The Noise Next Door are Tom Houghton, Charlie Granville, Matt Grant, Tom Livingstone and Sam Pacelli. They have been performing their own distinctive brand of off-the-cuff comedy together since 2006. Taking audience suggestions, the cheeky and charming quintet, transform them into fantastically funny scenes and songs in the blink of an eye with a perfect blend of ludicrous characters, witty one-liners, epic stories, and explosive physicality.
The boys have appeared on BBC Radio 4’s ‘Sketchorama’, performed alongside Harry Hill, Al Murray and Michael McIntyre, and were the first international group to perform at FRACAS, the improve festival in California. Having received standing ovations in front of corporate dinners, the British forces, secondary school students and even fans at ‘Download’ heavy metal music festival, they are one of the most versatile acts in the business.
The Chuckle managed to catch up with the guy's in the middle of their current tour.
You are currently on a gruelling tour which began at the Edinburgh Fringe. How did the fringe go?
The Fringe was superb. Unbelievably it was our seventh year up there - the city feels like a home away from home these days. Our show in Edinburgh was actually quite different to the one we take on tour. In Edinburgh we did a show called The Noise Next Door’s Comedy Lock-In where we invited stand-up guests to join us for an anarchic hour where they would get involved in some improv games with us. The tour show is a full on evening of entertainment that sees us dish out off-the cuff funny stuff in the form of songs, scenes and characters. The tour is an absolute riot of a show that sees some of our old classic games alongside some brand new bits.
On a long tour how do you keep the shows fresh?
It’s a different show every night! Everything we do on the stage is entirely based on audience suggestions and the audiences for the tour shows have been uniformly brilliant. People tend to be very creative with the sorts of things they shout out and that means we can be very creative with what we do on stage. It’s a lot of fun.
Are there ever any artistic disagreements?
For an improv troupe is a two part question.
Part 1) The first rule of improv is ‘Yes and’. It means that when someone says something or does something in a scene everyone else agrees with it and then adds to it. If I say ‘I’m a knee doctor’ then make sure you don’t say ‘No you’re not. You’re a cake.’ Try something like. ‘I’ve heard you’re the best in the business, that’s why I’ve come to show the knee that has appeared in my penis.’ You’ll very rarely see us have artistic differences on stage!
Part 2) When we’re coming up with a new show or a new game or a new tune we fight like wild dogs. We all want the best possible outcome for a new idea it’s just sometimes we disagree with exactly what that outcome looks like. Like any group working in the arts we resolve these differences through a mix of lengthy discussions, elaborate insults and Rock, Paper, Scissors.
What do you do to relax?
You have appeared alongside some of the UK’s top comics. Which were the best to work with and were there any that were a nightmare?
Honestly all of the ‘big names’ we’ve had the pleasure to work with have been very lovely to us. Michael McIntyre was a gentlemen, Al Murray gave us some fruit and non-alcoholic beer and Harry Hill complimented one of our coats. We could just make something up if you like? Lee Evans set fire to our company car for a ‘bit of a laugh’. Bastard.
If you were to throw a party, who dead or alive would be your 5 VIP’s and why?
Delia Smith – Because none of us can really cook.
Henry VIII – Because you KNOW he’s going to have some stories.
Mahatma Gandhi – He’s apparently crazy good at charades.
Robin Williams – We might need someone to lighten the atmosphere after those three.
Walt Disney – Because every party needs a crazy racist.
Back to the party, what food and drink would you serve?
Obviously it’ll mainly be up to Delia. We’ll do the cheeseboard. If there’s one thing we know it’s cheeseboards. Port Salut, Cambozola and Caerphilly are the ‘must haves’ and then you get all the guests to bring a cheese that ‘best matches their personality’. Never fails to entertain, both as piece of self analysis and as a taste sensation.
Has there ever been a time where you have been given a scenario and you have struggled to improvise it?
Honestly? No. We just have fun with a suggestion regardless of what it is. Even if someone shouts out something that the guys in the scene have no clue what it actually is, we’ll just plough on regardless. We’ll make it up based on what we think it sounds like it’ll be. We were performing in America and the audience twigged that the two guys in the scene’s American history knowledge was almost none existent. The boys just went full throttle into their ignorance and the audience lapped it up. Did you know that ‘The crossing of the Delaware’ isn’t actually anything to do with someone failing their entrance exam to work for Dell computers?
When it comes to the fairer sex who is the most sought after and does this cause conflicts?
It takes all sorts! Little Tom gets attention from the 18-25 bracket, Charlie is favoured by the 25-32s, Matt is every Mum’s choice, Sam attracts all Welsh women regardless of age, and Big Tom will take whatever’s left over. The truth is, four of us are in relationships so... There’s not any conflict to be had.
What are the future plans for the Noise Next Door?
World domination. Maybe a TV show first. But once that’s done we’re buying tanks.
‘Hilarious… A superior kind of chaos’ DAILY TELEGRAPH
‘Comedy Gold… Staggeringly well executed’ THE GUARDIAN
‘This is 21st century comedy at its very finest and funniest’ THE STAGE