My husband and I went to a concert Tuesday night. It was a belated celebration of his birthday, which falls in July.
The reason we waited so long to celebrate isn’t that we were too busy back in the Summer or couldn’t manage to drag ourselves out for dinner. (That does happen sometimes, but it rarely takes five months to rectify.)
No. The reason we waited five months is that right about the time that I was going to buy him a present, I got an email announcing that our very favorite stand up comic – make that really the *only* stand up comic we’ve ever listened to properly – was coming to London for a live performance at the O2 arena.
So I immediately booked the tickets and then ran out and bought a CD of said comic for my husband as a sort of “place holder” birthday gift, in anticipation of the real thing.
The comic’s name? He’s called Tim Minchin. He’s a bare-footed, mascara-wearing, red-haired Australian. And here’s the kicker: he’s also a singer-songwriter and piano player. So about 90% of his act are his songs, with a few jokes and stories thrown in here and there.
And he is brilliant: funny, irreverent, profane, absurd and just a little bit mad.
We first saw Minchin on the erstwhile Jonathan Ross show, which was – until last summer – the top late night talk show here in the U.K. And we knew right away that he was the guy for us. (I mean c’mon…when you love musical theatre as much as I do, the prospect of having someone *sing* their jokes to you is just way too appealing…)
There’s something really exciting about going to hear a performer you love live, even – perhaps especially – when you don’t…um…get out all that much anymore. (BTW? I’d say the average age in the arena last night was late 20s. When a grey haired couple walked in, I practically ran over and embraced them.)
What I like most about Minchin – apart from his hysterical lyrics – is the unadulterated joy he seems to take from his work. He really looks like he’s having a ball up there on stage, and his enthusiasm is infectious.
More importantly, when you watch Minchin perform – and much like another fave of mine whom I’ve also seen live, the writer and singer/song-writer Garrison Keillor – you get the sense that this oddball decided early on in life that he wasn’t going to give a toss what other people thought about him. He was going to choose a path – in this case, playing the piano bare-footed – that worked for him. And if he looked and sounded weird, so be it. He would be true to himself.
I don’t know about you, but to me that’s what it’s all about.
So if you’re still wondering what on earth to get that special someone for Christmas this year, let me make a suggestion: a Tim Minchin DVD.
Have a listen. And enjoy!
Image: Tim Minchin Nine Lessons and Carols For Godless People by nadworks via Flickr under a Creative Commons License