Robin Ince lands Radio 4 stand-up show

ExclusiveMonday 13th June 2022, 9:55am by Jay Richardson

Robin Ince. Copyright: Steve Best, Cosmic Shambles Network

Robin Ince has landed a two-part Radio 4 stand-up special about the brain's relationship with reality and is publishing a book about his obsessive love of books, British Comedy Guide can exclusively reveal.

Robin Ince's Reality Tunnel is split into two 30-minute episodes, Inside Robin Ince and Outside Robin Ince.

In the first, the comic considers his anxiety and ADHD tendencies; shares his experience of therapy; recalls an awkward meeting with an actor he reveres and his Celebrity Mastermind appearance; reveals how he enjoys singing to himself in a made-up language and delivers an extended impression of Stewart Lee.

In the second, he talks about undergoing a brain scan, muses on what sleep and dreams reveal about our reality and remembers a moment of transcendence at the Callanish Standing Stones on the Isle of Lewis.

Recorded at the Z-arts centre in Hulme, Manchester, the material draws from his his 2018 book I'm a Joke and So Are You: Reflections on Humour and Humanity and his 2015 live show, Robin Ince's Reality Tunnel.

The two episodes will air on July 14th and 21st at 11pm and there are plans to record more.

"I think Robin is incredible and apart from someone like Ken Campbell, I have never seen anyone do what he does in his live shows" said Carl Cooper, producer of the show. "Radio 4 listeners probably only know him from Monkey Cage and things like that. So I wanted to capture what his live shows are like for the radio."

Meanwhile, Ince has written Bibliomaniac: An Obsessive's Tour of the Bookshops of Britain.

When his autumn 2021 stadium tour with Professor Brian Cox was postponed due to coronavirus, the comic set off on a tour of more than a hundred independent bookshops instead, journeying from Wigtown to Penzance, Swansea to Margate.

Bibliomaniac follows him in his quest to discover why he can never own enough books. It is the story of an addiction and romance, published October 10th by Atlantic Books, who previously put out I'm A Joke and his 2021 appreciation of the wonders of science, The Importance of Being Interested: Adventures in Scientific Curiosity.

Recently, Ince has criticised Ricky Gervais's new Netflix special SuperNature for its transphobic material, warning him that he is becoming a "pin-up for the alt-right".

Ince has known Gervais for more than 30 years and has been his support on tour. And he says they still argue about the nature of offence.

But in a blog post on his Cosmic Shambles website last month, Ince, who is currently touring the US with Cox, wrote: "I think it is easy to forget the collateral damage of jokes.  Anti trans punchlines seem to have become highly profitable and it ignores the dehumanising effect on a swathe of already marginalised people.

"I think Ricky believes it is just him being a 'naughty boy'.  I believe it makes him a pin-up and role model for the alt right (which is sadly just the mainstream right nowadays) and, whether he likes it or not, a useful ally in the culture war.

"I know he is not a supporter of alt right ideology, but I see his words used as gifs and memes in support of such ideology."

Robin Ince - Bibliomaniac: An Obsessive's Tour Of The Bookshops Of Britain

Why play to 12,000 people when you can play to 12? In Autumn 2021, Robin Ince's stadium tour with Professor Brian Cox was postponed due to the pandemic. Rather than do nothing, he decided he would instead go on a tour of over a hundred bookshops, from Wigtown to Penzance; from Swansea to Margate.

Packed with anecdotes and tall tales, Bibliomaniac follows Robin up and down the country in his quest to discover just why he can never have enough books. It is the story of an addiction and a romance, and also of an occasional points failure just outside Oxenholme.

First published: Thursday 6th October 2022

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