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Mitch Benn
MitchBenn.jpg
Birth name Mitchell John Benn[1]
Born 20 January 1970 (1970-01-20) (age 40)
Liverpool, England
Medium Stand-up/singer
Nationality British
Years active 1994-present
Genres Comedy rock
Stand-up comedy
Website http://www.mitchbenn.com

Mitch Benn (born Mitchell John Benn, 20 January 1970) is a British musician of Liverpudlian/Scottish descent and stand-up comedian known for his humorous songs performed on BBC radio.

He has performed at several music festivals, and at the Edinburgh Festival Fringe. His sixth album was released to coincide with his UK tour in autumn 2008.

Contents

Early life

Mitch Benn was born in Liverpool, England. He was educated at the Dovedale Primary School, the Liverpool Blue Coat School and the University of Edinburgh, where he was a prominent member of the Edinburgh University Theatre Company at the Bedlam Theatre and performed in the Improverts improvised comedy troupe. He began his comedy career in Edinburgh in 1994,[1] moved to London in 1996 and quickly established himself as a comedy club "headliner" as well as a favourite on the university circuit. He is married with two daughters, Greta and Astrid (born in November 2005 and May 2008 respectively).

Radio and television

He features on BBC Radio 4 where he has been a regular contributor to The Now Show since 1999, and BBC Radio 2's It's Been a Bad Week (since 2000). He is also an occasional contributor to Jammin' on BBC Radio 2. In 2004 he created his own aptly named series, Mitch Benn's Crimes Against Music on Radio 4, featuring Robin Ince and Alfie Joey; this has now run to three series. In 2005 he started a series for BBC7 called The Mitch Benn Music Show where he plays records of comic songs and invites musical comedians into the studio to perform. He took a small role as Pseudopodic Creature in the Quintessential Phase of Radio 4's The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy in 2005. He regularly appears on BBC Radio 2's Steve Wright Show as the voice of Elvis in the "Ask Elvis" feature.

On television Mitch Benn is currently (September 2009) appearing on a semi-regular basis on BBC One's consumer affairs programme Watchdog.

Mitch has performed stand-up on Live At Jongleurs and The Comedy Store for the Paramount Comedy Channel, as well as two appearances with his band The Distractions (see below) for The World Stands Up (Paramount/Comedy Central). He appeared as "King Wonderful" in the CBBC comedy show Stupid! and has contributed to a couple of "talking head" nostalgia shows; X-Rated; The Videos They Tried To Ban (Channel 4) and Fifty Greatest Comedy Characters (Five). He also contributes occasional songs to Channel 4's Bremner, Bird and Fortune.

Benn regularly plays live shows at clubs and festivals in the United Kingdom, and has toured extensively overseas, including South Africa, Hong Kong and Singapore. In August 2007 he completed a successful run at the Edinburgh Fringe, performing a two hour show, The Mitch Benn Music Club, with The Distractions.[2] He completed his most recent national UK tour in December 2008, the Sing Like an Angel tour, which coincided with the release of his sixth album, of the same name. Mitch Benn tours the UK again during October and November 2009.

Twitter

Benn launched an attempt on The Now Show during its 26th series broadcast between March and April 2009. Annoyed at the fact that only a few people followed him on Twitter, Benn planned to make himself the "King of Twitter" by getting the show's 1.5 million listeners to follow his account and therefore have more followers than Stephen Fry, who he claimed was the current king.[3] Within a week of his announcement, the number of people following Benn more than tripled, from about 1,200 followers to just under 4,000.[4] Later in the same series, Benn performed a song expressing his anger that Coldplay beat him into having more followers than Fry first, making remarks that it was not the band themselves posting messages and that as the band has four members, the number of followers should have been divided by four. Benn also mentioned that some of his followers were worried that he was becoming too obsessed with Twitter.[5] In the last episode of the series, Benn wrote what he claimed was his final Twitter song, which specially featured Fry telling Benn that if he renounced his claim as King of Twitter, Fry would make him "Viceroy of Facebook", which Benn did. Benn also referenced the passing of the one million mark on the site.[6]

In October 2009, "The History Of The World Through Twitter", co-written by Benn and his fellow Now Show presenter Jon Holmes, is to be published by Prion Books.

Together with his wife, Benn runs a Twitter account called "Things Greta Says", where they post any amusing quotes said by their four-year-old daughter Greta. The page currently has over 2,500 followers.[7]

Albums

Mitch has released six CDs to date: The Unnecessary Mitch Benn (1998), a collection of favourite live songs, recorded on a Walkman carried in his pocket at various gigs that year; Radio Face (2002), including material previously heard on Radio 2 and Radio 4; and, with The Distractions, Too Late To Cancel (2004), and Crimes Against Music (2005). The single "Everything Sounds Like Coldplay Now" was released in September 2005 as a taster for the album, hitting the lower regions of the UK chart, and, as of December 2005, the video (see external link) is still receiving heavy rotation on the Paramount Comedy Channel. The Distractions are Kirsty Newton (vocals, bass and keyboard) and (also of Weapons) Tash Baylis (drums). Mitch provides most of the vocals and plays the guitar. As well as releasing material, the band support Mitch Benn for some of his comedy programmes, such as Mitch Benn's Crimes Against Music.

In October 2007, a fifth album, The Official Edinburgh Bootleg 2007 (swiftly dubbed "The Brown Album" because of its mock brown paper cover art), recorded on the final night of his show at the Edinburgh Fringe, was made available exclusively to those who attended his Autumn 2007 tour.

In March 2008, Mitch Benn released the single "Happy Birthday War", to commemorate the fifth anniversary of the Iraq War, with an accompanying video.

The release of his sixth album, Sing Like an Angel, coincided with his autumn 2008 tour of the same name. The title track, featuring Rick Wakeman on piano, was released as a single on iTunes on 1 September 2008. A video was produced to accompany the single.

In October 2009, Benn released his seventh album, Where Next?.

Mitch Benn uses and endorses Line 6 guitars and amplification. His current on-stage rig consists of a Variax 700 (replacing the Variax 500 as seen on the cover of Crimes Against Music) played through a PodxtLive.

Awards

In 1995 Mitch Benn won the Best New Comedian competition at the Glastonbury Festival, and has played there every year since.

In May 2007 he won BBC Radio Merseyside's "Scouseology" award for his work on radio.[1]

In October 2007 he was awarded "Personality of the Year" at the final Cult TV convention

In January 2008, Mitch Benn was listed among the "Scouserati", a list of 365 culturally significant Liverpudlians published by the Liverpool Echo to commemorate the beginning of Liverpool's tenure as the European Capital Of Culture.[1]

References

External links


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