In stitches with Ross Noble, a Geordie comic with Viking genes

The Copenhagen Post caught up with the award-winning comedian prior to the opening night of ‘Stitches’, a horror-comedy in which he makes his big-screen debut as a serial-killing clown

The ‘Build it and he will come’ philosophy might have worked in ‘Field of Dreams’, but did the organisers of the small-scale ‘Blodig Weekend’ film festival (which ended on October 1) really think they had a chance when they invited Ross Noble, one of Britain’s most successful stand-up comedians?

Well it transpires that the Novocastrian – who plays Richard Stitches Grindle, a serial-killing clown, in one of the festival’s movies, ‘Stitches’ – has more than a passing curiosity in the genes the Vikings left on the northeastern English coast a millennium ago. Either that or he was in search of more material. 

Famous for his original and energetic performances, his career started after he was smuggled into his local comedy club at the age of 15. He has since played every major comedy venue in the Anglo-speaking world.  

Danish viewers of BBC Entertainment and TV2 Zulu might know him for his performances on ‘Live at the Apollo’, and he has also made numerous  guest appearances, including one on ‘Top Gear’ that saw him clock the second fastest celebrity lap time.

How was lunch?
It was lovely. I wasn’t sure if it was genuinely a local cheese or whether they were taking the piss out of me. I’m not sure what it was, but it was lovely.

How have you found Denmark so far?
It has some of the loveliest taxi interiors I have ever seen. I feel really bad because all I knew before I came was the Little Mermaid, bacon, insane kings who overbuilt and Lego of course!  

What do you want to see while you're here?
I’ve heard the Little Mermaid is shit! Everyone says “it’s disappointing”, “it’s terrible” and “it’s not as big as you would think it is” – it’s a bit like when Stonehenge is unveiled in ‘This is Spinal Tap’. It’s called the Little Mermaid … so I didn’t expect much!

Your home town of Cramlington is probably Danish. Does that mean you have a little bit of Viking in you?
Yes! Cramel the Dane came over and raped and pillaged my ancestors. I think that is part of the reason why my jokes appeal to Danes: they impregnated my ancestors, I am one of them, and 

I might as well be wearing Lego trousers!

Denmark has frequently been voted the happiest country in the world – how are they different from the English?
The Danes are nationally [the glass is] half-full; in England it’s the opposite: everything is broken. People talk about broken Britain, but let’s be honest, people like that – if everything got sorted out – would have nothing to moan about and therefore be unhappier. It’s a very fine line.

Given that Copenhageners are so good looking, how would you describe Geordies to a Dane? 
Basically we have the same genes. Danes came over and spread their seed in the north of England. But saying that, in England it has been mixed with the French and the Celts, so maybe I would describe Newcastle as being about a third as good looking as Denmark – like if somebody was making a sexy B movie version of Denmark starring Peter Sarsgaard.

The Danish language has been described as half way between vomiting and trying to speak with a hot potato in your mouth: how would you describe a Geordie accent to a Dane? 
Like a sweet sonic elixir. In fact the Geordie accent has been voted the most trustworthy accent – that is why all the call centres are in Newcastle.

In Denmark, it is acceptable to leave babies in their carriages on the street whilst doing your shopping. Could you do that in Newcastle?
You could. The baby would be fine, but the pram would be on bricks when you come back!

Danes are offended by strangers who smile at their pets or children. Do you think there is anything wrong with it?  
Is that because they think you’re flirting with their pets? Speaking as a parent, if somebody looks at my child and smiles at me, what they are saying is: I have clocked your kid, and now I am going to look at you and give you my verdict. The problem is if you smile at a child, it looks like you are laughing, like ha ha, look at that kid’s head! But who doesn’t like laughing at an ugly child?

How would you describe your new film to someone considering taking their kids?
If you are the Manson family, it’s a horrendously fun film. It is very vicious, gory and bloody and at the same time hilarious.

The film features a lot of novel ways to kill someone. What was your favourite? 
My character uses all the props from his clown show. My favourite death is when Stitches rips out the innards of one of the kids and twists it into a balloon dog and then takes the balloon pump and shoves it into the back of the kid’s head and inflates it until his head explodes.

'Stitches' is released in Denmark on DVD today.