Of Billy Birmingham’s impersonations, Richie Benaud once said the Australian journalist turned satirist “shouldn’t give up his day job.” And despite the devestating vote of no confidence from one of his favorite subjects, things have worked out pretty well for Birmingham, profiled by the Sydney Morning Herald on the occasion of Australia’s rather brutal dispatch of England in the first Ashes test (link courtesy The Corridor).
Richie Benaud is so peeved with Eddie McGuire’s cost-cutting decision to sack the entire Channel Nine commentary team – and hire Billy Birmingham to do all their voices and cover the Ashes series himself – that he forms a band called Richie and Da Boyz who do a remake of Birmingham’s song Marvellous in a bid to get their own back against a man who has forged a career out of taking the piss out of them.
Benaud does a round of radio appearances to drum up interest in the song and when he’s asked to introduce Marvellous, he tries to get all hip and funky and says something along the lines of: “A big hello to all my homos out there.” When it’s pointed out that he probably meant to say a big hello to all his homies out there, he admits: “Yup. My bad.”
Boned! is Birmingham’s first album in five years. It will sell like hot cakes. Or, more accurately, it will sell like all his other The 12th Man albums.
“I’m all over the place like a suicide bomber’s sandshoe,” he tells The Sun-Herald.
The 12th Man’s catalogue stands at almost 2million units sold. Have no doubt about Boned!becoming the biggest-selling album at Christmas. All six previous albums from The 12th Man have reached No.1 on the ARIA chart, making Birmingham the only Australian recording artist to have reached top spot with every one of his releases.
“It couldn’t have happened in any other country,” he says. “We’re a nation of sports nuts and piss-takers and all I’ve done is combine the two.”
“I don’t know what Richie really thinks. It all just started with an idea to take the piss out of Richie saying, ‘Welcome back to the SCG’, and then they throw to an ad break and the idea of him breaking wind, perhaps, as soon as the microphones are turned off.”