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|
Starting at York House prep' school at Redheath 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 Royale 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.
Ince announced in April 2015 that he would soon give up stand-up. The main reason he gave was to spend more time with his son; also, he cited self-doubt. However, he started a stand-up tour, Pragmatic Insanity, in September 2017.
In 2005, Ince began running the Book Club night at The Albany, London, where acts are encouraged to perform turns of new and experimental material. The club gets its name from Ince's attempts to read aloud from - and humorously criticise - various second-hand books which the audience and he have 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 started his 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.
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 On the Origin of Species'. He was made a Distinguished Supporter of the British Humanist Association. Ince is a patron 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.
Honorary Fellow- University College London (2014)
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.
Comedian and science enthusiast Robin Ince presents an unhinged stand-up comic lecture