People I like | Irit Noble

I like her because she is wildly untameable and believes that comedians have to be the truth-sayers and the make-fun-ners of the unchangers.


Irit Noble


Source pic: ZA@Play

  • What's the first funny thing you remember saying?
    I remember being a small kid in class, and as the teacher summed up the lesson by saying, "Klaar gelag," I responded loudly with, "Nou gaan ons huil." Sad child.
  • What drove you to choose comedy, when you could have been a mechanic or a doctor or something decent like that?
    I am a performer because that's all I can do. I could never have been anything 'decent', as I have absolutely no flair for academia (although I do, luckily, know the word) and a mind like a bullet-riddled sieve.
  • What's your favourite fashion accessory?
    My mouth.
  • How has the way you look affected your identity as a comic?
    I am a great example of someone who is incredibly insecure and totally vain at the same time. As a cabaret artiste, I used to camp my look to the max. False hair, false lashes, false breasts, false muscles (Seriously, I used to shade my stomach muscles in with rouge.) Been there, done that, worn the lurex wonderbra. Got paid, went home, lost four kilo's every time I removed my mascara. These days I only lose one, because even though as a comic I have license to look casual, I still always throw some glitter and gloss into the mix. Funnily enough, when I see footage of my performances, I never look quite as cute as I felt I did at the time. But, in answer to your actual question, I have always played my sexuality and femininity, using that as a base from which I could be rude or butch or scary or... you get the picture.
  • Are there things you wouldn't say on stage? Eg, any words you'd never use or subjects you'd never tackle?
    I never use the word flockynockynihilification. I mean, who does? Some things are better left unsaid. Chester Williams. (Is that very corny?)
  • Who is your major influence? And your major South African influence?
    I don't have any one particular influence; I tend to pick up on the styles and attitudes of the people around me and those featured in the media.
  • Is there any figure from your past that you'd like to see in your audience? What would you do to them or for them?
    The only person I can think of would be Cathy Sorbo, who lives in Seattle and came to Cape Town to perform at the 1997 Smirnoff Comedy Festival. She is the hardest core, funniest woman I have ever seen in my life. The Smirnoff was the first standup gig I ever did, and I sucked big time with some of the worst material ever written by a human being. Cathy was so cool to me, offering me endless advice and guidance, so I would love her to see that I actually did find my voice eventually.
  • What would you do to them or for them?
    I'd give her the mike and tell her to run amok.
  • What's lacking from South African comedy, or audiences, that it remains such a small scene?
    ME! Give me a TV show and a radio slot and let's ROCK this place!!!
  • Do you think all South Africans can all laugh at the same joke at the same time. What kind of joke would it be?
    Yes. Mime.
  • Do you ever steal jokes?
    I used to steal just about all of my punch lines and try to restyle them, but now I work all my own material. For corporate functions I will, however, pull a recycle if I am desperate. I generally sell them a cabaret set, and if the bums on seats aren't into my personal stuff I'll trash it and go for the laugh they want, because that's what they're paying me (a lot) for.
  • Would you sell your material?
  • Would you promise never to use it on stage again after the sale?
    Obviously... I don't want people thinking that I'm plundering someone else's joke.
  • Which internationally renowned comic would you most like to work with? What would you do to him/her?
    Eddie Izzard. I would wear lots of stunning make up and make him wear none.
  • What's the most embarrassing death you've ever seen another comic die on stage? (names not necessary) Describe the incident, and how you felt.
    I cant remember the exact wording, but one of our finest comics said that every time she sees a German, all she can hear in her head is, 'will you make your way to the showers now.' I thought it was very funny but the entire audience reacted as though she had sacrificed a small child on stage. I felt very small for her and related completely. Afterwards we were standing together in the lobby, and a tall Arian strode over to her and spat out that that was the worst thing he had ever heard. I tried to save the day by saying, 'That's comedy, pal, she's pushing boundaries...' but he totally ignored me and continued ranting at her until she calmly said, 'Thanks for sharing,' and he goose-stepped off. The whole incident illustrated to me that there are some lines people don't want to see you cross. But hey, fuck that, you write what you feel and you go with your instinct.
  • Where would you like to live when you retire - if ever?
    In a small dark mansion with lots of thick rugs, enormous pillows and plush drapes, a view of the sea in the front and a sprawling marijuana plantation at the back.
  • How funny do you Really think you are?
    I believe that I am a very funny person, but sometimes I just don't hit the spot. When I do bum out - usually from lack of focus and energy - I am reminded that being blessed with the basics is just not enough. Every successful career or venture needs a lot of hard work before you can get up and throw your pies in peoples faces.
  • Will you matter 50 years after you're dead? Will it matter to you?
    If you mean will I have left something tangible behind that people will remember me by, I don't have a clue yet but no, it really doesn't matter. I think the only thing that will matter to me fifty years after my death will be whether I come back as an avocado, a Mustang or Ricky Martin.
  • What's the interview question you'd most like to be asked, and what is the answer?
    Q: May I deposit R5000,000,000 in your bank account?
    A: Nedbank Sea Point, current account 1069317317.



{Tanya Pretorius' Bookmarks: Me, People I like, Irit Noble}


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