ROSS Noble is a rare example of a stand up who is just as funny off stage as he is on it.

Comic ideas fly out of him like sparks off a Catherine Wheel endowed with enough energy to power the National Grid.

And on Wednesday, comedy lovers in East Lancashire will get the chance to see his surreal show up close when he comes to King George’s Hall in Blackburn.

“I’ve been doing a few warm-up gigs in Australia, and it’s great to return to performing,” said Ross.

The comedian, who has such dedicated fans, his gigs usually sell out in double-quick time, enthuses that, “I get such a buzz from an audience.”

“What is great is that every night in a theatre is unique. That sense of joy only exists in that time and place you can never recapture it.

“When you’re waiting in the wings to go on, there is a real energy that you can feel through the safety-curtain. The audience give off an indefinable energy even before they start laughing. When you stand on stage, that feeling is magnified a hundred times. I’m not a druggie person, but doing stand-up is like the best high you could possibly imagine multiplied by several thousand.”

He added: “People often ask me, ‘why do you love stand-up so much?’ I tell them, it’s simply addictive. You know that feeling where you make the woman at the supermarket check-out laugh, or you have your mates down the pub in stitches?

“In front of an audience of 2,000 people, you get that feeling over and over again. You can easily get hooked on it. If I haven’t done a gig for a while, I start hanging about in supermarkets trying to get laughs.”

The 32-year-old, who has built an immense live following without doing much telly at all, is also one of the world’s great improvisers. Ross admits he is far better when he is working without a script.

The stand-up, who began performing at a comedy club in the North East of England at the age of just 15, said: “doing stuff off the cuff is what I love. When I’m on stage, I’ll say exactly what pops into my head.”

The comedian certainly thrives on plucking material out of thin air. He is at his very best when he reacts to what’s in front of him.

“When I started out, I tried really hard to be what I thought a stand-up should be,” Ross remembers. “For ages, I attempted to do a set act because that’s what other comedians did. But the more I did that, the further it went away from what I wanted. It didn’t really click until I threw that away completely and said to myself, ‘stuff it! It’s just me and some people in a room you don’t need anything else.”

Always ready to laugh at himself, Ross observes that while it works brilliantly in the theatre, his scattergun approach to conversation can be more of a hindrance in the rest of his life. “Off stage, I can just drift off,” the comic admits. “It drives my wife mad because I’ll be saying something and will suddenly stop for no apparent reason. On stage, you show the workings. That’s why I think I’m a more effective human on stage than off it!

“If I decide to do an everyday thing like going to the supermarket, chances are, I’ll get distracted. That’s fine on stage because it doesn’t matter what order things are in. But if I have a specific shopping list, it can be maddening. It’s no good if I set out to get some milk and return home with an electric log splitter. If you want a cup of tea and you’re forced to use tree sap instead of milk, it doesn’t really work, does it?”

The comedian now lives for six months of the year in a far-flung corner of Australia with his Australian wife and their child. Sadly, his home was destroyed in the recent bushfires that raged across that country. For all that, Ross adores the remoteness of life in his deserted patch of the Outback.

His new show is called “Things”.

By calling this show ‘Things’, I’ve given myself the option of talking about whatever I like,” said Ross. “I don’t think anyone’s going to walk out of the theatre shouting, ‘I’m furious he didn’t talk about things!’”

• See Ross Noble at King George’s Hall, Blackburn on Wednesday, April 22. For tickets contact the box office on 0844 8471664.