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Josh Ladgrove. Picture: Supplied

Brace yourself for Dr Professor Neal Portenza's Interactive Goat Hour: There are no goats and the show is only 54 minutes long, excluding the bonus minute.

Yes, that is the full title of Josh Ladgrove's bizarro Fringe show. Given Ladgrove won best comedy at the Melbourne Fringe in 2012, one thing is certain; the guy is funny. But just who is this crazy character he plays? And what is his show all about?

"That question doesn't apply - it's too hard to answer," Ladgrove laughs about his deranged alter ego. "Dr Professor Neal Portenza is not necessarily a medical doctor even though he wears a lab coat. He may just have easily escaped a mental institution."

While Ladgrove's show has been described as "a children's party on acid" and "impeccably constructed chaos", don't try to label it or the character that sprung from the 28-year-old's highly intelligent mind while he was writing sketch comedy at Melbourne University.

"I think its just all repressed childhood memories coming out in this wild way as a character," he admits. "And I say that half-jokingly. I lived in my imagination a lot as a child. Then I worked really hard at school and university. I studied mechatronic engineering, which is the study of robotics, and built a robot in 2008. I probably didn't get to play around enough growing up.

"So Neal came out, and when I'm on stage as Neal it's definitely the part of me that feels more natural. He draws on the more insane side of my mind and treads a fine line between lovable or insane and really stupid or quite clever."

Fans of Monty Python, The Mighty Boosh and Tim & Eric should relish Portenza's absurd, unhinged humour. Comedy fans could also see a bit of Paul Foot, Dr Brown, Neil Hamburger and Marcel Lucont in Ladgrove's off-the-wall character.

Just to add to the vaudevillian silliness of it all, Ladgrove says Neal is the lighter half of his personality, while Neal's evil twin brother Gary - who also makes an appearance in the show - is his darker half.

"He's quite a mean character in a fun kind of way, and he's loosely based on my real-life brother, even though he doesn't know Gary even exists."

He does now, if he reads this.


Dr Professor Neal Portenza plays the Midlandia Square Space from February 5-9 at 7.45pm and the Noodle Palace from February 12-16 at 7.15pm.