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It’s coming up to Christmas, which means all the latest stand-up comedy DVDs are hitting the shelves in an attempt to become the most popular stocking-fillers this year. Ross Noble’s 2006 release Randomist wasn’t your usual comedy DVD. Instead of just slapping one show on a disc to stack them high and sell them cheap, it was a comprehensive four-disc set that explored the comedy and travel sides of his UK and Australian tours. Now he’s back with another set, but will Fizzy Logic live up to the comedy extravaganza of Randomist?

Ross Noble - Fizzy Logic
Filmed before an audience of around two thousand people in Canberra, the show that makes up the main feature on disc one is over two hours long, and when coupled with the encore available in the extras menu, the whole show clocks in at around two and a half hours. That’s not to say that Noble has scripted a show to last that long. I went to see him on the Fizzy Logic tour and I’d say there’s about thirty to forty-five minutes of material that’s constant between the shows, but the rest is purely improvised on stage and that’s why fans of Ross Noble keep coming back to him.

As ever, his welcome to the stage and going through the motions of saying hello to the people on the front row takes almost the whole first half of the show, just because once he gets his mind going in a certain direction, there’s no stopping him. As the tours have gone by, people have started putting things on the stage for him and wearing strange clothes to get his attention. It’s not quite the same as most comedians I’ve seen in the past. Rather than just poking fun at people in the audience for everyone else’s enjoyment, Noble is inclusive and never steps over the line of insulting the people who have paid to see him.

Ross Noble - Fizzy Logic
Since the show takes place in Canberra, a lot of the improvised material is focused on Australia, but the show almost tips over from comedy to full-on rant when Noble brings up the subject of religion. He’s very much anti-religion and points out the absurdities that an outsider would in any situation rather than focusing on one particular religion and I challenge even the most staunch religious zealot not to enjoy the ‘Cheeky Cheeky Muslim’ song set to the tune of ‘Chitty Chitty Bang Bang’.

There’s not a great deal more to say about this show without giving away any of his material. If you want a more detailed look into his comedic talents, check out my review of Randomist from last year. Fizzy Logic is another show that’s just as good as his shows on his previous releases. Fans will no doubt be picking up this DVD but as they watch it with non-believers, it will probably introduce another batch of followers to one of the best comedians around.

Ross Noble - Fizzy Logic

Video


The main show is presented with a 16:9 anamorphic picture. Whereas the Randomist tour had a red/orange theme, the Fizzy Logic tour is very much purple and silver, even down to Noble’s custom-made shirts. The quality of the main show is functional without ever being impressive, with sufficient detail in the medium shots of Ross on stage that make up most of the show. Long shots lack a little detail but these are only brief shots of the whole stage to break up the action. The extra shows on the second disc are a big improvement over the extra material on the Randomist DVDs, closely matching the quality of the main show.

Audio


A full 5.1 surround track would probably be overkill for a stand-up comedy release and the stereo track here does its job perfectly fine. There’s never any problem hearing what Noble has to say and the laughter from the audience is sufficiently loud. One improvement over last year’s release is that it’s easier to hear what the audience has to say when people shout at him, especially on the extra shows, which was the main audio problem on Randomist.

Ross Noble - Fizzy Logic

Extras


In addition to the encore from the Canberra show, the first disc also includes the two-minute intro show that played before Noble took to the stage on the Fizzy Logic tour, which is hilarious and definitely not to be missed. Rounding out the first disc is a documentary following Ross as he travels down through New Zealand, combining topical clips from the shows with footage of his journey. This is very much like the documentaries we got on the Randomist DVDs last year, although there is unfortunately just the one featurette on this release. The main show comes with a commentary track from Ross, who rather predictably uses it as an opportunity to talk a load of nonsense for another two hours or so. Given that he’s never watched that show back before, he freely admits that there’s a lot more value to be had from proper director’s commentaries but it’s more waffling from Noble, and that’s the most important thing.

The second disc contains a selection of thirty-minute segments from six other shows on the tour, with an extra show for those of you who can work out where all the other shows were filmed. Incidentally, the third show on this disc was filmed in Manchester and I was at that performance, in the seat behind the guy who gives Ross some cake. The whole disc clocks in at around three and a half hours, which is longer than the main feature and there’s no duplicating of material, which shows just how versatile a performer he is.

Ross Noble - Fizzy Logic

Overall


While not quite scaling the lofty heights of the more comprehensive Randomist DVD, Fizzy Logic far surpasses any other stand-up release out there and once again gives many Ross Noble fans another reason to be excited about opening their Christmas presents. The main show is great, but it’s the extras that really make this set essential and there’s enough material here to keep you or the Ross Noble fan in your life happy for a very long time.


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