Born in Western Australia, Tim Minchin, 44, began his career as a comedian, winning the 2005 Perrier best newcomer award at the Edinburgh festival fringe. In 2009, the Royal Shakespeare Company commissioned him to write music and lyrics for a stage adaptation of Roald Dahl’s Matilda. The musical has won more than 90 international awards. Minchin cowrote, and stars in, the Sky series Upright, and has released a single, I’ll Take Lonely Tonight, from his forthcoming debut album, Apart Together. He is married with two children and lives in Sydney.
When were you happiest?
Maybe when my wife Sarah and I were walking back to our hotel in Covent Garden, London, through the snow after the Olivier awards when Matilda won all the stuff. Hold on, I’m meant to say the birth of my children, aren’t I?
What is your greatest fear?
The idea of my kids becoming ill, mentally or physically.
Which living person do you most admire, and why?
Ruth Bader Ginsburg. Maybe if we all admire her hard enough, she’ll live beyond this incredibly disturbing era.
What was your most embarrassing moment?
I tried to do a bit of standup in my year 9 English class. It was mortifying and I didn’t try again until I was 29.
What would your superpower be?
I would be able to instantly transfer into your brain the visceral feeling of what it’s like to have lived someone else’s entire life.
What makes you unhappy?
Social media. More specifically, how unthinkingly we dehumanise one another.
If you could bring something extinct back to life, what would you choose?
The notion of empirical truths.
What is your most unappealing habit?
Having a few wines and talking in longform at dinner parties.
What is the worst thing anyone’s said to you?
Probably faggot, a lot.
What is top of your bucket list?
Buy a new bucket.
What is your guiltiest pleasure?
Snorting ground rhino horn off the carcasses of baby dolphins. Or Abba’s Greatest Hits.
What do you owe your parents?
What or who is the greatest love of your life?
The kids are the things I love most in the world. Sarah is the love of my life, but if there was a train coming and I had to chuck one of them under the train, I’d chuck her. That’s the weird thing, you take the person you love most and get them to have a kid with you – and suddenly they get dethroned.
What does love feel like?
Anxiety, mostly, once you have kids.
If you could edit your past, what would you change?
I’d take back some dumb shit I said when I had no audience and found that being shocking made people laugh.
How often do you have sex?
Couple of times a week, which is pretty good after 27 years.
What has been your closest brush with the law?
Nude run, Matilda Bay, 1996. University silliness. The cops just gave us a lift home in the end.
What is the most important lesson life has taught you?
It’s all luck.