Comedy review: Robin Ince: Pragmatic Insanity | Robin Ince's Rorschach Test

Edinburgh Festival Fringe: Honestly, you wait three years for a Robin Ince show and then two come along together.

The Stand Comedy Club 2 (Venue 5)


Gilded Balloon at the Museum (Venue 64)


But it would seem that the cardie-clad, comedic philomath has been writing shows all along, merely forgetting to bring them to the Fringe because of Brian Cox-­related distractions and now he has remembered, packed six hours of material into two hour-long shows and set up his displays of the art of the brilliant babble at both the Stand and the Museum.

Of course, there is a scientific explanation for the intensity of an Ince performance. The Ince brain is like a black hole in a galaxy of knowledge. When it collides with another black hole – say the Fringe – the energy waves that are produced are perceived, by us, as “shows”. These two “shows” are differentiated by one having slides and looking at science and art and engagement, and one having no slides and exploring good and bad. I am, of course, paraphrasing, and not well. The Stand show is full of anecdote and self-analysis. It is hilariously and, finally, painfully personal.

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His anecdotes chart the dichotomy of “good” Robin vs “bad” Robin, he bemoans the difficulties of being ­properly left-wing, with reference to personal pronouns and M&S, and reveals his ideas for some new TV shows.

The Museum show is a race through Ince’s relationship with art. It contains absolutely the best Stewart Lee impression in the world and a goat, which you may or not see. I hated that it ended.

As it did, his ­explanation of why he doesn’t read newspapers in the morning makes for life-changing thought. You could feel the shift in the room as what he was saying sank in. Both shows, you should be warned, involve an element of poetry. There is no time-wasting. Ince doesn’t delay our gratification by asking if we are having a nice time because he pretty much knows that within five minutes we will be having a bloody marvellous time. Because there is only one thing better than a Robin Ince show, and that is two Robin Ince shows. I urge you to see them both.

Robin Ince: Pragmatic Insanity until 
13 August. Today 6:20pm. Robin Ince’s Rorschach Test until 13 August. Today 1:30pm.