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Mitch Benn is a large Liverpudlian comic, musician and impressionist, best known for performing song parodies and ditties about the world around him on various BBC Radio comedy programmes.
Mitch Benn was born on 20 January, 1970 in Liverpool. He was educated at Dovedale Primary School1 and The Liverpool Blue Coat School before going to the University of Edinburgh. As so often happens, it was at university that he really got into comedy, joining the Improverts improvised comedy troupe.
After cutting his performance teeth in Edinburgh, in 1996 Mitch moved to London and quickly established his credentials on the comedy club circuit, also becoming a favourite on university campuses. Since then Mitch has created songs for many well-known satirical radio and TV shows, including BBC Radio 4's The Now Show – which he has been contributing to since 1999 – and It's Been a Bad Week, and occasional pieces for the Channel 4 series Bremner, Bird and Fortune, starring fellow satirist and impressionist Rory Bremner and professional 'Grumpy Old Men' John Bird and John Fortune. He has also created and starred in The Mitch Benn Music Show for BBC Radio 7 and Mitch Benn's Crimes Against Music for BBC Radio 4, of which there have now been three series.
He frequently tours the country and occasionally finds time to put on a show for the Edinburgh Festival Fringe2. His 2007 show was unusual in that it was a straight stand-up performance, two hours with an interval, which he toured for the rest of that year3. There is slightly less frequency, however, to his updating of the podcast on his website which occurs randomly at best.
In 2003 Mitch formed a band known as The Distractions, consisting of Kirsty Newton, who plays guitar and keyboard and acts as a backing singer, and a drummer, initially Tash Bayliss, later Milo McCabe and now Ivan Sheppard.
Officially Released Singles and Albums
The albums released by Mitch Benn include:
- The Unnecessary Mitch Benn
- Radio Face
- Too Late To Cancel
- Crimes Against Music
- The Official Bootleg Edinburgh 20074
- Sing Like an Angel
- Where Next?
He has had two officially released singles, 'Everything Sounds Like Coldplay Now' - which was not a great success but at one point it was number three on Amazon, so Mitch prefers to refer to that chart over the others - and more recently 'Sing like an Angel' from the album of the same name, featuring Rick Wakeman on the piano, which was released on iTunes.
Some of the more interesting songs he's written include 'Not Everybody Has to Imagine', a look at the hypocrisy in John Lennon's hit5, 'Rubbish', outlining how no one really knows that much about anything and it would be better if we just admitted this, 'My Name Is... Macbeth', telling the story as Shakespeare would if he were alive today, as a Eminem-style rap song, and a rock opera in the style of War of the Worlds, but based on a much shorter book, due to time constraints. The book Benn chose was 'The Very Hungry Caterpillar'!
Mitch is also an impressionist and is known for his alarmingly accurate impersonation of a Dalek6.
'King of Twitter'
During the summer 2009 series of The Now Show, Mitch performed a series of songs about Twitter, after he realised that if everyone listening to The Now Show were to follow him on Twitter he could overtake Stephen Fry as 'King of Twitter' (one of the users with the highest number of followers on the site). This went on for the entire series with only one or two weeks where he didn't mention Twitter. On the last episode of the series, he wrote a song about a dream where he saw Fry telling him to stop being so childish and get on with other things, which included lines spoken by Fry himself.
Also in 2009, Mitch was commisioned to write and perform several songs about topical issues for the BBC consumer advice programme Watchdog. They were as follows:
- Episode 1: 'Virgin Bills Dead People'
This song was about the story that several customers of Virgin Media were given bills after the account holder's death, even though the family of the deceased asked for their service to be discontinued.
- Episode 2: 'The Yellow Light Of Death'
This was about Sony demanding a lot of money for broken PS3 consoles for a problem which can be easily solved for next to no cost, since Watchdog managed to fix 15 consoles using the same technique of gently heating the motherboards. This causes the solder to melt and fix broken linkages.
- Episode 4: 'How Much Will it Cost Me, Ryanair?'
This song was prompted by the story that Raynair had introduced a charge for checking in for a flight at the airport.
More About Mitch
For more info, visit his website.