Comedy songs quite rightly have a chequered history – for every Bill Bailey there’s a Richard Stilgoe – but in past few years Tim Minchin has proven himself an absolute master of the form and in the process catapulted himself from badly reviewed (see below) solo gigs to lauded orchestra-backed world arena tours. Despite this there still seem to be an awful lot of people out there unfamiliar with his work. Well now you’ve no excuse.
We’ve all met an annoying pillock at a dinner party but only Minchin has met one and then gone home and written a vengeful ‘9 minute beat poem’ that’s as fine a piece of poetry, comedy and character assassination as you’re likely to hear. For my money one of the cleverest comedy tunes ever created. It’s recently been made into an animated short which is currently touring film festivals and looks (from the bits I’ve seen) genuinely amazing.
Rare is the song that has its cake and eats it (to use a jarring metaphor) but this one does and then shoves the cake in its own face (I’ll stop it now). Fine mockery of right-on ‘issue’-based songs utterly subverted by a wicked right-off chorus. Just very, very funny.
If You Open Your Mind Wide Enough Your Brain Will Fall Out (Take My Wife)
Several of Minchin’s recurring themes (psychics, homeopathy, religion etc) poo-poohed thoroughly and convincingly in about 90 seconds. Intelligence, melody and humour – Minchin in microcosm.
Song for Phil Daoust
Forsaking all subtlety Minchin vigorously admonishes disapproving critic (and occasional Guardian newspaper ‘journaloust’) Phil Douast over an unfavourable early review. No hidden meanings here or, indeed, holes barred as Minchin suggests Daoust should ‘find yourself a job that you’d be better at/ like killing yourself you fucking cunt. We’d all like to have something this brutal with which to bludgeon our enemies. History does not record what Doaust thinks of the tune but if you google him there’s nary a result that doesn’t mention Minchin so it’s fair to say that the song chalked up a very definite victory for Tim.
A lesson in how to write a serious/ funny/ sentimental/ unsentimental/ objective/ atheist Christmas song. Moving and marvellous, it should take it’s place alongside Fairytale of New York as everyone’s favourite ‘no-seriously-it’s-fucking-ace’ yuletide tune.
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