My Stephen Hawking is better than yours

I’m not going to pretend, the following blog post is very self-indulgent and for that I apologise for in advance. I need to tell everyone though………seriously!

With that out of the way, let’s start this story at the very beginning. I first saw the comedian Ross Noble perform in 2002 when I was at university in Preston. I hadn’t even heard of him until then so I didn’t really know what to expect – as far as I was concerned this was just another comedy gig I was going to. To say his quick wit, ability to make things up seemingly out of thin air and stage presence impressed me that night would be a massive understatement. I was hooked.

Since then, I’ve been to several of Noble’s gigs per year and he has yet to disappoint in terms of laughs and pure entertainment value. Each show is different and no-one else in the world could even begin to think about some of the random bollocks that comes out of his mouth. Given my love of comedy and stand-up in particular, I’d like to think that I appreciate good comedy when I see it. That is why, over the years, Ross Noble has become a comedy hero of mine.

Now fast forward to May 2009 and my first meeting with Ross outside Newcastle City Hall after his gig there. I hadn’t a clue what to say to him, I just wanted him to sign some stuff for me really. Suddenly, I remembered that he had done a Stephen Hawking impression on one of his previous tours. Given that I also use a similar machine to communicate, I could only think of one thing to say:

“Hi Ross, do you want to have a competition to see who has the best Stephen Hawking impression?”

He laughed. Then he said he’d be using that one on stage in the future. I didn’t think anything of it really. I went home smiling (my friend Carrie would describe it more as a big fuck off grin, I’m sure), knowing that I’d made one of my comedy heroes laugh. Of course, curiosity got the better of me. I had to know if he’d used it as material. A few days later I went on his Facebook page to ask if he had mentioned a story about the Stephen Hawking guy. He had. At several different shows. Now, not only had I made him laugh, I had also made such an impression on him that he’d used me as material in his show. It may not be a big deal to you but it really did make my year.

It wasn’t until October 2009 until I got to hear the material myself though (believe me it was a long wait!) when I went to see him in London. And even then, I had to put a Stephen Hawking related gift on the stage during the piss break in the hope that it’d remind him about the story. My plan worked beautifully. He ended the show with the story (although his artistic licence had made it so much funnier) and I could go home a happy man. Top marks to my then girlfriend Julie for damaging her vocal chords by letting him know I was in the audience at the end, by the way!

When I met him after the show, he signed my ticket ‘To Lee, thanks for helping me with the show, saves me writing jokes, Ross’. Then he dropped another surprise on me by telling me that it was going to be on the DVD. I literally bounced all the way home! Of course, these things always take a while to come out….18 bloody months since I had originally made the joke in this case!

And here we are, November 2010 and the DVD has finally been released (much to the relief of everyone I know because I’ll shut up about it now…..promise). True to form, Ross mentions the Stephen Hawking story in the first few minutes of the show then goes off on a tangent before finally getting back to the story just before the piss break (as if I haven’t waited long enough already!) There’s a clip from the DVD below. If you enjoy the clip, please buy the DVD! I promise that you’ll enjoy it loads………..unless you’re a miserable bastard…….in which case you can go back to reading this.

I also met Ross again recently outside Newcastle City Hall where he signed a poster for me and wrote ‘Hope you don’t want royalties for the gag’. Trust me Ross, my five minutes of fame will do just nicely!

Oh, and just in case you’re wondering, this is Ross Noble’s original impression of Stephen Hawking that sparked this whole thing (some of the comments on this video are pretty LOL too)………..

Thanks Ross!