While you can understand our busiest comic minds wanting to tackle more serious ventures – theatre, novels, science – it’s always good to see them leap wholeheartedly back into the Fringe’s comedy pages. Last year Mark Thomas’ visceral stand-up comeback was peppered with references to stand-up’s antecedents, and Ince takes that on a stage here; a whole show dedicated to his favourite funny people. It’s an absolute delight.
We begin with a cathartic hark back to his own Fringe debut, in 2004, and some infamous Vernon Kay/melon-based violence. Kay is one of numerous famous encounters as Ince time-travels, namedrops that might clang loudly in other hands. But everything else here is so self-deprecating, particularly his inability to settle on a setlist, he’s hardly showing off.
Actually this love letter is also about the TV that rocked his young world; and the subsequent spin-off books. Ince proudly reveals a dog-eared example, now signed, and the big take-home from this show is that we should tell people we appreciate them more often, whether it's a partner, pal or – in this case – ‘70s sketch troupe The Goodies.
Ince at the Fringe is almost like watching a suspense thriller, as he tries to squeeze dozens of new ideas in before that tight timeslot runs out. Some make it, many are mentioned, others he suggests asking him about in the bar afterwards. It’s a show with footnotes, essentially. Bet they didn’t have those in the Goodies book.