Interview: The Noise Next Door

The Noise Next Door are an improv, five-piece comedy and musical group whose act is mostly made up on the spot where they engage with the audience and write songs based on their suggestions. The quintet have previously sold out Edinburgh Fringe Festival several times, as well as headlining the BBC3 Edinburgh comedy Gala in 2014 and will be performing here at The Lescar on 25th October. Georgina Hall caught up with 1/5 of the group, Sam Pacelli, whilst on their nationwide tour to find out what being the masters of off-the-cuff comedy is really all about.

What can we expect from your act?

We’re a comedy troop so our act is fuelled by the suggestions of the people in the room so there’s no set theme really of what can be expected from our shows as its different each and every time. The Noise Next Door is just an hour and a half where you can come along and have fun and get involved.

Was comedy always something you wanted to get into?

Personally, yeah, since I was in school. It was kind of a fairly late decision for us all though when it came to making comedy a career, two of us have master’s degrees in film and directing so although we all gravitated towards comedy, we didn’t know which format we wanted to work in. Largely, performing happened by accident as while we were at university a spot opened at this comedy festival which we luckily got to fill and then it all took off from there.

Have you ever struggled to improvise a scenario an audience gives you?

Not really, we’ve become adept at dealing with anything an audience can throw at us, but even if you do struggle, you always have four others to back you up and because we each have our own individual personas, one person can easily take up something another might be struggling with. The only time we really struggle is if it’s something we don’t want to do, like the filth mongers will suggest something in poor taste and be like “Do it!” so you have to reluctantly say okay.

How do you unwind while on tour?

Mainly napping and sleeping, oh and eating. As soon as we get to a venue, we find out where the nearest coffee shops are and we’re also partial to a good cheeky Nando’s. We’re so used to being on tour, this is our 3rd, so long car journeys are a large part of our lives. Recently we’ve taken up having conversations about religion in the car, we like a good debate. We also play lots of silly games as well to pass the time, at the moment it’s improv football teams, we’ve not only done a team of Disney characters but a league of them as sad as that sounds.

Have you ever had any embarrassing moments on stage?

Loads, yeah, they happen all the time. It’s all about highlighting them if they happen and then scapegoating whoever messed up. Charlie has a quiff with a lot of hair products and we were performing once at a venue with cabaret seating when during his performance as the decapitated head of Genghis Khan, he went too close to the tables where there were candles and his whole head caught on fire. Then recently, I wasn’t listening to what was going on and started singing a song again which had just been performed, thankfully the audience just went along with it. The embarrassing moments I think just add to our act being a unique experience.

What have been your career highlights to date?

The collation of Edinburgh performances we’ve done for over 8 years now have been a definite highlight. Year after year, we see people returning which is something to be proud of. A fan told me that we were “the biggest act you’ve never heard of” and we feel incredibly lucky to have such a loyal fanbase. We also took our act on a few cruises recently during the world cup, where aside from performing once a week, I got to watch England in a Jacuzzi with champagne, it doesn’t get much better than that really.

Are you looking forward to performing here?

Yeah, The Lescar is a really nice venue. We’ve done the venue a few times, but this is the first time it’s been incorporated into our tour, we don’t really perform in Yorkshire and the like all too often from being based in Brighton. This might create a North/South divide but northerners, oh and the Welsh seem to laugh more and we’ve found that The Lescar is always an appreciative crowd so we’re really looking forward to it.

Are northerners an easy target for improv?

I wouldn’t say we target anyone in our act really, most people are terrified to sit at the front of comedy shows but with us, no matter how weird the suggestions, we celebrate them and that’s what we do really, our act is a celebration of people. If someone suggests a southerner, we put on just as much of a stereotype as we would with northerners.

Tickets for 25th October at The Lescar are available here.

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