What I would like to do here is play it cool. So I am not going to tell you about the development of any sort of massive crush, the compulsive purchase of all of his DVDs, finding other versions of songs on YouTube (“these lyrics reference Australia, but those lyrics reference the UK!”), tracking down a copy of the documentary that charts his early career, or standing outside a theatre for ages waiting to meet him for a quick hug, photo and his signature on my programme.
It's a massively unoriginal comparison to say that comedy is the new rock'n'roll. And patently untrue – rock isn't going anywhere, comedians such as Ricky Gervais and Michael McIntyre manage to be successful without any type of rock star sheen (no comment, here, on their material, just their presentation and demeanour).
And yet. In the years before discovering Tim Minchin (BDTM) do remember complaining loudly and often that I was bored of contemporary pop and rock stars. There have been some since who have proved me wrong, and I may just have not been paying enough attention. But a part of me, the part raised on Bowie and Madonna and Boy George and Adam and the Ants, believes and still does that if you are a star, if you take to the stage, then you should make the most of that opportunity to be flamboyant and creative and have fun.
I wasn't seeing it in any of the musical stars that made it onto my radar, but I was seeing it in some of the comedy I was watching. I wasn't sure if it was a sign of something changing in me or the outside world that the intense fixations I had for bands in my teens were suddenly being transferred to comedy acts. Actually, now that I think of it, musical comedy acts. Maybe I just lost the patience for the posturings of rock without any self-awareness or parody.
The Mighty Boosh. Flight of the Conchords. Bill Bailey. All acts I would happily pay big chunks of
money to see live. With the exception of the Boosh. Not now. A few years ago, sure. And I did, before the whole thing got so wanky that there was no saving it. I even went to the music festival they put on and curated. That was an absolute clusterfuck, and a story for another time.
I am used to having conversations about role models for young women, but not so much for young men.
So what gives him this appeal?
Before I analyse it too much I would just like to keep things superficial for a moment and give a massive 'hurrah' to the fact that he is ridiculously popular and that men as well as women seem to like him (I find that more of the straight and bi women are attracted to him than the gay and bi men I know, but that could just be my friends). I am used to having conversations about role models for young women, but not so much for young men. Anyone being intelligent, thoughtful, nuanced and funny and also popular has to be a good thing.
And on an utterly superficial note, if his popularity leads to more men walking around with long hair, layers of eye makeup and ridiculously tight trousers on, I won't be complaining.
So it's all of that. Plus an earned arrogance which is matched by sending himself up at regular intervals – something he has always done.
And he plays some mean piano.
So let's end with a song that he announced he will soon be retiring. Today is the last day it can be played, really. Or maybe it will prove adaptable.
PS. My second favourite act tonight was Sara Pascoe. She doesn't sing but she did make me laugh like a drain. Check her out.