If you watched the Comedy Proms on Saturday, then I applaud you for giving it a go. It was amazing, not least its host, the ‘maverick minstrel’, Tim Minchin. He stole the show with his mesmerizing piano playing and witty, intelligent, laugh-out-loud songs.
With his skinny jeans, bare feet, ginger back-combed hair and a ton of eye make-up (and very white teeth), you might be surprised to hear me talk of the comparison to Richard Stilgoe – but he is in that vein – just a bit more rock’n’roll.
When we were in Montreal last month we got tickets to watch him (Tim Minchin, not Richard Stilgoe) at the Just for Laughs festival. I’d seen him a few times on telly but had no idea what a talent he is. I might not agree with his views on God (I don’t) but at least he thinks about the things in life that matter. He sails close to the wind but somehow gets away with it because of the depth of his thinking – and that cheeky grin. And the way his fingers move up and down the piano keys – jazz, rock and roll, lullabies… is astounding.
Despite having musical children, our family has always resisted the proms, maybe because my husband grew up in an Irish household where the Union Jack was referred to as the Butchers Apron, and all that xenophobic flag-waving and Rule Britannia nonsense leaves me cold. But I will be tuning in next year if they do another comedy prom – which I am sure they will as everyone I’ve talked to, whether they are musicians or not, got something special from the evening.