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April 2006

Musical comedy has enjoyed a renaissance recently. First it was Paul McDermott fronting Gud, then came the middle class angst of Eddie Perfect, and in the latest batch are ivory-ticklers Sammy J and Tim Minchin. This group has a lot in common with their musical ancestors, performers including Victor Borg and Tom Lehrer. They are all highly accomplished musicians, but stand out for their remarkable verbal dexterity and the ability to fit the surprisingly complex requirements of comedy into the rigours of musical convention.
In a short space of time Tim Minchin has established himself as one of the best. He intuitively understands what makes funny funny, so every second line of his brilliant compositions is a laugh-out-loud punchline. The set up for each song is quite simple, but the ideas are mined sensationally for comic effect. Take Minchin’s song warning of the dangers of fat kids, a set up which then leaves him open to widely and hilariously speculate on the consequences. There are few things funnier in the world than Tim Minchin on a roll.
Minchin is as comfortable in front of the microphone as he is at his beloved piano. The format of this year’s show is just a little looser than his past two outings in Melbourne, which gives him more freedom for spontaneity. When he heard the cry of a newborn from the back of the room, Minchin went with the flow and was wonderfully successful: just what was the newborn expected to get out of the show, anyhow?
Minchin’s stage persona is oddly charming. Though the black trenchcoat, heavy eye makeup and gravity-defying hair might suggest an angry goth, once he opens his mouth Minchin is friendly and engaging. There’s a touch of nastiness to some of his material – taking on thalidomide kids, cot-death victims and the morbidly obese (who, incidentally, would make a sensational wrestling team together) – but it’s all said with a smile.
Later this year, Minchin is moving to London, so chances to see this musical genius in action might be limited. Catch him while you can.

Black – comedy, that is – is back with a vengeance as Melbourne’s own 2005 Perrier Award winner (Best Newcomer) from Edinburgh shows that another year’s experience on the stand-up circuit has worked wonders for his confidence.

From the rocking beginning and wondrous cabaret-style virtuosity to the boundary-pushing punchlines with all the subtlety of a sledge-hammer, this mega-talented piano man with an incisive and vast intellect to match hits all the right notes.

From perineums and canvas bags to matters of faith, this is one comedian with a conscience who delivers thought-provoking wit rather than smut. Raw yet accomplished, this is one show not to be missed.

4 stars.

“Last Year’s Festival Directors’ Award Winner Doesn’t Disappoint.”

TIM MINCHIN’S crazy cabaret won him a festival director’s award at last year’s Comedy Festival and best newcomer at the Edinburgh Fringe. High praise creates high expectations, and Minchin doesn’t disappoint.

He arrives on stage barefoot, in a suit buttoned all the way to the top, with hair teased wildly backward, as if he’s tried to stare down an industrial fan at close range. He looks like a cross between a concert pianist and Igor, the mad retainer from the Frankenstein movies.

This resemblance is reinforced by Minchin’s rapid and seemingly inexhaustible array of nervy expressions, including one half-squint, half-ogle that should by rights be anatomically impossible (if only on the grounds of taste). In short, he’s a man who can make you laugh before even singing a note.

What makes Minchin special is his versatility. As he yoyos between piano and mic, you’re struck by the fact that he’s simultaneously an excellent stand-up comedian, a purveyor of physical comedy, an accomplished musician and a lyricist of diabolical ingenuity.

The tunes range from pop pastiche and patter-songs through to the most unpleasant love ballad ever, animated by the same savagely satirical spirit. Witty, smart, and unabashedly offensive, the lyrics sound as if they were written by Noel Coward with his head in a microwave.

As for performance technique, Minchin doesn’t so much play the piano as attack it kung-fu style.

Minchin’s stand-up isn’t quite as good as his songs – the piano is clearly his comfort zone – but this experienced entertainer rebounds effortlessly from potential falls.

When his gags are good, they’re hilarious; when they’re bad, you get to watch Minchin haul his lead balloon across the stage and kick it into the wings, which is almost as funny.

4 stars.

Relief

by Tim 22nd Apr | 15 comments


I reckon I’ve never been as anxious as I was a week ago today… and now I feel all relaxed like a truck driver who’s been slipped a rohypnol at a roadhouse by an amorous chico-roll maker name of Betsy.

Shows at the HiFi are selling out mostly. Which is grand. New material is going nicely… it’s quite dark in bits, which came as a bit of a surprise.

I’ve had a few reviews, all of which have been more than kind. Not that I care about reviews of course. Much. Check them out if you like by clicking HERE

Cheerypip.
tx

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So Rock

by Tim 7th Apr | 54 comments


Hi. Like my new, snazzy website? It’s pretty new and snazzy. Probably the most significant change, other than the aesthetic features, is the development of an “MP3s and Downloads” page. Unfortunately I haven’t figured out how to upload shit yet, but when I do… well fuck me if you won’t be able to download the very same shit.

It appears that – with 5 days to go until Comedy Festival – I have managed to gather enough amusing material to fill an hour. Which is a nice relief. Whether anyone other than I will be amused by it is yet to be seen. Feeling pretty pumped though. And I’ve got a name for the show too. Obviously all the posters and stuff just say Tim Minchin, but between you guys and me, it’s called “So Rock”. OK. Sorted.

In other reasonably exciting news, I’m closing the Comedy Festival Gala next week. I’m sure those of you who have seen a bit of my stuff will be able to guess what song I’m closing with. Hint: there’s going to be a choir. And a trumpet player. And some pyrotechnics. So fucking rock. It’ll be on tele some time the week after next.

Some of the subject matter to be addressed in my new show includes:
– People who feed their kids crap food and make them fat.
– The possibility of the existence of genuine psychics.
– The viability of training a flock of birds to poo written messages.
– The infallible brilliance of the theory of Intelligent Design.
– Environmentally friendly shopping bags. Sorry, can’t help it.

So. I should go practice stuff. Come along to my new show if you’re in Melbourne. If you’re not in Melbourne, do something else fun. As often as possible.

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