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Robin Ince

Robin Ince

Date Of Birth: 1969

Robin Ince started his comedy career as a writer, working on shows including Alistair McGowan's Big Impresison, V Graham, Norton and Meet Ricky Gervais, his first of many collaborations with the Extras star.

Ince appeared with Gervais, Stephen Merchant and Jimmy Carr in the 2001 Edinburgh show Rubbernecker, and regularly supports Gervais on tour. He also appeared in one episode of The Office, playing interviewee Stewart Foot.

That role inspired his tongue-in-cheek solo Edinburgh debut in 2004, and he has returned to the Fringe every year since. In 2005 he started erudite comedy night The Book Club, loosely based around bad literature, which won him the innovation award at the 2006 Chortle Awards as well as the outstanding contribution to comedy accolade at that year's Time Out awards. In 2007, he was named best compere at the Chortle Awards.

On TV, he has appeared as John Peel on Channel 4's 11 O'Clock Show as well as countless panel games and 'talking heads' shows, including Channel 4's 100 Greatest Musicals (2003), BBC Three's The State We're In (2003), Celebdaq (2004), BBC Two's Mock The Week (2006). He has also appeared on Radio 4's Now Show, Just A Minute and Mitch Benn's Crimes Against Music.

In 2006, he co-wrote his first feature film, Razzle Dazzle, about children's dance contests in Australia.

Robin Ince Videos

Reviews

The Entire Universe

The Entire Universe
© BBC
© BBC

There’s a needlessly complicated set-up for this comedy-science extravaganza. For some reason, Eric Idle has revived his 40-year-old joke that England’s smallest county has its own TV station, Rutland Weekend Television.

The gag in that case would clearly be that everything is done on a shoestring. Yet this is clearly a show with a decent budget that boasts famous guest stars and a sizeable professional dance troupe, choreographed by Arlene Phillips, not the amateur-sounding hoofers of the Muriel Tritt School of Music and Dance. The premise that Professor Brian Cox has been lured here under the pretence of giving a lecture, not taking part in a spangly musical, is equally thin.

But once introduced all these ideas vanish as quickly as an Omega baryon in a particle accelerator, as we get on to the project in hand: a shiny-floor showcase for the sci-curious, like the Royal Institution Christmas lecture produced by Andrew Lloyd-Webber.

The aim is for Cox to explain the 13.8 billion year history of the universe in about an hour, covering the Big Bang, expansion, the space-time continuum, fundamental particles, gravitational fields and more, with each burst of information subsequently ‘explained’ in a jaunty ditty.

Essentially, this is fun for anyone who’s enjoyed the very Reithian mix of facts and entertainment that is The Galaxy Song from Monty Python’s Meaning Of Life, which is included here alongside many other upbeat numbers.

‘Actually, that’s not quite right,’ becomes Professor Cox’s catchphrase as he tries time and again to undo the misinformation coined for a handy rhyme, including informing Noel Fielding that there isn’t, actually, a particle named after Brian Eno when a number about the make-up of the Higgs Boson gets a little out of hand.

Fielding, who plays Einstein and is sometimes dressed as a pirate (it’s a boson/bosun pun), is like a kid on a sugar rush, excited to learn but getting carried away with his fantasy. Warwick Davies joins in the droll jokes about his height. Hannah Waddingham, the original lady of the lake in Spamalot, is a sassy vamp, and Robin Ince continues his well-established role as Peter to Professor Cox’s Jesus, helping spread the word. Even Morecambe and Wise get a look-in, courtesy of tribute duo Jonty Stephens and Ian Ashpitel, who perfectly encapsulate the light ent traditions of this upbeat show.

Other pizzazz-filled musical highlights include a wonderfully surreal spoof 1970s vibrato ballad about gravity, which puts the G in Bee Gees,; the jaunty It Makes You Feel So Small (no prizes for guessing who sings that one); and Waddingham’s catchy Nothing Goes Faster Than The Speed Of Light.

There are some ersatz gags alongside the tunes. Has there ever been a spacey-based comedy show that hasn’t included a variation on: ‘Is intelligent life common in the universe? It's not even common at the BBC.’

But Idle has made a career out of knowing cheesiness, and that spirit permeates proceedings like the Higgs field – and ultimately it’s hard not to be charmed by the showbiz spirit of The Entire Universe.

Even if some of the finer details of the science pass you by, Cox has always excelled in conveying the awesome scale and majesty of the universe, while instinctively understanding the communicative power of comedy. Both the sense of wonder and sense of humour are undimmed here.

Tuesday 27th Dec, '16
Steve Bennett

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Robin Ince Dates

Fri 1 Dec 2017

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Past Shows

Rubbernecker The Award Winning Robin Ince ­ Star Of The Off Robin Ince is as Dumb as You
The Book Club Bernie Clifton
Dirty Book Club
Robin Ince Isn't Waving
The Book Club Book Club: All-New Fighting Years
Robin Ince Knew This Would Happen
Stand Up For Animals Book Club [2008]
Robin Ince: Propaganda and Tittletattle
Robin Ince: Things I Like About Carl Sagan And Others Carl Sagan Is My God, Oh And Richard Feynman Too
Robin Ince Versus The Moral Majority
Robin Ince: Bleeding Heart Liberal Robin Ince And Michael Legge: Pointless Anger, Righteous Ire
Robin Ince Asks Why?
Robin Ince: Carl Sagan Is Still My God
Stand-Up For African Mothers Pointless Anger, Righteous Ire 2: Back in the Habit
Robin Ince's Struggle for Existence
Robin Ince: Carl Sagan is My God, Oh and Richard Feyman Too
Robin Ince: Star Corpse Apple Child Robin Ince: The Importance of Being Interested [2013 Fringe] BBC: The Infinite Monkey Cage
Michael Legge and Robin Ince Are Pointless Anger, Righteous Ire 3: Ooh Stick You, Your Mama Too... and Your Daddy
Robin Ince’s Blooming Buzzing Confusion A Seriously Funny Attempt To Get The SFO in The Dock
Book Club At The British Library
Ha Ha Hammersmith II
Latitude 2008
Nine Lessons and Carols for Godless People
Robin and Josie's Shambles
Robin Ince: Dancing Idiotically Towards An Apocalypse Of Our Own Making
Robin Ince's Christmas Book Club 2006
School For Gifted Children Robin Ince Is In And Out Of His Mind
Robin Ince's Bad Book Club autumn 2010 tour
Robin Ince: Happiness Through Science
Robin Ince: The Importance Of Being Interested

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