"And fine, if you wish to glorify Krishna and Vishnu in a post-colonial, condescending bottled-up and labeled kind of way... then whatever, that’s okay, but! Here’s what gives me a hard-on: I am a tiny, insignificant, ignorant lump of carbon. I have one life, and it is short, and unimportant...but thanks to recent scientific advances, I get to live twice as long as my great-great-great-great uncleses and auntses!"
Tim Minchin is a flame-haired Australian pianist who once wrote an album full of silly songs to get them out of his system. When he discovered that the public loved them more than his more serious work, he became a comedian, and proceeded to become quite famous both in Australia and in the UK. He's known for his Black Humour
and for his spot-on criticisms of both the religious right and the new age left.
Several of his songs have official videos, including "The Pope Song" and "Storm", the latter of which has been adapted into an animated short
. He also famously serenaded Jonathan Ross
He hosted one episode of Never Mind the Buzzcocks
and has now won an Olivier Award for writing the score to the hit musical Matilda.
Has his own YouTube channel
Tropes embodied in his work include:
- Actually Pretty Funny: Tim is probably one of the few people who could sing a song to Jonathan Ross about how he wants to bang Ross's wife and make Ross laugh his head off about it.
- A Date with Rosie Palms: Inflatable You
- Added Alliterative Appeal: Five Poofs and Two Pianos:
"Why settle for a quartet of queers when there's a possibility of a penta-poofter piano posse here?"
- And a Diet Coke: Fat Children
Ordering a Diet Coke is not the way back,
Bumb-a-larda kiddie-stuffer your kids are fat have you noticed that?
- Anti-Love Song: Several.
- Answer Song: Song For Phil Daoust, a response to a scathing newspaper review.
- Arson, Murder, and Jaywalking:
- The Pope Song levels many accusations against Pedophile Priests and the people who cover for them. The very last of which, on the very last line of the song, is that they wear stupid hats.
- In Context, Tim discusses his hatred of, amongst other things, racist Africans, Japanese homophobes, the disabled rapists, and Burmese cats.
- The Song for Phil Daoust includes several embittered lyrics towards the journalist which get more and more caustic as the song continues. As everything builds to a climax, the final departing verse of the song calls the journalist a "poo-face".
- "5 Poofs and 2 Pianos":
And all those angry letter writers,
Like Disgusted from the Isle of Wight, and
Mad from Hull, and Outraged from Leeds,
And Slightly Annoyed from Berwick-on-Tweed...
- Association Fallacy: WoodyAllenJesus is built on this trope. Played for Laughs, naturally.
- Likewise, his stand-up skit about assuming that all ice-cream van operators are paedophiles.
- Thank You God touches on this.
- Astronomic Zoom: Not Perfect. "This is my Earth ... This is my house ... this is my body ... this is my brain"
- Audience Participation: He often talks to members of the audience during performances.
- Audience Participation Song: lampshaded and subverted in both Hello and I Love Jesus, played straight in Canvas Bags and Peace Anthem For Palestine. Although in Peace Anthem he has a habit of setting up obvious jumping in points for the audience before cutting them off with more piano solo.
- Averted in one of the versions ofDark Side when he tells the clapping audience to shut up.
- Author Tract: Of the good kind in Storm, in which Tim makes a passionate argument for rationalism.
- Beam Me Up, Scotty!: Invoked
If you're so into Shakespeare
, lend me your ear:
To gild refined gold... to paint the lily...
to throw perfume on the violet... is just fucking silly.
- Biting-the-Hand Humor: The entirety of Three Minute Song is basically about Tim mocking the BBC and their restrictions.
- Black Comedy: Lullaby which is an, um, lullaby about getting a baby to sleep. It starts out pretty sweetly, and ends with a line explaining that how much you love your child is directly proportionate to how dead it looks.
- Bread, Eggs, Milk, Squick:
- If I Didn't Have You says love grows "like a flower, or a mushroom, or a guinea pig, or a vine, or a sponge, or bigotry... or a banana."
- If You Really Loved Me gets more bizarre and fetishistic as it goes along. The first, very notable instance is when Tim sings that, if his lover truly loved him, she would "pluck the moon from the sky ... and let me video you while you wee".
- Angry (Feet) gets weirder and more psychotic, until the narrator finally admits to cutting his psychotherapist's feet off and kicking him in the head with them.
- In Cont, he expresses hatred to the rich and poor who use wealth/poverty as an excuse for bigotry, bitches who get rabies and try to bite babies and whores who don't accept Visa.
- Brick Joke: In the second verse of Rock and Roll nerd, he mentions guitar kids learning Stairway To Heaven. The outro quotes the song.
- In Three Minute Song: "Yeah, I got people. And a phone. And a sense of the passage of time." The whole joke of of the song is being performed on talk shows and lasting for three minutes, because if he goes over people watching the talk show will get bored.
- Brown Note: "F Sharp" may very well be the real deal. Try listening to it and not cringing.
- Genius Bonus: It's known among serious vocalists that F is a difficult key for the human voice to stick to; without instruments to keep them on the straight and narrow, the majority of choirs will slide sharp or flat when attempting it.
- Chewing the Scenery: Dark Side. Every Part of it. But the Re Veal ( Daddy never came to my ball games...) takes the cake.
- Caustic Critic: Phil Daoust.
- Cluster F-Bomb: 86 times in The Pope Song. You may as well call it Cluster F-Bomb: The Song.
- Comically Missing the Point:
- "Happy Little Africuns":
Millions of kids in starving nations
Living their life with no Playstations
AIDS and war, no vaccinations
Living their life with no Playstations
- Cure Your Gays: Referenced and inverted in Five Poofs And Two Pianos.
- Christmas in Australia: Basically the subject of White Wine in the Sun.
- Darker and Edgier: Parodied in Dark Side, and to a lesser extent Rock And Roll Nerd.
- Department of Redundancy Department: He's fond of this when introducing his songs.
This is a song about prejudice, and the language of prejudice, and the power of the language of prejudice. It's called... Prejudice.
This is a poem about anger. It's called Angry (or, in brackets, Feet).
- Digging Yourself Deeper
- Does Not Like Shoes: Initially to stay calm on stage, Tim performs barefoot. This becomes hilariously subverted as he "requires" a boot to play "The Good Book."
- Double Subversion: His At The Hairdressers joke.
- Dramatic Wind: Tim even uses a fan he brings on to pull it off during "Canvas Bags".
- Famous Last Words: He hasn't had any yet, what with him still being alive, but he had a bit about sitting around on his 30th birthday thinking up some. He decided his were going to be "Who's the world going to revolve around now?"
- Getting Crap Past the Radar: The Three Minute Song. Fa-China is a Country that can bring me to my knees!
- Granola Girl: Storm.
- Grief Song: The aptly titled The Grief Song, also known as Fuck The Poor.
- Guyliner: Because his performance doesn't allow him to gesture, he uses Guyliner to make his facial expressions easier to read from the audience.
- Ho Yay: "Adam Hillsong," made especially hilarious by the fact that you can see the exact moment when the subject (victim?) of the song realizes what the "apple" euphemism is.
- Also in Five Poofs and Two Pianos, where he considers being gay to be part of the "Four Poofs and a Piano" band.
- Hypocritical Humor: Referred to in YouTube Lament; the best example is probably in If You Really Loved Me:
We go together
Like a cracker and Brie
Like racism and ignorance
Like niggers and R&B
- Interestingly, he'd later lament using the joke because, even with the obvious Hypocritical Humor strategem, the power of the slur is such that he still shouldn't have used it.
- Nothing ruins comedy like arenas, written to serve as part of the opening song to Tim's first arena tour.
- Song for Phil Daoust is about Tim's efforts to overcome criticism and be mature in the face of negative feedback... but he still thinks Phil is a fucking poo-face who deserves to have big chunks of flesh cut out of his face and be forcefed them while his children watch.
- Impractical Musical Instrument Skills: Tim has demonstrated on more than one occasion the ability to play certain notes with his feet while he is in the middle of playing. Often the alternative would be stretching across the piano uncomfortably, or stop playing altogether to reach the note. Impressively he's not only capable of timing the foot note, but also play it in correct key as well. Musically inclined toes!
- If you listen to "Ready For This", the ENTIRE song is pretty much performed by him creating different effects with his MOUTH and then adding SFX to them (ie giving the "guitar" some distortion or rounding out the "kick drum" a bit so it sounds like a kick drum)
- In the Style of...: "Dark Side" includes a great Pearl Jam imitation, lampshaded by inserting a few bars of "Jeremy" into the middle of it.
- Incredibly Lame Pun: In Cheese, when Tim laments giving up cheese:
I cannot camembert it anymore!
Edam you mon amour!
- It Makes Sense in Context: Pretty much the entire point of Cont.
- Last-Second Word Swap: In Not Perfect;
And the weirdest thing about a mind,
Is that every answer that you find
Is the basis of a brand new... cliché
- List Song: The Fence, a song on how the world isn't always black and white, briefly plays this trope for one of the choruses:
- There's also Youtube Lament, which lists all the techniques Tim ever uses in his songs, concluding that none of them will ever get as many hits as Kitten Waking Up.
- Lyrical Dissonance: Quite a lot, given that he's a decent pianist with a dark sense of humour. "You Grew On Me" is something of a Double Subversion, since the gorgeous music suits the underlying sentiment perfectly well, it's just the comparison of love to terminal illnesses that breaks the spell a little.
- Unless, of course, one is familiar with the Australian slang term moll.
- Mood Whiplash: Dark Side is a blatantly lampshaded example, but there are others. Confessions is another... he sings about different issues, only to then cut to him singing about boobs.
- Mundane Made Awesome: Done deliberately in Canvas Bags. Played with in The Good Book, as he introduces it with "This next song requires a boot".note
- Mundane Utility: Tim using a 60-piece orchestra for background music.
- New-Age Retro Hippie: Storm from, well, Storm is a fan of alternative medicine and new age culture. Tim's initial assumptions about her prove to be quite accurate.
"I admit I'm a little bit wary/ because I notice the tip of the wing of a fairy/ Tattooed on that popular area/ Just above the derrière/ And when she says I'm Sagittarian/ I confess a pigeonhole starts to form/ And is immediately filled with pigeons/ When she says her name is Storm."
- Ninja Pirate Zombie Robot: Woody Allen Jesus:
Praise be to magic Woody Allen
zombie Superman komodo-dragon telepathic vampire quantum hovercraft - me
- N-Word Privileges: In Prejudice he mentions a word that contains a couple of Gs, an R and an E, an I and an N, which is only acceptable to be used by those it applies to.note
- Precision F-Strike:
- In The Song For Phil Daoust: Tim manages to avoid swearing in his dressing down of his Caustic Critic, until about two minutes into the song when his anger can be held back no more:
I just want to say, Phil Daoust,
I know it must be really hard to be a 'journaloust'
What with deadlines always looming
And the pressure to be entertaining,
So maybe you should quit and get a job that you'd be better at,
Like killing yourself, you fucking cunt.
- Also an epic one (even for Tim) in 'Thank You God'
So in a bit of a change of his usual stunt,
Of being a sexist, racist, murderous cunt...
- Radio Friendliness: TV-friendliness, at least, is discussed in The Three Minute Song.
- Religion Rant Song: Thank You God, The Good Book, The Pope Song...
- Rule of Three: Three movements in Confessions.
- Self-Deprecation: Rock And Roll Nerd.
- Also The Song For Phil Daoust, which is as much about Tim's childish inability to get over Daoust's review as it is Daoust himself.
- Shaped Like Itself: In The Good Book, he describes The Bible thus:
If I wanna know how to be good
it's to the good book that I go.
'Cause the good book is a book
and it is good and it's a book.
- Shout Out Music: After a lengthy and incredibly complex piano solo in "Dark Side", the music gradually slows until just two notes are playing for a brief period. This is shortly followed by the opening to "Beethoven's Für Elise" - which Tim may have used to suggest the pseudo-seriousness for the song.
- The Coda of "Inflatable You" includes the repeating lyric "Don't let me down" - a nod to The Beatles song of the same name.
- "Teenage Years" involves the concept of 'reaching Nirvana' and drinking the 'Teen Spirit', Bundaburg Rum. 'Smells like Teen Spirit' was a song created by Grunge '90's group, Nirvana.
- Confessions ends with a homage to "I Will Always Love You".
- The orchestral performances of "Rock & Roll Nerd" end with an over-the-top playing of the end riff from "Stairway To Heaven", which he references earlier in the song.
- Silly Love Songs
- Sincerity Mode: White Wine In The Sun.
- Spoof Aesop: "Confessions": We shouldn't objectify women, but fuck he loves boobs.
- Stealth Pun: Used in Inflatable You.
Now birth control is not an issue
I clean it all off with a...
- Stylistic Suck: Fairly often, whether in terms of lyrics, singing, or piano.
- Take That: Mostly against religion or superstition, but without much in the way of political prejudice — he goes against the New Agey left as hard in Storm as he goes against the traditionally theistic right in The Good Book.
- Song for Wossy is a Take That to the complainants who got Jonathan Ross suspended by the BBC, or specifically those who insisted that Ross would be traumatised if anyone dared to target him with the kind of joke that he was suspended over. Watched from this perspective, you can see that point that Wossy works it out.
- Third-Person Person: Rock And Roll Nerd - "But he doesn't want to seem self-obsessed, so he writes in third-person."
- Truck Driver's Gear Change: There's one in ''Three Minute Song", because otherwise Tim would get bored.
- Tourettes Shitcock Syndrome: Angry (Feet), the funniest being the involuntary quacks whenever he mentions his doctor.
- Uncanny Valley Makeup: Granted, only because the bar for men is set very low, but still, it's strange to see a man, much less a straight one, wearing non-black eyeliner - especially without obvious foundation.