Tag Archives: jonathan ross show

Christmas Gift Recommendation: Tim Minchin DVD

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

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Tips For Adulthood: Five Things Barbra Streisand Taught Me

Every Wednesday I offer tips for adulthood.

This Wednesday’s list comes from the interview I watched last Friday night with Barbra Streisand on the Jonathan Ross show. As I gushed on Monday, I think there are a lot of things about Barbra that make her truly admirable. But some of what I learned about her during this interview also resonated with my views on adulthood:

1. Be Gutsy. One mark of adulthood is the willingness to put yourself out there. Streisand is nothing if not gutsy. In addition to her many different professional endeavors, she’s been outspoken on her political views for years. Have a look at her website. In addition to the usual fan memorabilia and updates about her new album, there are links to articles about public policy and a list of “truth alerts” to correct public figures when she thinks they are lying. Gutsiness is also a feature of her personal life. In the Jonathan Ross interview, she told the story of how – the first time she met her husband – she reached out and touched his hair without thinking. That act sparked a relationship of 11 years (and counting…).

2. Be Vulnerable. At the same time, it’s important to admit your weaknesses. My favorite moment in the Ross interview was when she confessed that she’s terrified about performing in front of live audiences where she can see people’s eyes. Huh? 30 top ten albums and you get nervous in front of crowds? But she does. And that explains why she so rarely performs in small venues like nightclubs. I liked her more once she admitted this about herself.

3. Try Different Things Inside Your Career. What sets Streisand aside from many other stars of her generation is the sheer variety of things that she’s done in her life professionally (and succeeded at). Actress. Singer. Songwriter. Screenwriter. Producer. Director. She simply hasn’t allowed herself to get stale and that’s because she’s always taking on new challenges.

4. Try Different Things Outside Your Career. But equally impressive are the things she’s done outside her career. In addition to her foundation – which has contributed money to all sorts of political and environmental causes – she’s currently at work on a book…about architecture. Lots of celebrities write auto-biographies and it looks like she’ll do that, too. But in the meantime, she’s thinking mostly about design. Wow.

5. Don’t Write Off Plastic Surgery. Hey, I’m not usually one to advocate “getting work done.” But I must say, Barbra has clearly put herself under the knife and she looks pretty impressive for 67. It made me think twice, anyway…

*****

Guess he’s not Jewish after all. Or maybe he is. Read my follow on about Ahmadinejad’s alleged Jewish roots here

Image: Village Vanguard by Luizfilipe via Flickr under a Creative Commons license.

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