At Mamamia, we want to acknowledge and celebrate the Australian men who are doing good things and trying to make our country a better place. So we came to you with a list of 100 great Aussie men and asked you to decide Mamamia’s 50 Best Blokes. This week, we’ll be counting down the top ten and announcing who you chose as Mamamia’s Best Bloke on Friday. But before we get to Friday, here’s number six: Tim Minchin.
Even the most dyed in the wool haters of the musical theatre would struggle to suppress a smile on hearing anything written or performed by Aussie comedian Tim Minchin.
His trademark tongue-in-cheek approach to tackling everything from religion to politics to children’s literature makes his work as watchable as it can be cutting.
“Any artist’s job is to look at the world and say something about it,” he told the Big Issue in 2014.
“I certainly take the responsibility of having an audience reasonably seriously. With every lyric I write I’m aware I’m putting ideas into the world.”
Minchin, 40, who now lives in the Los Angeles with his wife Sarah and their two daughters was born in the UK to Australian parents.
He grew up in Perth and has built a career on calling it as it is — and setting it to music. He’s been supremely successful too (his recent adaptation of Roald Dahl’s children’s classic Matilda swept this year’s Helpmann Awards taking home 13 gongs, including best original musical and score, and Groundhog Day is already getting rave reviews) but still considers being “a dad with the best office job in the world”.
“I don’t go for the money; I haven’t got a big house, don’t have a fancy car, don’t buy lots of clothes,” he told the Sydney Morning Herald in February this year. “I’ve got this f—ing awesome wife who I’ve been with since I was a kid, who’s just slightly totally disinterested in the notion of me being special at all, which I know I’m not, but sometimes you can get trapped.”
Tim Minchin and his wife Sarah before the Grammys. Source: Instagram
There is something special about Minchin though, which is why he's so damn loved in Australia and abroad.
Anyone who remains sceptical of the power of the arts in shaping public discourse — or Minchin's voice, for that matter — need only look at his song about Cardinal George Pell, which catapulted to the top of the iTunes charts earlier this year.
Entitled "Come Home (Cardinal Pell)", it was a scathing rebuke of the Catholic church and called explicitly for the Cardinal to return from Rome to front Australia's Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse.
The song delivered not only the simple satisfaction of hearing Pell labelled a "pompous buffoon" for his refusal to deliver his testimony face-to-face with abuse survivors in Australia but also added $25,000 to Meshel Laurie and Gorgi Coghlan's fund, which eventually paid for them to fly to Rome.
"I personally believe that those who cover up abuse should go to prison," he trills in the song. "But your ethical hypocrisy, your intellectual vacuity and your arrogance don’t bother me as much as the fact that you have turned out to be such a God damn coward."
Watch the video here (via Tim Minchin's Facebook). Post continues after video:
The fallout was significant. Minchin was accused of turning the royal commission into a "laughing stock" and derailing proceedings, but has since confirmed he has no regrets — perhaps aside from convincing Pell to 'face the music', as it were.
"I wish the f---er had come back, though, because to not come back shows a massive disconnect with what the survivors need," he said soon after. "They weren't believed, and they need not just to be believed but publicly believed by the institution. And he's the big guy. It's not my fault that he's the big guy."
In life and in comedy Minchin is always on the side of the little guy.
He interrogates institutions, maintains a truly impressive level of cynicism and never fails to make us laugh — no wonder he's on the list of Best Blokes.