Robin Ince is in a talkative mood about his upbeat and inspiring stand up show Chaos of Delight, which sees him returning to his favourite sister venues, the Stand Comedy Clubs in Edinburgh and Glasgow this month. He explains, ‘The show is inspired by Darwin’s comment that his mind was “a chaos of delight” when observing the previously unseen creatures and flowers of the rain forest.’
In the show, Ince identifies the endless variety, complexity and possibility that arises from being a human being in the 21st century and lays it out for his audience to appreciate, while laughing at our weaknesses, failings and foibles too.
He continues with characteristic honesty, ‘We go off on tangents as usual. It has bits of physics, psychology and plenty of stupid stories from my own life and others. It is an attempt at a celebration of human possibilities and a shirking of the melancholy and terror which surrounds us when we tap into the media.’
So many ideas and topics are covered with hilarious honesty in an Ince show that the jaded journalistic question, ‘Where do you get your ideas from?’ becomes ‘How do you keep all those ideas in your head at once without them spilling out at inopportune moments?’ Ince tries to quantify a starting point: ‘It is partly inspired by the book Factfulness and Hans Rosling’s word, “possibilism”. Rosling wrote that he was not an optimist but a possibilist. This seems a more pragmatic approach in current society where blind optimism in the face of stark reality can seem misguided.’
Instead of blind optimism Ince celebrates the fact that science, technology and medicine are all progressing at an incredible rate, and creativity and problem-solving are surely the way forward. He explains, ‘Evidence of advances shows that a better world for human beings really is possible and we have been progressing towards it, let’s not slip back.’
Being generally of an upbeat disposition despite the current political climate, I ask if his latest show will encourage us to remain optimistic and curious about the world around us.
‘We have to make sure we haven’t given up,’ he continues. ‘All the time, I meet inspiring people changing people’s lives for the better. How dull to be the pessimist who sits at home, does nothing and proudly states, “see, I told you we were going to hell in a handcart!”‘
So don’t sit at home, get down to The Stand for some therapeutic laughter.