Ince in 2014 at the Edinburgh International Science Festival
|Birth name||Robin Ince|
|Born||20 February 1969|
|Medium||Stand-up, Television, Radio|
|Education||Cheltenham College, Gloucestershire|
(boarding independent school)
Royal Holloway, University of London
|Genres||Observational comedy, Political satire|
|Subject(s)||Recreational drug use, Politics, Everyday life, Science, Religion|
|Notable works and roles||Book Club, The Infinite Monkey Cage, Nerdstock|
Robin Ince (born 20 February 1969) is an English comedian, actor and writer, known for presenting the BBC radio show The Infinite Monkey Cage with physicist Brian Cox, his appearances alongside Ricky Gervais, and his stand-up comedy career.
Starting at York House prep school near Croxley Green in Hertfordshire, from the age of thirteen, Ince was educated at Cheltenham College, a boarding independent school for boys in the spa town of Cheltenham in Gloucestershire, followed by Royal Holloway, University of London, from which he graduated in English and Drama in 1991.
In 1990, Ince first appeared at Greyfriars Kirkhouse at the Edinburgh Festival where Eddie Izzard was running a venue. At the time Ince was performing in a play called 'Shadow Walker' by Trevor Maynard. He had appeared at the Cafe Royal as part of the Edinburgh Fringe show 'Rubbernecker', alongside Stephen Merchant, Jimmy Carr and Ricky Gervais in 2001.
As a close friend of Ricky Gervais, Ince opened as a support act for his Politics tour in 2004 and his Fame tour in 2007. He also appears on the DVD and often appears in Ricky's video podcasts, mainly being bullied, annoyed and attacked by Gervais.
Throughout 2008, Ince had residency at the Dorchester Arts Centre trying out new material for his upcoming shows. In late 2008 he released a live stand up DVD entitled Robin Ince is as Dumb as You, released by Go Faster Stripe. Then between January and April 2009, Ince performed his UK tour Bleeding Heart Liberal, playing 51 dates. Towards the end of 2009 and into 2010, Ince toured his next show entitled Robin Ince vs. the Moral Majority. In 2011 he started on the road again performing his 'Happiness Through Science' UK show which continued to add many additional dates and whose scheduled was extended into 2012.
In April 2015, Ince made a blog post announcing his retirement from stand-up comedy, writing about impostor syndrome, the commercialisation of the comedy scene and a wish to spend more time with his son. He concluded "Let’s see if I can give up stand up for longer than I gave up whisky, or if the addiction is such that I’ll start busking jokes outside the Hayward Gallery by August." He returned to performing comedy a year later.
In September 2016, Ince performed at the Keep Corbyn rally in Brighton in support of Jeremy Corbyn's campaign in the Labour Party leadership election. Ince staged a stand-up tour, Pragmatic Insanity, in September 2017.
In 2005, Ince began running the Book Club night at The Albany, London, where acts were encouraged to perform turns of new and experimental material. The club got its name from Ince's attempts to read aloud from – and humorously criticise – various second-hand books which the audience and he had brought in for the occasion. The Book Club proved to be so successful that Ince took it on a full UK tour in 2006, the same year he won the Time Out Award for Outstanding Achievement in Comedy. In 2010, Ince published a book entitled Robin Ince's Bad Book Club about his favourite books that he has used for his shows.
Ince has curated Nine Lessons and Carols for Godless People (later renamed as Nine Lessons and Carols for Curious People) since 2008, a Christmas stage show with performances from comedians, musicians and scientists.
Ince started his television career as a comedy writer, working on The 11 O'Clock Show, for which he also performed as an impressionist, including an impersonation of John Peel. He also appeared in The Office as failed interviewee Stuart Foot. Ince has also appeared on clip shows on British television, where he and other comedians appeared as talking heads.
Ince and physicist Brian Cox present the science series The Infinite Monkey Cage on BBC Radio 4. The programme won a Gold Award in the Best Speech Programme category at the 2011 Sony Radio Awards.
Podcast and internet
Ince presented the Utter Shambles (previously Show & Tell) podcast for Paramount Comedy with Josie Long, and presented BBC Radio 4 Extra's Serious About Comedy from 2005 until its end in November 2007. Regular panellists in the show included Book Club performers Josie Long, Howard Read and Natalie Haynes, comedy critics Bruce Dessau and Stephen Armstrong, and many others from the British comedy industry. He now presents Book Shambles with Robin and Josie with Josie Long which is funded via Patreon and music podcast Vitriola with comedian Michael Legge.
In 2013, Ince co-created and launched The Incomplete Map of the Cosmic Genome, an online video based science magazine and archive. Ince acts as host and co-producer on the project. Contributors have included Brian Cox, Helen Czerski, Stephen Fry, Chris Hadfield and Stewart Lee.
Ince is an atheist and supports the Rationalist Association via New Humanist magazine by organising events at the Bloomsbury Theatre and at the Hammersmith Apollo featuring scientists, musicians and comedians. The first of these was Nine Lessons and Carols for Godless People in Christmas 2008, and more recently he has fronted a Night of 400 Billion Stars. Regular contributions come from Josie Long, Chris Addison, Ricky Gervais, Richard Dawkins, Simon Singh and Philip Jeays. In 2009, Ince organised two events with Josie Long, called Darwin's Birthday Spectacular, marking both the scientist's 200th birthday and the 150th anniversary of the publication of his book On the Origin of Species. He was appointed a patron of Humanists UK, and later of Dignity in Dying.
On 15 September 2010, Ince, along with 54 other public figures, signed an open letter published in The Guardian stating their opposition to Pope Benedict XVI's visit to the UK being a state visit.
- Chortle Awards – Innovation Award (2006)
- Time Out – Outstanding Contribution to Comedy (2006)
- Chortle Awards – Best Compere (2007)
- Sony Radio Awards – Gold Award for Best Speech Programme (2011)
- Ockham Award for Best Skeptic Event/Campaign (2012)
- Honorary Fellow- University College London (2014)
- Honorary Doctor of Science – Royal Holloway, University of London
- Distinguished Supporter of the British Humanist Association
Ince was the invited speaker for the British Humanist Association 2012 Voltaire Lecture, entitled "The Importance of Being Interested."
Ince was also lead singer in alternative rock combo TheReg from 1992–1994.
- 2017: Pragmatic Insanity (UK tour)
- 2016: Gloom Aid (The 100 Club)
- 2014: Robin Ince Is In (and Out) of His Mind (Trinity Science Gallery)
- 2013: The Importance of Being Interested (UK tour)
- 2011/2012: Happiness through Science (UK tour)
- 2011: Uncaged Monkeys Tour with Simon Singh, Brian Cox, Ben Goldacre and Helen Arney
- 2011: Ince and Legge @ Stand 5 Comedy Club, Edinburgh Fringe
- 2009/2010: Robin Ince vs. The Moral Majority (UK tour)
- 2009: The Return of Nine Lessons and Carols for Godless People
- 2009: Charles Darwin Birthday Spectacular with Josie Long
- 2009: Karaoke Circus, Edinburgh Fringe
- 2009: Carl Sagan Is My God, Oh And Richard Feynman Too, Edinburgh Fringe
- 2009: Night of 40 Billion Stars, with Chris Addison and others
- 2009: Bleeding Heart Liberal (UK tour)
- 2009: Charity night @ Grovel bar in Manchester
- 2008: Nine Lessons and Carols for Godless People, Christmas Show
- 2008: Things I Like About Carl Sagan And Others, Edinburgh Fringe
- 2008: Comedy Nights @ Dorchester Arts Centre (throughout the year)
- 2008: Crewe Limelight Club's final comedy night
- 2007: Robin Ince Knew This Would Happen, Edinburgh Fringe
- 2007: Lion's Den Comedy Club @ The Cross Kings in Kings Cross
- 2006: Robin Ince Isn't Waving @ The Assembly Rooms and Edinburgh Fringe 2006
- 2005: Ricky Gervais and Guests @ The Dominion Theatre
- 2005: Robin Ince is as Dumb as You @ Pleasance and Edinburgh Fringe 2005
- 2005: Book Club @ Underbelly, Lowdown at the Albany
- 2004: The Award Winning Robin Ince – Star of the Office, Series 1. Episode 5 (First Bit) @ Underbelly
- 2001: Rubbernecker with Ricky Gervais, Stephen Merchant, Jimmy Carr @ Cafe Royal
- 2010: Host, Nerdstock: 9 Lessons and Carols for Godless People (BBC Four)
- 2009: Host, Richard & Judy's New Position (Watch)
- 2009: Panelist/Guest, What the Dickens (Sky Arts)
- 2008: Comedy Consultant, Skins (Channel 4)
- 2007: Sketch performer, Comedy Cuts (ITV2)
- 2006: Stand Up Routine, Edinburgh & Beyond (Paramount Comedy 1)
- 2006: Panelist/Guest, Mock the Week (BBC Two)
- 2005: Writer, The Problem With Anne Robinson (BBC Two)
- 2004: Writer, The Late Edition (BBC Four)
- 2004: Writer/performer, Celebdaq (BBC Three)
- 2003: Writer/performer, The State We're In (BBC Three)
- 2003: Writer/performer, The Pilot Show (Channel 4)
- 2003: John Peel, The 11 O'Clock Show (Channel 4)
- 2001: "Stuart Foot" (interviewee), The Office (BBC Two)
- 2000: Writer, Meet Ricky Gervais (Channel 4)
- 1999: Writer, Alistair McGowan's Big Impression (BBC One)
- 2010 Presenter "Schrodinger's Quantum Kittens" (BBC Radio 4)
- 2009–present: Host, "The Infinite Monkey Cage" (BBC Radio 4)
- 2009: Guest, Geoff Lloyd's Hometime Show (Absolute Radio)
- 2008: Panelist, Just a Minute (BBC Radio 4)
- 2006-7: Panelist, The Personality Test (BBC Radio 4)
- 2004-8: Performer, The Now Show (BBC Radio 4)
- 2005: Host, Serious About Comedy (BBC Radio 7)
- 2005: Writer, Dead Ringers (BBC Radio 4)
- 2004: Performer, Think the Unthinkable (BBC Radio 4)
- 2003-4: Host, Spanking New (BBC Radio 7)
- 2002-4: Writer/performer, The in Crowd (BBC Radio 4)
- 2003-6: Writer/performer/Morrissey/John Peel/Satan, Mitch Benn's Crimes Against Music (BBC Radio 4)
- 2003-6: Writer/performer, The Day the Music Died (BBC Radio 2)
- 2006: Writer, Razzle Dazzle.
- Robin Ince is as Dumb as You (2006)
- Nine Lessons and Carols For Godless People (2008)
- Ten Lessons and Carols For Godless People (2011)
- More Nine Lessons and Carols For Godless People (2012)
- Happiness Through Science (2013)
- Robin Ince's Last Ever Show (2015)
- Roger Highfield (15 June 2011). "Robin Ince: Who needs religion?". New Scientist. Retrieved 16 June 2011.
- "What I learnt at school: Robin Ince". TeachSecondary.com. Retrieved 11 April 2015.
- Royal Holloway Notable Alumni in English
- Robin Ince in "Shadow Walker", reviewed in "The Stage" 23 August 1990
- "Robin Ince is as Dumb as You".
- Ince, Robin. "Losing My Religion – on why I am giving up stand up". Robin Ince's blog. Retrieved 21 April 2015.
- Ince, Robin (4 March 2019). "Beyond a joke - RSA Journal". Medium. Retrieved 11 July 2019.
- Vowles, Neil (5 September 2016). "Comedians back Jeremy Corbyn for major Brighton rally". The Argus. Retrieved 1 June 2018.
- "Robin Ince's Book Club". Timeout.com. 22 September 2006. Retrieved 22 July 2009.
- BBC - Nerdstock
- Manjit Kumar (1 May 2011). "Robin Ince: The science of comedy". The Daily Telegraph. Retrieved 9 May 2011.
- "Frank Skinner and Jason Byrne win at Sony Awards 2011". The British Comedy Guide. 9 May 2011. Retrieved 9 May 2011.
- "TV scientist scoops top radio award". Express & Star. 9 May 2011. Retrieved 9 May 2011.
- Bennett, Steve (16 December 2009). "The Return of Nine Lessons And Carols For Godless People". Chortle.
- Ince, Robin (4 October 2012). "Greedily, I want the right to live AND the right to die". Robinince's Blog. Retrieved 7 July 2014.
- "Letters: Harsh judgments on the pope and religion". The Guardian. London. 15 September 2010. Retrieved 16 September 2010.
- Layzell, Paul. "Honorary degrees recognise contributions to science". Retrieved 17 November 2013.
- "Bright Club". Bright Club. Retrieved 8 January 2013.
- Carole Jahme (4 November 2010). "Laugh and learn at Bright Club". The Guardian. Retrieved 9 December 2010.
- "ROBIN INCE: BLOOMING BUZZING CONFUSION". Cheltenham Science Festival 2014. Cheltenham Festivals. Archived from the original on 9 June 2014. Retrieved 8 June 2014.
Comedian and science enthusiast Robin Ince presents an unhinged stand-up comic lecture
- "BBC Radio 4 – Schrodinger's Quantum Kittens". Bbc.co.uk. 30 January 2011. Retrieved 8 January 2013.