fronted by Richard Littlejohn called Live and Unleashed, guests included Barbara Windsor and Mad Frankie Fraser.
[36:40] Oliver Double asks when RN started doing things more on his own terms.
[37:28] In 1996 he went up to Edinburgh, when he did non-stop gigs. [38:41] In 1997 he didn’t go to Edinburgh, went back in 1998 and gained a following in the comedy clubs.
[39:22] In 1999 he won the Perrier Award in Edinburgh. [39:40] The papers start writing about his show, and the publicity spread. [41:13] RN talks about getting into the touring circuit without having to be a TV name. [42:13] Oliver Double says RN was probably the first person to do this since Eddie Izzard.
[42:18] RN talks about West End theatre, The Vaudeville, The Soho Theatre, The Garrick, The Apollo. [42:59] RN started to release DVDs.
[43:10] Oliver Double asks about the DVDs. [43:43] Oliver Double describes comedy DVDs as the modern day equivalent of the comedy album. [43:50] 78 Discs Gracie Fields and Max Miller. [44:00] Oliver Double asks about the paradoxical nature of the live medium of stand-up being bottled on a DVD.
[44:19] RN says DVDs have replaced socks as Christmas presents. [45:05] RN says you’d get more laughs per minute on a stand-up DVD than in a comedy film. [45:43] It also acts as a souvenir, like an album of a band. [47:47] RN discusses how he’s one of the first people to really capitalise on the stand-up comedy DVD as a thing in itself.
[48:31] RN talks about Jimmy Carr also doing DVDs and extras. [49:15] RN talks about the importance of the bonus features. [49:35] Oliver Double says it’s useful in the same way a director’s audio commentary on a film is. [50:21] Oliver Double says RN’s DVDs are a million miles away from most other comedy DVDs. [50:39] RN makes a private quip at the expense of Michael McIntyre. [51:33] Oliver Double criticises him for reinforcing the stereotype of the comedian being genial and little else.
[51:56] Oliver Double says DVDS capture a moment in time, like how Max Miller’s records from October 1938 capture what people from that time definitively found funny. [53:10] Oliver Double asks RN if his desire to document is because his material is unique.
[54:55] Oliver Double asks RN how he remembers what he’s documented. [55:11] RN discusses the TV series he’d just made, manager sits and writes down everything he’s doing so he can cross-reference that and find the tape; when finding clips for a show reel, the methodology is very haphazard.
[01:00:17] Oliver Double talks about how stand-up can take on a life of its own, you can trace that back to ITMA [It’s That Man Again]. [01:00:49] Oliver Double says the line between onstage and offstage persona is blurred. [01:01:20] RN says that people, especially kids, shout quotes at him and ask requests. [01:04:34] RN says it shouldn’t get to the point where it’s like people quoting Monty Python.
[01:06:14] Oliver Double asks RN how he prepares for a show. [01:06:34] RN talks about one show where he’d done no preparation at all. [01:07:09] RN says it’s less about coming up with a show and more just getting up to match fitness, mentally and physically. [01:07:42] RN says of improv that it’s not the speed of the invention but the application of it.
[01:13:54] Oliver Double asks RN what he thinks comedy is besides just making people laugh. [01:14:23] RN talks about physical precision. [01:18:00] RN talks about people not understanding sarcasm.
[01:20:06] Interview ends. [01:20:15] Recording ends.
Notes1 MiniDisc, digitised to LPCM wave 24 bit 44.1kHz. Digitised using Sony Minidisc Deck MDS-JE53; Roland Edirol UA-25; Audacity 2.1.0. 2015-05-21.
CategoryAudio recordings
Access conditionsAvailable for consultation at the University of Kent's Special Collections & Archives reading room, Templeman Library, University of Kent, Canterbury, CT2 7NU. Access is available via digital listening copies. The University of Kent acknowledges the intellectual property rights of those named as contributors in this recording and the rights of those not identified.
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