Home' Scoop : Scoop 50 Summer 2009 Contents 36 SCOOP SUMMER 2009
with Tim Minchin
text jessica matthews
Your persona onstage is very eccentric, and yet
he has captured such widespread appeal. Why do
you think that is?
I think entertainment either tends to be big and
brassy and slightly moronic, or highly intellectual
and sort of arty -- whereas mine is big and brassy
and slightly moronically highly intellectual. I
think there are a lot of people out there who like
coming to watch someone bash the crap out of a
piano, and walk around in tight jeans acting like
a rock star and then suddenly start talking about
fallacies of causation and correlation and logic and
rationalism. Apart from anything else I think it's
probably quite different to what people are used to
seeing, but still kind of taking the piss out of itself.
Your songs encompass everyday-type issues to
those of global significance, is there something
unique to a situation that makes you want to
write about it?
I just write about whatever comes into my stupid
head, but increasingly what comes into my head
are these bigger issues. I think we live in a very
interesting time in regards to beliefs and respect
and censorship -- what people are allowed to say
and what people are scared of saying for fear of
being killed. That's very interesting to me, and
when I think about something a lot I end up
writing shows about it.
Religion is a pet topic of yours, what in essence
gnaws at you about this?
I can go back to songs I wrote as a teenager and
there are ones panning religious hypocrisy. It's
something a lot of people are interested in. I don't
think you should be able to say you love Jesus and
hate homosexuals, and I don't think you should be
able to say the Bible is our best source for whether
or not we should be able to euthanase ourselves in
the 21st Century. So I have very specific things to
say and I bang on pretty hard about them.
How do you deal with fame and a mass of media
who can write whatever they want about you?
Well I cope by burying my head in the sand. I try
to read comments people put on my site because
I think they put the time in and I appreciate that,
but I've pulled back from everything else. I've not
Googled myself in years, and I don't read reviews.
It's not like I'm deluded, I know I'm not a movie
star-- but as the numbers of people who know your
work goes up, you could potentially spend your
whole life bathing in yourself. I think my solution
is to normalise my life as much as possible. I don't
go out much, I just work really hard, spend time
with my family and avoid reading the press.
You're known for tackling taboo topics -- do you
think shock-value is important in comedy?
I think so. I try not to be shocking for the sake of
it, I'm only interested in taboos that are protect-
ing something I think is bullshit -- for example the
religion taboo. What shock does is it opens a door
for people to laugh about the stuff that you're not
allowed to laugh at in the office. Of course most
of us have senses of humour within groups of
friends, in which you're allowed to say off-colour
remarks because everyone understands where
you're coming from. Taking that into the theatre is
quite interesting because your sitting amid a group
of strangers and laughing at things you might not
normally laugh at. The point is that everyone has
these thoughts, but no one thinks to say them --
and certainly no one thinks to write a song about
them that rhymes.
In Ready For This, how has your performance
evolved from previous shows?
Over the past few years I've become more confi-
dent that I can talk about what I want to. I used
to think, "Oh this isn't what comedians do, these
aren't proper jokes with a structure and three
beats." I'm getting more confident that I'm al-
lowed to rant and leave the audience a bit puzzled,
because people seem to like what I'm doing so far.
But it's very similar in many ways; I still try to
show-off as much as possible. I get on stage, sing
across my whole range, play as hard as I can, use
lots of big words and make everyone go "wow that
was clever," and then I walk back off.
Tim Minchin: Ready for This?
Perth Concert Hall, December 15-16,
Armed with piano prowess and a
wit sharper than the tails of his
signature suit jacket, Perth-raised
Tim Minchin has emerged as one
of the most exciting performers
on the international comedy circuit. After winning
the Festival Director's Award at the Melbourne In-
ternational Comedy Festival in 2005, he performed
a sold-out show at the Edinburgh Fringe where he
collected the Perrier Award for Best Newcomer.
We caught up with Tim to discuss fame, religion
and the inspiration behind his latest critically ac-
claimed show Ready For This?
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