Podcast Review: Kim Noble – Futile Attempts (At Surviving Tomorrow) Episode 1

kim noble futile attempts episode 1 indexKim Noble’s responsible for creating two of the most astonishingly brutal, honest, disturbing and hilarious hours of comedy that I’ve ever witnessed in the form of Kim Noble Must Die and You Are Not Alone, where he explored various aspects of his life from his relationships with family, friends and loved ones to his mental health, and even though some held questionable elements they blew me away and made me a life long fan.

Now he’s released a new podcast, and perhaps unsurprisingly it’s quite similar to his live shows as it’s filled with ferocious frankness as he tries to understand what exactly has gone wrong with his life, repeatedly commenting that he was kind of successful once, back when he was part of the double act Noble and Silver, but now everything’s gone wrong and he’s going to have to start again right down at the bottom, making a podcast “Like every other loser”. Whether that’s quite true is open to question as Noble’s solo shows were critically acclaimed, he recently devised a play and is writing a graphic novel, but it’s a strong premise for a podcast.

In some ways it resembles Chris Morris’s radio series Jam as it features a mix of ambient music and unusual narration, though rather than a series of sketches each episode has one single narrative running throughout it. In this opening episode that sees Kim in an apologetic mood and wanting to make amends, which is why we get to hear recordings of him phoning up Natwest to apologise for calling someone there a “Spunksock”, Kim reaching out to Stevie Chang, who he went to school with and once was mean too, and most centrally, God, as he wants to confess his sins to the supposedly good lord.

Most of it is extremely funny indeed, the recordings Kim makes of various phone calls and real life incidents could cross a line but as Noble presents himself as such a miserable figure the joke is almost always on him, and as anyone who knows his previous work he has an amazing way with words, a mixture of the poetic and the crass which leads to many a laugh out loud moment. It’s nicely unpredictable too, with a very funny brief chat with a petulant God (played by Julian Barratt) ending with a bit of fourth wall breaking which made me laugh hard, while very early on Noble gives out his phone number so people can let him know what they think of the first couple of minutes of the podcast.

The only slightly disappointing aspect of the first episode is the slightly repetitious final five minutes. After confessing to a Church warden that he inserted a piece of Meccano in to a five year old’s vagina, he panics as he forgot to tell her that he was only five at the time too, and so wants to make sure that everyone knows this as “Small errors like this in today’s reactionary society can have grave consequences on people’s careers”. Relying on an element of shock comedy is nothing new for Noble, and it is initially very funny, but it just goes on for a bit too long.

Otherwise this is superb stuff however, and it’s a podcast I can’t wait to hear more of. The many unusual but hilarious thoughts and observations that Noble has throughout constantly caught me off guard, one where he ponders about the potential crimes a small woman might be responsible for as she awaits confession being the funniest for me, though a moment where he asks a priest whether he can put Oil of Ulay or Lilt in to Holy Water to make it taste better came a close second.

Noble’s searing candour about his own life is a combination of the surreal, the mundane and the point blank strange, and is something I find ridiculously appealing, he’s got a fantastic comedic mind which is admirable in the extreme. It’s the kind of podcast which clearly won’t be for everyone and if you think life is amazing and wonderful then a) I’m ridiculously jealous of you and b) I’m all but certain this won’t be for you, but for everyone else it’s a unique and all rather special affair.

★★★★1/2

Alex Finch.
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You can listen to the podcast here.


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