Happy Birthday Tim Minchin.


[NSFW warning: the links and videos in this post are probably not safe for work.
But then, neither is this blog.]

“Tim who?” I get that a lot, pretty much whenever I rave about the man. The British-born, Australian-raised composer, comedian, lyricist, actor and writer is well known in those countries as a musical iconoclast, one whose lyrical barbs frequently target religion. Thanks to the Internet, Tim Minchin’s fame has been steadily spreading elsewhere: he has appeared on Conan O’Brien’s show a few times, as well as on a few other late night TV gigs, and has toured extensively in the U.S. to wildly adoring audiences. This year, Minchin made several guest appearances on the Showtime series Californication as fictional rock star Atticus Fetch, and the success of Matilda the Musical, based on the novel by Roald Dahl for which Minchin wrote the music and lyrics, has no doubt provided him with some serious street cred among the Broadway crowd. (I cannot recommend that show highly enough, by the way. It is wickedly entertaining and deliciously subversive. FWIW, I am not exactly a big fan of Broadway musicals, and I’ve seen it once in London and twice more on Broadway—and I would go again.)

But so far, mainstream stateside fame has been elusive. I suspect that much of that may be attributable to his outspoken atheism in our god-soaked oligarchy. Not that his fans here don’t flock to his shows precisely because of it—they surely do. It’s just that in many American locales, being open and out as an atheist can bring a world of hurt upon oneself and one’s loved ones. Compared to those in godless meccas like New York or San Francisco, a fan in flyover country might not be quite as likely to post his videos on Facebook, or to casually ask a bunch of friends if they want to get tickets to a Minchin show, for fear of very real repercussions in their own families and communities simply for being associated with Minchin’s godless views. An occasional performance on late-night TV isn’t going to rock many boats, but chuckleheads on the local morning shows are probably not going to roll out the red carpet eagerly, for the same reasons some fans cannot openly endorse him.

There are, of course, repercussions for Minchin as well. Three days before a show in Dallas, his tour manager received an email from the company he had contracted well in advance to supply a grand piano for his performance:

The subject heading was “CANCEL !!!!!!!!!!” (yep, 10 exclamation marks), and the body of the email read:

“I need to decline after watching that insane Tim Minchin. What a God-hater.

So sorry, please cancel the Entire Event In Dallas. Go back to Australia [Note: Minchin lives with his wife and children in London. Which is not in Australia. -Ed.] we do not appreciate Tim Minchin in TX.


You probably agree. Find a better comedian (not a demon).

Love in Christ,”

And there they signed off.

But of course they do appreciate Tim Minchin in TX—even if “the instrument brought in to replace God’s personal piano is crap.” Here is why.

The Pope Song.

Storm. A beat poem about a dinner party in which our hero confronts a New Age hippie. (audio only.)

If I Didn’t Have You. An amusing meditation on the statistical unlikelihood that Minchin’s wife is his only suitable mate.

White Wine in the Sun. Minchin’s stunningly beautiful paean to a secular Christmas holiday. Performed by Kate Miller-Heidke.

If You Open Your Mind Too Much, Your Brain Will Fall Out (Take My Wife). Minchin’s remix of James Randi’s million dollar prize.

And or good measure, here are a handful of Minchin quotes (some from lyrics) which shall now reside in the Palace Library in perpetuity—unless of course he really, really pisses me off.

A famous bon mot asserts that opinions are like arse-holes, in that everyone has one. There is great wisdom in this… but I would add that opinions differ significantly from arse-holes, in that yours should be constantly and thoroughly examined.

You know what they call alternative medicine that’s been proved to work? – Medicine.

I’ve been pulled aside in foyers and they always say the same thing those people, they always have the same defense, they always say, ‘but evolution is only a theory’…which is true…I guess…I mean, evolution is a theory and it’s good that they say that, I think, don’t you?  Because it gives you hope that maybe they feel the same way about the theory of gravity…and they might just float the fuck away.

[O]nce you reject evidence as a source of knowledge, you don’t gotta believe nothin’ you don’t like.

If I had a religion, its deity would be Audysseus, the sound God, and He would be a vengeful god, dishing out eternal damnation to people with cheap stage monitors.

Isn’t this enough? Just this world? Just this beautiful, complex wonderfully unfathomable world? How does it so fail to hold our attention that we have to diminish it with the invention of cheap, man-made myths and monsters?

Now, therefore, in honor of Tim Minchin’s contributions to our universe, and in recognition of his extraordinary talents and ceaseless commitment to mocking the eminently mockworthy, there will be a birthday party in the Palace Bar, commencing immediately.

timminchinOf course you can have extra cake, Tim. For one thing, it’s your birthday. And there is always extra cake served at the Palace.

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