“I’M a sceptic. But don’t take my word for it. Or indeed anybody’s. For anything…” This is the basic premise of Mitch Benn’s new show, Don’t Believe A Word.
He says he wants to make his audience think as well as laugh, of course.
“It’s my scepticism show,” explains the star of Radio 4’s The Now Show. “It’s about figuring out what’s true, what’s not and how to treat them accordingly.”
Naturally, this could lead matters into some fairly contentious areas, as Mitch explains: “There’s ranting about religion and all sorts of other stuff: my own stupid habits and how you become liable to thinking something is true, even after you know you’re wrong. The basis of human error, I suppose.”
He says it’s based on truth, like his previous show, Mitch Benn Is The 37th Beatle, which featured comedy songs modelled on the sound of the Fab Four.
“The Beatles show was really well received so this set out to be a bit of a follow on from that,” he adds. “I thought to myself ‘What made that show great? I’m Beatles obsessed, so that was a start, but I put a lot of thought in to the content.
“I felt that it makes sense to go with things you know about, so I thought, ‘What else do I waste my time on?’ I’m always getting
in Twitter arguments with religious nutcases so that provided a basis to work from… it’s contentious territory. I really hope they don’t turn up at the dressing room with a knife now!”
As with the previous show, this one will include a few tunes in the performance (along with a dance routine!). Mitch says recording an album of his songs is a distinct possibility in the future. After all, he is not afraid to diversify and is already the author of two sci-fi books, Terra and Terra’s World.
“An album might yet happen,” he muses. “The thing about the internet is that an artist can put out a download-only album which is maybe a radical departure from their usual stuff – at no great risk. If people want it, it’s there. If they don’t, you haven’t wasted any money printing it up.”
So, there could be a bright future for humorous songs?
“I think so, yes,” suggests Mitch. “There’s lots of talent out there too. Jay Foreman is a terrific comic songwriter, and keeps getting better. Laurence Owen’s new stuff is amazing. Pippa Evans… in London my band and I run The Distraction Club, which is an all musical comedy night. It’s great finally getting to see lots of new musical comics as they tend to keep us apart on the club circuit.”
Mitch Benn brings Don’t Believe A Word to G Live in Guildford on Saturday (7 May).