Ross Noble Interview
Ross Noble is an English comic who gives new meaning to the term ‘split focus’. His one man shows where he lets his mind run wild have sold out around the world and also found him a home and wife in Melbourne. He spoke to Geoff Bartlett about his new life in Australia and the joys of marriage.
Geoff Bartlett: I hear you have a birthday coming up.
Ross Noble: In June.
GB: What does that make you? A Gemini?
RN: Yeah, my wife goes on about all that zodiac business, but I’ve never really got that stuff. I prefer the Chinese, because I’m a Dragon. If it was all animals, I’d be happy with it. But as it is, you can be a lion, or a bull or you can be some scales. I don’t see how scales can compete with an animal. It’s too random for my liking. It’s like ‘Oh, you’re born in February, therefore you’re a doorstop, or the sign of the heating vent’.
GB: Was it your plan to settle down with an Australian lady?
RN: Not at all. Being on the road all the time doesn’t make it conducive to sustaining any sort of meaningful relationship. So I hadn’t planned on getting attached at all, and then I met her and I thought ‘Hang on a second!’ So it’s all worked out very nicely.
GB: So what makes Australian women special then?
RN: There’s a friendliness to Australian women. Australians in general are just very relaxed people. I think in England there’s an element of just being hammered down by life. It’s harder to meet people because everyone is in doors all the time. People don’t spend their time sitting outside in cafes and parks. In Melbourne, people interact, whereas in London, if you start chatting to people, they think you’re a bit mental.
GB: What are the frustrations for her with living with a guy like you?
RN: It’s not that I’m not a particularly focused person. I’m just all over the place. Like, I had a book and my mobile phone, and I was doing some stuff in the kitchen, and I thought ‘What have I done with them?’ I’d put some stuff in the fridge and put the book and phone in as well. Later, she found my phone frozen to the vegetables.
GB: Must make it hard for you to win an argument.
RN: I never win arguments because I always let myself down. I’ll go ‘Yeah, but what about…’ but she’ll just say ‘You put a book in the fridge.’
GB: What has settling down taught you about women?
RN: I initially thought that being married would alter women’s perception of me. They’d go ‘Oh, he’s married’ and if they were attracted to me, they’d lose interest. But I think it actually makes people more relaxed. I think that for women, in terms of finding someone attractive, it’s not the same as for blokes. If a man finds a woman attractive, 90% of the time it’s because he wants to shag that woman, rather than just finding her attractive.
GB: So what do women think?
RN: I think women deal with fantasies a lot more. Don’t get me wrong, I don’t think I’m some kind of fantasy figure for ladies, but I think there’s a longer list involved. It’s not like they think ‘He’s attractive, because I’d quite like a dirty evening with him.’
GB: Any tips on how to keep women happy?
RN: I’d like to hazard an answer to that, but I think when it appears in print, I’ll look like some sort of Yoda figure. I just think ‘Don’t try and figure them out’. The one thing they’re after, and it’s a universal thing, is for men to listen to what women have to say. Then you won’t go wrong.
GB: It’s as simple as that?
RN: Well, it’s all very well to listen, but it’s also about doing something about what you’ve heard. And making sure you’ve done it right. Otherwise, any work you’ve done in the first place, acting on what you’ve heard, is instantly reversed. And then not only does it appear that you haven’t listened, but that you’ve also just made something up yourself.
GB: But listening is tricky for men. We get distracted by bright and shiny things.
RN: Just find a wife who’s bright and shiny, and can easily distract you away from things…That sounds terrible doesn’t it. That makes my wife sound like some big haired, jewellery wearing, trophy bride. That’s just so wrong.
GB: Sounds like you’re still fine tuning the formula for success?
RN: I don’t really have that kind of head. Some people can analyse the whole men/women thing. But I think another good way of doing it is to find somebody who’s just an incredibly chilled out person. Find someone who isn’t mental, and then you don’t have to worry about the politics of relationships.
GB: So, is comedy a good seduction tool?
RN: I don’t know about that. It’s like that thing Billy Connolly says. It’s all very well being able to make people laugh, but there’s a point where you have to go from that, to putting your cards on the table and turning into the actual lover.
GB: Fair enough. I take it you’re familiar with Penthouse.
RN: I’m not a regular subscriber, but I’ve thumbed it.
GB: Is ‘thumbed’ a colloquial expression for something?
RN: Well, to quote my mate Dave, I have ‘splashed out’ on the odd copy.
GB: Well, now you can say to your wife, ‘Darling I did an interview with Penthouse. Let’s buy a copy when it comes out’.
RN: Sure. And then she’ll read it and say ‘Oh so you think you’re some sort of relationships guru do you! And look, you’ve called me ‘bright and shiny’!
GB: Sounds like you’ve got a lot of listening ahead of you.
This piece first appeared in Australian Penthouse.