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THE RAZZ: EDINBURGH FESTIVAL: Return of the Noble prizewinner; A Perrier Award nominee in 1999 and the last two years' top-selling act at the Fringe, Ross is back with new show.

Byline: By Jonathan Trew

FOR the last two years, Geordie comic Ross Noble has not only been the best-selling act at Edinburgh Fringe but he has also packed out theatres around the globe.

From Sydney to Shanghai, the mop-haired 28-year-old has let thousands of fans into his warped world of comedy monkeys, hat-wearing eels and discussions on whether or not the Lone Ranger was a dwarf.

But international success has not come without a downside.

The stand-up has beenon the road for so many months that at one point, he couldn't even remember where he lived.

He said: 'I was in Australia for so long that I kept forgetting whatmy house looked like.

'Previous places I had lived in kept coming into my head.'

Despite being constantly on the move, Noble says he doesn't miss his friends and home because he doesn't know anything else.

He added: 'It's all I've ever done. It's only in the last couple of years that I have had a house which I would call home.

For years, I just had a place which was basically full of bags and piles of stuff. It was like a storage unit with a bed.

'All the travelling makes you appreciate it more when you are home but if I'm here longer than three or four days then I start going a bit mental.

'I start thinking, 'I don't like making me own bed. I want to be in a hotel again.' He might not like making his ownbed but by performing an average 320 nights a year Noble makes James Brown, the self-styled hardest working man in showbiz, look like a slacker.

For the next month he'll be touring Scotland before hitting the Edinburgh Festival Fringe from August 16 for just six nights with new show Noodlemeister.

'Getting upon stage isn't a chore at all,' he claimed.

'I always think of myself as being quite a lazy person but doing gigs just isn't work at all. I talk to some comics and if they do more than three shows in a row they start getting pissed off.

'The way I see it, comedy is a win-win situation.The audience has a good time and so does the comedian.

One feeds off the other. I can't think of many other jobs where at the end of the working day you are in a better mood than when you started it.'

Noble, who was nominated for a Perrier Award at the Edinburgh Festival in 1999, is one of the most successful of the current crop of stand-ups but he has risen to the top largely without the aid of television.

'I've never been anti-television,' he explained. 'Everyone thought I had a real problem with panel game shows but the only one that I had any interest on appearing on was Have I Got News For You. It was about doing it on my own terms.

'People have also said that I didn't want to domy stand-up on telly. That's not true. It's just that I didn't want to domy stuff in a five minute slot on these crappy stand-up shows.

'If they put on a film of one of my shows then that is fine.'

Noble got his wish earlier this year when BBC2 broadcast their Ross Noble Night and screened a film of of one of his concerts followed by an episode of Have I Got News For You in which he appeared. Ultimately though, Noble says he doesn't want 'to beone of those people whose sole method of entertaining people is on the telly.Working live is the place for me.'

In August, Noble will be doing just that by riding his motorbike between a series of gigs in village halls and small venues all overScotland before performing a show in Glasgow and a week-long run in Edinburgh.

Noble has always done well in Scotland and hopes to follow in the footsteps of a certain Mr Connelly.

He has already got Billy's hair but Noble hopes to copy his hero in other ways as well.

According to Noble, 'Billy Connolly is the greatest comedian this country has ever produced. My ambition is to endup like Cosby, George Carlin and Billy Connolly.

'All these guys who are still out there doing stand-up at 60.'

Ross Noble plays Dunkeld, August 3; Skye, August 4; Lochinver, August 5; Ullapool, August 6; Perth, August 7; Aberdeen's Music Hall, August 8; Oban, August 9; Forres, August 10; Inverness' Eden Court, August 11; Orkney, August 12; Thurso, August 13; Alness, August 14; Glasgow's King's Theatre, August 15; Edinburgh Festival August 16-21 at the Edinburgh International Conference Centre.


MAKE 'EM LAUGH: Ross appears in Have I Got News For You, above left, and, above right, in his Perrier-nominated show
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Title Annotation:Features
Publication:Daily Record (Glasgow, Scotland)
Date:Jul 30, 2004
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