Comedy review: Robin Ince (The Stand)

Robin Ince
Robin Ince

Apparently Robin Ince is quitting stand-up for a few years - perhaps that’s why he tried to cram so much into a frantic Glasgow show last week.

The self-confessed ‘renaissance fool’ - he claims to know just enough about a broad range of topics to be wrong about everything - delighted by providing a typically cerebral and febrile set.

Admittedly Ince is no longer the truly unique proposition he once was, with the science/comedy hybrid he almost single-handedly created having been adopted by many standups in recent year.

But it’s still impossible to think of any other performer who would reference everybody from philosophers Wittgenstein and Sartre to Peter Higgs (of Boson fame) and ‘Watchman’ writer Alan Moore during a two hour set.

The title of the show proper is ‘Blooming Buzzing Confusion’ but, as an alarm goes off in his pocket to mark the planned intermission, he admits he’s not really started.

Instead he’s taken a whistlestop tour of his life over the last year, the audience hanging on every anecdote from his often strange existence. One minute he’s chewing the fat with a Nobel Prize Winner, the next he’s encouraging Brian Blessed to tell a dreadful Pavlov joke (Gordon’s alive, Gordon’s dead, Gordon’s both alive and dead).

It’s all delivered in Ince’s trademark shambolic style, though it’s clear there’s less left to chance than his demeanour suggests.

After he delivers the final “just one more story I want to tell you”, the meat of the set is a triumph.

Addressing the brain and perception from both human and animal perspectives, there’s no disguising his passion for dancing bees, monkeys afraid of their own reflections and the quirks of his own miraculous mind.

There’s also plenty of anger at those who waste what evolution has given them.

It’s just a shame that’s exactly what he’s doing with his standup career hiatus.