Tim Minchin Talks Gingers, Religion, Ben Folds, Sperm Banks, Flight of the Concords, and More

Tim Minchin is a rather humble lad. Despite having millions of fans in his homeland of the UK, Australia, and here in the states (not to mention awards up the ying-yang) the 35-year-old piano-playing comedian and musician remains pretty modest about his success.

"I'm lucky to be doing what I'm doing," he says. "I could be doing something terrible, like you know, mining coal or prostituting my body."

It's more than just luck that's caused Minchin's success. Besides an innate skill for banging out piano-pop on the ebonies and ivories, the wild-eyed and wild-haired artist excels at crafting hilariously clever and inventive lyrical whirlwinds laced with satire about contentious subjects like sex ("Inflatable You"), racism ("Predjudice"), and religion ("Pope Song"). The result is a pastiche of Ben Folds and Flight of the Concords (with a little bit of Tom Lehrer mixed in).

Minchin, who will perform at Mesa Arts Center on Friday, recently spoke with Up on the Sun via telephone.

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Benjamin Leatherman is a staff writer at Phoenix New Times. He covers local nightlife, music, culture, geekery, and fringe pursuits.