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!

Me and Ross Noble

Me and Ross after his London gig

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!

My Ross Noble signed ticket

'Thanks for helping with the show, saves me writing jokes'

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!

My Ross Noble signed poster

'Hope you don't want royalties for the gag'

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)………..

And this is mine………..

I think you’ll agree that Ross has got it pretty spot on. Can he do a scary voice like I can though……

I think not.

Thanks Ross!

  15 comments for “My Stephen Hawking is better than yours

  1. November 30, 2010 at 11:48 pm


  2. December 10, 2010 at 10:53 pm


    Were you ever at Percy Hedley School ? – your name rings a bell with me, and I seem to have it connected with Newcastle in my mind. I don’t recognise your picture though.

    I taught at the school from around ’91 to ’96 – I was the IT guy

  3. Garrett Byler
    October 31, 2011 at 6:36 am

    you must have been so fucking happy.

  4. February 10, 2012 at 8:46 pm

    Brilliant story. I was at the same Ross Noble Preston gig in 2002. He ripped me a new one for tutting at the guy who ran the christian/religion group. So pleased for you and read your recent posts and glad your doing so well.Good luck.

    • Lee
      February 10, 2012 at 9:04 pm

      Thanks. Bizarrely I can remember that! I’m not sure why?!

  5. Mandyque
    April 11, 2012 at 6:57 pm

    Genius! That’s one pretty awesome claim to fame!

    • Lee
      April 11, 2012 at 8:11 pm

      I like to think so!

  6. Lisa Simpson
    April 13, 2012 at 7:30 am

    Just saw you on BBC News and am hoping that I can see your gig one day. Love your humour! Would you do a gig at the Edinburgh Fringe as I am in Scotland?

    • Lee
      April 15, 2012 at 8:08 am

      Thank you. I’ve got 2 dates at the Fringe, I am also in Aberdeen in May. Details on my gig page.

      • Lisa Simpson
        April 16, 2012 at 8:54 am

        I live in Aberdeen!!! will check my diary and see if I can go. thanks!

      • Lee
        April 16, 2012 at 9:09 pm

        Hope to see you there!

  7. Donna
    November 27, 2012 at 4:36 pm

    Are you ever likely to come to Birmingham? We have comedy clubs here too. 🙂

    • Lee
      November 28, 2012 at 4:15 pm

      Yes, I hope to gig in Birmingham soon. Keep an eye on my gig listings.

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