May 16, 2012

It really hurts to be told you’re useless

Tim Minchin, comedian, musician and actor was well worth the listen on Desert Island Discs this week.

What stopped me in my tracks as I listened was his incredibly honest reflections on receiving a disastrous review by Phil Daoust in the Guardian as a new-comer to British comedy back in 2005 and especially the insight into the fragility of the human ego.

Michin said:

People are quite contemptuous of artists who are not good at dealing with reviews but I think it’s completely disingenuous because it hurts being told that what you’ve worked on is useless.And I’m probably particularly not good at it. Which is why I don’t read them anymore.

Imagine you had to get up, you the listerner, dear listener, had to get up every night and do a whole lot of jokes that you already know that you don’t find funny any more, write a whole lot of songs that you don’t like the tunes of anymore because you wrote them yourself, sing with a voice that you loathe because its your own voice. These are all normal human things right  to not like your own material.

And someone in a national newspaper, your newspaper, the one you respect and read makes specific criticisms of specific bits in the show and doesn’t say that this could do with work but says this makes this person not deserve to be on stage.

How would you feel at the point, you get to that point in your show that night? How do you get up on stage and get to that joke again with that guy’s words ringing in your head?

It wasn’t the worse thing in the world but it was very, very hard to recover from it.


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