Tim Minchin's initial aspirations leaned more toward music and acting than comedy. In his hometown of Perth he completed an Advanced Diploma in Contemporary Music as well as recording an album called Sit with his first band, Timmy the Dog, before moving to Melbourne. In Melbourne he joined a covers band as a keyboardist, acted in the theater, and -- on the side -- performed his own cabaret show for a year and a half. His solo shows contained a fair number of humorous songs simply because he was unable to stay serious while writing them. The crowds these shows attracted were often very small and he couldn't get any journalists interested in covering them. Eventually he decided to take all of the funny songs and put together a musical comedy show in an attempt to get it out of his system so that he could concentrate on serious music, performing Dark Side as part of the Melbourne International Comedy Festival in 2005. He even created a new persona for the show, with dark eyeliner, no shoes, a long coat, and chemically straightened hair, giving him license to act like the rock star he now resembled while also satirizing his own rock star ambitions -- and by extension the manufactured rock star image in general.
Dark Side won the Festival Director's Award and he was asked to bring the show to the Edinburgh Fringe Festival, where it was a surprise success, winning Minchin a Perrier Comedy Award in the Best Newcomer category. A Dark Side album was released that year and he relocated to England with his wife to pursue comedy more professionally, as it had suddenly become far more profitable than any of his other aspirations. This sudden rise to fame was documented by his friend Rhian Skirving in her movie Rock n Roll Nerd (with a score by Jackson Jackson), and in return Minchin provided music for another of her documentaries, The Kindness of Strangers. Minchin's next shows, So Rock and Ready for This?, were even more successful. Both were turned into albums, although there was some controversy over So Rock's use of the N-word in a joke about racism, which he apologetically removed from his live show after realizing the offense it had unintentionally caused. Now it was acting and serious music that he dabbled in on the side, appearing in the Australian movie Two Fists, One Heart and composing music for theater, in between his television and radio appearances as a musical comedian. ~ Jody Macgregor