Tim Minchin

Tim Minchin

Musical comedy

Considering the few acts who are able to pull it off without being greeted by a sea of groaning, musical comedy must surely be one of the most difficult cross-pollinations in the arts. There’s Bill Bailey, Flight of the Conchords and, erm, well that’s probably it. And lodged somewhere between Bailey’s Middle Earth aesthetic and the Conchords’ Kiwi carry on is Australia’s Tim Minchin. When the madcap eyelinered one arrived on these shores in 2005 singing ditties about how he’d get the Arabs and Jews round the negotiating table and of his life as a rock’n’roll nerd, audiences took to his schtick with venom. Minchin himself was a little more circumspect about the acclaim. ‘I suppose I’m a satirical songwriter and I don’t feel that comfortable being put in the box “comedian”. Because then I’m lumped in with genuine comics like Daniel Kitson and Stewart Lee but what I’m doing is writing complicated songs and performing them as a musician, not just as a comedian with an instrument.’

While Stewart Lee was one of his early voices of support, the last ever Perrier panel also gave him the thumbs-up as their final Best Newcomer, holding off strong competition from Mark Watson and Rhod Gilbert. Now based in London with his wife and daughter, it seemed clear that a move to the UK was required for Minchin to take his comedy career any further. ‘It’s a very isolated industry back home. Melbourne is very strong in comedy but there’s no sense that you’re part of a bigger thing while Edinburgh is seen as a rite of passage. Aussies love to go to the UK and if they’re comics then it’s a great excuse to go and get pissed, do some comedy and hopefully not lose too much money.’ (Brian Donaldson)

Queen’s Hall, Edinburgh, Fri 1 Feb; Tron Theatre, Glasgow, Sat 2 Feb

Tim Minchin

The 2005 Perrier Best Newcomer winner shows off his skills as a comedian, actor, composer and musician.

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