After electrifying the Las Vegas audience with his extended introductory performance of "So F–king Rock," Tim Minchin said this was his first time in America. Well. Not quite. I’d seen Minchin earlier this year when he wowed the crowds in Aspen.
"Aspen’s not America, really," Minchin told me backstage after rocking the socks off the audience for an hour-plus. "They just plop you down on the mountain and then pick you back up."
"I didn’t have America as an intention," he said. "The opportunity came to me." Winning the Perrier Award for best newcomer to Edinburgh in 2005 led to an invite to Montreal in 2006, which in turn led to Aspen in February of 2007, where he received more industry kudos. "But after Aspen, I said, ‘Hold on, wait a second…" So here he is, or was, for three shows in New York City last week at Ars Nova — "Ars Nova is the most wonderful small theater I’ve perhaps ever been in," he told me — then Saturday night in Las Vegas for The Comedy Festival (organized by the same HBO folks who recruited him to Aspen), then two nights earlier this week in Los Angeles. Minchin said he hopes to come back in 2008 with something proper and new. "I’d like to sit for six weeks and write a new season in New York," he said. "You want people to discover you." In other words, don’t look for him to go promoting the hell out of himself, especially when there are plenty of people like me to sing his praises. "Word of mouth and I have always gotten off well," he said. "I’m trying to savor this no one knowing who the f–k I am."
So, what’s to know?
Minchin plays the piano with the best of them, writes darkly humorous lyrics, mixes in stand-up comedy and generally works the crowd with seemless charm. In Las Vegas, in addition to "So F–king Rock," he performed "Inflatable You," "Rock ‘n’ Roll Nerd," "Palestine Peace Anthem," "Dark Side" and "Canvas Bags," plus a quick encore.
Here hear is a video to get you acquainted with Mr. Tim Minchin: