‘It Could Have Some Negative Throwback’: Has extreme comedian Kim Noble finally gone too far? | comedy

To Meet comedians, you don’t usually travel to Belgium for Flemish culture festivals. When talking to them, you are not usually distracted by a dead fox, prostrating itself on a table, wagging its moving tail intermittently. But this is Kim Noble We are talking about. A videographer obsessed with his life, a professional cleaner and lover of European furniture buildings. “I don’t consider myself a comedian at all,” he says. “But I still have that inbuilt thing that I need to make people laugh.”

He certainly did tonight – albeit for an artistic audience with more performance than he might find in London. We’re behind the scenes at Campo’s place in Ghent, where he’s been developing (for seven years!) Lullaby for Scavengers, the third in a trilogy that started in 2009 with Kim Noble will die The wonderful 2015 included you are not alone. Both shows honed Noble’s signature video style and performance, blurring life, art, depression, fragile hope, tender, and (known) repellent.

“But this show is very tame,” says Noble. It would have been easier to get credit for it had I not watched a show in which Noble reclines naked in a worm-infested bathroom, trying to tease his mother, and attaching Heath Robinson’s fox alarm to his swollen paunch. However, for all its provocations (“to me, it’s just part of the show’s jigsaw”), Lullaby for Scavengers is a stunningly beautiful watch, as Noble struggles to live among humans as well as some unloved members of the animal kingdom (including foxes). ) and she seems to wonder: who are the real insects here?

As in You’re Not Alone, the show at its most vivid depicts the 47-year-old as he assumes his final responsibilities to his dying father. But it’s also a racy show, about a man “at that point where everyone I know has a partner or kids or a home, and I kind of don’t,” he says grimly. “I don’t know what I have.” What he has is a caterpillar for his daughter, a dead squirrel retrieved from his attic and now co-presenting, and a job (guerrilla video for our fun) cleaning up for a major insurance company — which “started as an art project and then became the real thing.” With Covid erasing so much of his business, Noble now relies on cleaning for an income.

Who are the real insects here?  A promotional shot from the movie You Not Alone.
Who are the real insects here? A promotional shot from the movie You Not Alone. Photo: camera press

All this might justify, you guess, his frustrated staff. On the other hand, isn’t it difficult to maintain the idea of ​​”I’m a failure” when your work is lovingly cared for by a respected production company CampoWhen your last podcast got critical acclaim, and when you’ve been working for two weeks at Soho Theater brewing?

“It’s weird because it doesn’t make any difference,” Noble replied. “I’m really worried about the show ending. I’m already like: This is going to be mine, totally.” He argues that his success is built on shaky foundations. podcast series 2020, Failed Attempts (Survive Tomorrow), has not been reauthorized. One prominent festival in the UK has pulled out of Lullaby for Scavengers, which Noble was “so angry about. But I think they just didn’t have the capacity to deal with something that could have some negative setbacks. Which is what the show can do.”

This is what currently worries Nobel, an artist whose work, even before the advent of the so-called “abolition of culture,” often irritates audiences – for deconstructing the lives of those who appear in his videos, for their sexual interpretation, to present the true Nobel mentality. Ill health in ways you didn’t always feel safe. “My work is a box of damned worms,” ​​he admits. “You open it and where do you start?!” Where is this work, by a middle-aged white man no less, in an age when Shows that seek to provoke and provoke are completely outdated?

“I A.m A bit of an old white dinosaur, says Noble. “And I blame my lack of opportunity now on that quicksand. But sometimes, he adds rudely, ‘It may be because things aren’t very good.’” And what about the current show? [as its predecessors]. But because expectations have changed, it’s still causing quite a stir.”

I think the fans – the big-bellied fans for sure – will love Lullaby for Scavengers. It is made in good faith; It asks questions – give or take a bath of caterpillars – that apply to most of our lives. They also find the noble moth more comfortable and less fragile on stage. “Before, I used to hate making shows,” he says. “hated He. She. I didn’t want to do it. I wanted to do other things. But now I don’t have any more, I’m more relaxed about it.”

Whether that translates into success in his homeland — where people still consider a comedian Nobel, and where the words and actions of comedians are subject to fierce arguments — remains to be seen. “Here in Belgium,” he says, “it’s a more theatrical/experimental performance environment, where they’re used to people sticking things up their butts and being weird on stage. In the UK, who knows what’s going to happen?”

  • Kim Noble: Lullaby for Scavengers is at Soho Theatre, LondonSeptember 15-24, and March 15 – April 8

  • Brian Logan’s trip to Ghent was paid for by production company Campo

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