Ross Noble is very, very tired. He’s halfway through an 85-date international tour of his new stand-up show, Humournoid, and has just landed back in London after the first Australian leg.

We meet in a hotel bar in central London where Ross is main-lining coffee and a healthy smoothie in a cocktail glass.

Occasionally he apologises if he’s not making any sense. In real life, as on stage, his conversation often meanders away from the point, but it always goes somewhere interesting.

He’ll be bringing his humour and insight to the Alban Arena for two shows in May.

There’s a childlike quality to some of his musings, but the main thing I take away from being in his company is a sense of fun, which I was expecting, and a sense of zen-like calm, which I perhaps was not.

I would normally start by asking what to expect from your tour, but maybe that’s hard to say as you improvise so much?

I’ve always been a fan of breaking away from the thing of a comedian just standing in front of a blank stage with a couple of lights, a stool, and a table with water on it.

So I don’t do that. I like to create massive sets. I’ve always loved the idea of this big, theatrical, rock and roll set and then just this bloke walking on and talking.

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I read that your shows are about 70 per cent improvised, is that right?

I don’t know, I’ve never measured it! What I do is I go on stage at the beginning and improvise, then if something tickles me I might write it down and then the next night, I’ll go back to that idea. But I might go back to that idea and do it a bit differently.

So it’s never quite the same. I like that white-hot heat of being in the moment.

Do you get nervous before going on stage?

No, because there’s nothing to be frightened of. I think this applies to life as well: there’s no point worrying about what’s going to happen.

I think you can get too hamstrung by worrying. Don’t worry about the past, don’t worry about the future, just enjoy the moment you’re in.

Could you just write in the article, ‘At this point, Ross got into a lotus position and floated three feet in the air…’?

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Has fatherhood changed your comedy?

It’s made me tired! In a sense, it has changed my comedy. I used to spend a lot more time daydreaming. I think having children focused me a little bit. I used to spend a lot of time in my own head but I check in with the real world a little bit more now, which you have to, because you don’t want your kids to die and all that.

My stuff used to be so divorced from reality, people used to call it ‘surreal’. Whereas now I think it’s magic realism. It feels more grounded in reality.

You’ve been doing this for nearly 30 years. How has comedy changed in that time?

When I first started, it was the early 1990s. There were a lot of performance poets around and people would say, ‘Are you an alternative comedian?’. This idea of ‘alternative’ comedy, what they meant was people like Ben Elton and French & Saunders who weren’t sexist or homophobic, like the 1970s comedians.

If you look at Jack Dee and Frank Skinner, they were the first wave of what you’d deem ‘alternative’ comics who hosted programmes on primetime telly. Then there was another wave of Peter Kay, Jason Manford, John Bishop: a whole swathe of northern comedians who suddenly became big mainstream stars.

What I’m saying is there are no lines drawn with comedy anymore. It can be quirky, and different, and still be on primetime telly.

St Albans & Harpenden Review:

Do you get heckled?

Sometimes people shout stuff out and it’s funny, and I’ll go, ‘Good on you, that was funny’. But sometimes people don’t know the difference between heckling and interaction.

I encourage interaction. I’ll ask questions and open it up. But if I’m clearly on a roll and halfway through a sentence and someone shouts at you, you do think, ‘How can you think that’s alright?’.

Why should people see your show?

Because it’s not a passive show. I like to think of it as an experience. It’ll make you laugh but it’ll also enrich your life.

What I love about stand-up is it’s one of the few art forms where people come together in a room at the same time on the same night, with phones off, and feel like they’re part of something. It’s quite a rare thing these days. That’s what I try to do: create a feeling that we’re all in something together.

Honestly, I think it’s just nice to turn your phone off and laugh with a load of other people. It’s that simple.

The Alban Arena, Civic Centre, St Albans, Tuesday, May 12, and Wednesday, May 13, 8pm. Details: 01727 844488