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Tim Minchin (born 7 October 1975 in Northampton, UK ) is a Britishmarker-born Australian comedian, actor and musician. He is best known for his musical comedy, which has featured in three CDs, three DVDs and a number of live comedy shows which he has performed internationally. He has also appeared on television and radio in both Australia and Britain. After growing up in Perth, Western Australia, he attended the University of Western Australia and WAAPA before moving to Melbournemarker in 2002 where he began to develop his act. His breakout show, "Dark Side", launched him into the public eye, achieving critical success at the 2005 Melbourne International Comedy Festival and the 2005 Edinburgh Festival Fringe.

Minchin has a background in theatre and has appeared in various stage productions, in addition to some small acting roles on Australian TV. He has written a script for a television pilot which has received some interest from US networks; in late 2007 he was reported to be in talks with HBO. A documentary film about Minchin, Rock N Roll Nerd (directed by Rhian Skirving), was released theatrically in 2008 and broadcast by ABC1 in 2009.

Personal life

Minchin was raised in Perthmarker, Western Australia. and educated at Christ Church Grammar Schoolmarker. He started learning piano at the age of eight, but gave it up after three years because he did not enjoy the discipline. He redeveloped an interest in the instrument after he started writing music with his brother Dan Minchin, a guitarist, but still describes himself as a "hack pianist... a 'more you practice, the better you get' kind of guy." Minchin graduated from the University of Western Australia in 1995 with a Bachelor of Arts in English and Theatre, and in 1998 completed an Advanced Diploma in Contemporary Music at the Western Australian Academy of Performing Arts.

He currently lives in Londonmarker with his wife, Sarah whom he married in 2001. They have a daughter Violet, who was born on November 24, 2006 and son Caspar, who was born on July 3, 2009. Minchin often refers to his family life in his songs and stand-up and often draws on how he met his wife Sarah when he was 17 and on their life as a couple. He is currently co-writing a musical version of Roald Dahl's novel Matilda with Dennis Kelly and the Royal Shakespeare Company, which will be produced by the RSC and will hit the stage in late 2010.


Musical comedy

Minchin playing the piano on-stage
After completing an Advanced Diploma in Contemporary Music in 1998, Minchin started out composing music for documentaries and theatre. In 2000 he wrote and starred in the musical "Pop" at the Blue Room Theatre in Perth. He released a CD titled "Sit" with his band Timmy the Dog in 2001, but achieved little success In 2002, after only one professional acting job, he moved from Perth to Melbourne to pursue work. Minchin struggled initially; he could not get an agent for a year and had been unable to find any acting work. While several record companies gave him positive feedback, they were not sure how his music—a mixture of satirical songs and more serious pop songs—could be marketed. He decided to compile all of his humorous songs into a single live show to "get the comedy stuff off [his] chest" before going back to more serious music.

Minchin says he entered into comedy "naively", having never even attended a live comedy gig before performing one himself. His break-out show, "Dark Side" (co-produced by Laughing Stock Productions), achieved critical success at the 2005 Melbourne International Comedy Festival, where it won the inaugural Festival Directors' Award and attracted the notice of Karen Koren, the manager of the well-known Gilded Balloon venues. Koren backed the show's run at the Edinburgh Festival Fringe, where Minchin received the Perrier Comedy Award for Best Newcomer. His 2006 show, "So Rock", was nominated for the Melbourne International Comedy Festival's top prize, the Barry Award, and in 2007 he won the award for Best Alternative Comedian at the HBO US Comedy Arts Festival.

Minchin describes his act as a "funny cabaret show" and sees himself primarily as a musician and songwriter as opposed to a comedian; his songs, he says, "just happen to be funny." He draws on his background in theatre for his distinctive onstage appearance and persona. In his performances, he typically goes barefoot with wild hair and heavy eye makeup, which is juxtaposed with a crisp suit and tails, and a grand piano. According to Minchin, he likes not wearing shoes in his shows because it makes him feel more comfortable. He considers the eye makeup important because while he is playing the piano he is not able to use his arms and relies on his face for expressions and gestures; the eyeliner makes his features more distinguishable for the audience. Much of his look and persona, he says, are about "treading that line between mocking yourself and wanting to be an iconic figure. Mocking the ridiculousness and completely unrealistic dream of being an iconic figure." The eccentric appearance removes Minchin from reality somewhat, allowing him to make outrageous statements onstage "without annoying (most) people".

The shows consist largely of Minchin's comedic songs and poetry, with subjects ranging from social satire, to inflatable dolls and sex fetishes, to his own failed rock star ambitions. In between songs, he performs short stand-up routines. Several of his songs deal with religion, a subject with which Minchin—an atheist and a fan of Richard Dawkins—says he is "a bit obsessed". He argues that as one of the most powerful and influential forces in the world, religion should never be off-limits to satirists. He says that his favourite song to perform is "Peace Anthem for Palestine", which reflects his feelings about religious conflict. His comedy also deals with taboos more broadly, a subject which Minchin says interests him due to what he considers the hypocrisy in the things society classifies as appropriate and inappropriate.

In August 2008 Minchin debuted his third solo show, "Ready For This?" at the Edinburgh Fringe and subsequently took it on tour across the UK. During the Edinburgh run, he contributed to The Guardian newspaper's podcasts, despite his new show containing a song about a Guardian critic who once gave his show a savage review.. Live recordings of his 2005 and 2006 shows, "Dark Side" and "So Rock", have been released as CDs. In 2007, he released a DVD entitled So Live, featuring a live recording in the Sydney Opera Housemarker Studio with material from both of his previous shows.

He has also made musical appearances on various radio and television shows, including the BBC's Never Mind the Buzzcocks, BBC Radio 4's Mark Watson Makes the World Substantially Better and two specials on BBC Radio 2 in Britain; and the ABC's Spicks and Specks and The Sideshow in Australia. Also, he appeared on Friday Night With Jonathan Ross in October 2009. He performed a song written especially for the show entitled Five Poofs And Two Pianos, a parody of the house band for the show 4 Poofs and a Piano.


Minchin's background is in theatre and he has appeared in various stage productions. His most recent dramatic theatrical performance was in the title role for the 2006 Perth Theatre Company production of Amadeus, a fictional play about the downfall of Mozart at the hands of the reigning court composer. His other stage acting roles have included the title role in the 2004 Perth Theatre Company / Hoopla production of Hamlet, and The Writer in the original PTC production of Reg Cribb’s The Return. He has also acted for The Australian Shakespeare Company (Twelfth Night), the Black Swan Theatre Company (Cosi, One Destiny) and in various other plays, short films and TVC’s. Roles from his days in musical theatre include Don Quixote in Man of La Mancha and understudying Judas twice (and playing Pontius Pilate) in Jesus Christ Superstar.

He has played small roles on the ABC telemovie Loot, and on Comedy Inc.

Minchin also plays the role of Tom, in the contemporary family drama Two Fists, One Heart, released March 19 2009.

Notable Songs

  • Inflatable You
  • Canvas Bags
  • If I Didn't Have You
  • Dark Side
  • Rock N Roll Nerd
  • Peace Anthem For Palestine
  • Not Perfect




  • 2008 - "Drowned"


  • 2005 - Laugh-a-poolooza (featured artist)


  • 2007 - So Live (Australia only)
  • 2008 - So F**king Rock Live (UK only)
  • 2009 - Ready For This? (Australia only)
  • 2009 - So F**king Rock Live (Special Edition, UK only)
  • 2009 - Ready For This Live (Australia only [SH])



  1. Pomeranz, Margaret: Rock N Roll Nerd, At the Movies (ABC1.
  2. Rock + Roll Nerd: The Tim Minchin Story, ABC1, 30 April 2009.
  3. Direct quote from Tim Minchin's Twitter on 03/07/09: "Uneventful 24 hrs: I delivered 1st draft of my musical yesterday, Sarah delivered my son this morning. Already back home. Name of Caspar." [1]
  4. From Tim Minchin's blog 29th September 2009
  6. The Guardian Live at the Gilded Balloon, with Tim Minchin

External links

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