Robin's best...

Ince introduces 28 comics to radio

Digital radio station BBC 7 launches its first original comedy commission next month Spanking New On Seven.

Robin Ince will compere the show, a seven-part showcase of 28 stand-ups new to radio.

Ahead of the series launch on July 7, 34-year-old Robin reveals his comic inspirations, his aspirations for a modelling career and how he faced down an angry mob at the Glastonbury Festival..

How did you first discover you had a talent for comedy?

I have always liked larking about and when I found out I could make money for doing it, it added an air of shabby professionalism to my larking.

What was your big break?

It was probably coming second in the So You Think You 're Funny competition at the Edinburgh Festival because, from that point onwards, I made a living as a comedian.

I think I 'm still waiting for a bigger break: being talent-scouted by an agent from Models One whilst eating an ice cream at Heathrow Airport is, I think, possible - if I get my figure back.

Who are your favourite comedians?

Woody Allen ­ sheer genius, both as a writer and as a slapstick performer; Bill Murray ­ brilliantly deadpan.. Others are the Marx Brothers, Chris Morris, Victoria Wood, Alastair Sim, Buster Keaton, Laurel and Hardy, Rik Mayall, Joe Orton, Frankie Howerd, Margaret Rutherford, Fry and Laurie and on and on and on.

I will give no reasons because if you don 't know, there is no point in going on (though Rik Mayall standing in dog excrement in More Bad News made me fall off my cinema seat).

How did you come up with material for the BBC 7 show?

Most of my material comes from one-line ideas ­ such as the Radiophonic Workshop collaborating with the French Resistance and making spooky noises to scare the Germans away from haystacks full of infantrymen ­ then I just try to create a routine on the spot.

I read lots of bits of things and watch lots of bits of things and they make me think of things.

I am easily distracted, so I mainly make sure I drink a lot of orange squash and wait for the tartrazine to kick in.

What's been your worst moment on stage?

My best worst moment was turning a difficult but quietly responsive Glastonbury audience into an angry mob by using the word "gypsy" (not in a derogatory way). Within five minutes, the audience members were screaming at me with puce faces and trying to run up on the stage and punch me. I stood my ground and laughed in their silly faces.

Do you think Spanking New On 7 will uncover any new talent?

I think there are some brilliant new acts on it, from great one-liner merchants to surreal ramblers. In a time when stand-up comedy seems to be becoming so homogenised, it is great to see that there are, in fact, many fine new comedy minds.

What would be your one piece of advice for new comedians trying to break into the business?

Don 't just think about how much money you can make from comedy.

What 's next for you?

I am writing a sitcom with Howard Read (a funny boy who broke my arm in Edinburgh once), recording a pilot about John Peel with Ross Noble ­ and resting on some tatty laurels.

First published: June 20, 2003

Published: 22 Mar 2009

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