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David Mitchell: Back Story | [David Mitchell]

David Mitchell: Back Story

David Mitchell, who you may know for his inappropriate anger on every TV panel show except Never Mind the Buzzcocks, his look of permanent discomfort on C4 sex comedy Peep Show, his online commenter-baiting in The Observer or just for wearing a stick-on moustache in That Mitchell and Webb Look, has written a book about his life.
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Publisher's Summary

David Mitchell, who you may know for his inappropriate anger on every TV panel show except Never Mind the Buzzcocks, his look of permanent discomfort on C4 sex comedy Peep Show, his online commenter-baiting in The Observer or just for wearing a stick-on moustache in That Mitchell and Webb Look, has written a book about his life.

As well as giving a specific account of every single time he's scored some smack, this disgusting memoir also details:

  • The singular, pit bull-infested charm of the FRP (‘Flat Roofed Pub’)
  • The curious French habit of injecting everyone in the arse rather than the arm
  • Why, by the time he got to Cambridge, he really, really needed a drink
  • The pain of being denied a childhood birthday party at McDonalds
  • The satisfaction of writing jokes about suicide
  • How doing quite a lot of walking around London helps with his sciatica
  • Trying to pretend he isn’t a total **** at Robert Webb’s wedding
  • That he has fallen in love a LOT, but rarely done anything about it
  • Why it would be worse to bump into Michael Palin than Hitler on holiday
  • That he’s not David Mitchell the novelist, despite what David Miliband might think

©2012 David Mitchell (P)2012 HarperCollins Publishers Limited

What Members Say

Average Customer Rating

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  •  
    Delia Canada 08-30-13
    Delia Canada 08-30-13 Member Since 2007
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    "One of the Funniest, Clever Brits around"

    I admit, I already went into this book a little prejudiced in its favour, as I became somewhat addicted to watching David Mitchell on various British Panel Shows. This book did not disappoint. I prefer my comedians to be clever, with witty remarks about interesting subjects, current events etc. I am not really a fan of the Jim Carrey, Robin Williams, Adam Sandler style of humour and this is so far off that style as to be in a different category altogether.
    Mitchell is just so likeable, currently being one of the most popular comedians in Britain. Even when being critical of whatever subject he is currently on a rant about, that you can't help but chuckle, whether you agree or not with his views. I also love his self-mocking admissions of what he sells as his faults, vulnerabilities and weaknesses. He plays up the whole nerd, or dysfunctional loser persona, but in actuality he really isn't at all. He also sometimes pretends to be an arrogant know-it-all, and yet he can't maintain that with a straight face for long, so you know it's all just a funny act. He is such a gentleman, even if he does drop the odd "F" bomb, it comes across more as charming, rather than crass, but even so, you won't find that sort of thing in this book.

    If you are undecided on whether his style would suit your taste, check him out on Youtube with some episodes of "Would I Lie to You" or "QI" and that will give you a good idea of the humour in this audiobook. Or check out his podcasts "David Mitchell's Soapbox." He also has a couple of other series, The Mitchell And Webb show, which is a comedy variety type show and another series called Peep Show, which while funny, is a little darker, with ruder language and situations. Those two shows are a little less indicative of the style of this book and might not be to everyone's taste.

    This book is a mix of biography and just his ramblings on all manner of subjects, told in a very different style, as we are taken on a walk with him around his neighbourhood. It's narrated as though you are out for a walk and a chat with him.
    My only problem with this audiobok was that the few times I listened to it in public on my iphone and headphones, I couldn't help grinning like an idiot, or even laughing out loud, which did cause a few strange looks my way.

    6 of 6 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Amazon Customer 08-15-14 Member Since 2014

    I value intelligent stories with characters I can relate to. I can appreciate good prose, but a captivating plot is way more important.

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    "Hilarious, honest and a bit touching"

    I love the way David Mitchell's mind works. This book is heavily peppered with extremely clever observations, turns of phrase, and all the dry wit that David Mitchell is known for.

    I enjoyed every bit of this book, and I highly recommend it to anyone who is a fan of British comedy.

    4 of 4 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Patty McGee The world at large 10-21-12
    Patty McGee The world at large 10-21-12 Member Since 2011
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    "Extremely entertaining, a Real RollerCoaster*"
    What did you love best about David Mitchell: Back Story?

    I thoroughly enjoyed the overall honesty of the book. I am being asked what I 'loved best' about the book and now after investing near 10 hours listening to it, it is that. I enjoyed so many parts of this book, but the candid nature of the book was most(dare I say) refreshing. It was. *Read book


    What other book might you compare David Mitchell: Back Story to and why?

    The other book I would most compare w/David Mitchell's 'David Mitchell: Back Story'(I am being asked this) would have to be 'Bossypants' by Tina Fey. This is because of obvious similarities in age and industry, along with the fact they are both biographies. My first thought was Outliers by Gladwell. Simply because David Mitchell would fall into the category of an 'outlier' who invested the time over time to become excellent in a field. And be where necessary to benefit from time invested.


    What does David Mitchell bring to the story that you wouldn’t experience if you just read the book?

    I was grateful to have been read the book by the author as opposed to any other talent and least likely myself. Nothing to take away from anyone who narrates their own books, but this man is a performer and has already mastered the art of saying things others find funny.


    If you were to make a film of this book, what would be the tag line be?

    (I am now being asked to make a tag line for a film made out of the book)If you thought he was bookish, unsure around women and wears a 'Hitler' haircut, you might be right about some of those things.


    Any additional comments?

    I found out about Mitchell and Webb just over a month ago from a friend who I am writing comedy with as to something we could strive towards for our own sketches. I immediately became a fan with 'baddies' and have seen half the series, 'Magicians'(Yes, A funny film, as suggested by the author) and twenty minutes of 'Peep Show'. Such a small preview before I watched 'Magicians', not a reflection of the show. I now know more about that first episode and plan to watch more. In case the reader was concerned. All that said, I have become a fan. Of the work certainly and now the journey as expressed by the author. I don't write reviews much, but felt it important to write this one. Especially because I'm certain the author will read it and I would really want to thank him for making all those sketches. 'That Mitchell and Webb Look' is really fantastic and I enjoyed your book as much. Cheers.

    3 of 3 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Kim 11-11-13
    Kim 11-11-13
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    "I like David Mitchell"
    What was one of the most memorable moments of David Mitchell: Back Story?

    The lobster story. It was both hilarious and awful.


    What does David Mitchell bring to the story that you wouldn’t experience if you just read the book?

    He says things in certain ways, and when he read the Robert Webb bit it did not sound like the way Robert Webb would have said that at all. Which is fine, but a perfect example of why it's fun to have the author also read the book to you. You get their intention and emphasis that you wouldn't necessarily get with a professional voice actor.


    Did you have an extreme reaction to this book? Did it make you laugh or cry?

    Yes. I thought it was extremely funny. Especially his childhood. I love British humour.


    Any additional comments?

    I was actually surprised at what a regular guy David Mitchell is. I thought he would be very fussy and very conservative, and maybe that's because I watched a lot of Peep Show and got him confused with his character Mark, but I really wasn't expecting to relate to him so much. His explanation of why he's agnostic, for example, rings true for me.

    2 of 2 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Ben SAN ANTONIO, TX, United States 10-31-13
    Ben SAN ANTONIO, TX, United States 10-31-13 Member Since 2013
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    "Mark Corrigan Tells It Like It Is"
    Would you consider the audio edition of David Mitchell: Back Story to be better than the print version?

    If you're familiar with Mitchell's work, you know that his deadpan voice is a big part of his appeal. Listening to him read his own words definitely gives the cynicism a really humorous edge that doesn't come across as well in text unless you're already quite familiar with him as a performer.


    Any additional comments?

    If you're considering this title, it's probably because you're already acquainted with Mitchell either through Peep Show or That Mitchell & Webb Sound/Look/etc. So speaking as one of these fans, the book delivered exactly what I was hoping it would. Genuinely funny in several places, and just as often thoroughly entertaining.

    2 of 2 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Melissa 07-17-13
    Melissa 07-17-13 Member Since 2012

    American mwf living in Australia.

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    "I really loved this booked- listened to it 3 times"
    Would you recommend this audiobook to a friend? If so, why?

    David Mitchell is funny and the book is touching.


    What was one of the most memorable moments of David Mitchell: Back Story?

    When he talks about falling in love, it was beautiful.


    Which character – as performed by David Mitchell – was your favorite?

    N/A


    Was this a book you wanted to listen to all in one sitting?

    Yes, and listened to it over and over again.


    Any additional comments?

    I didn't expect to love this book, the preview didn't grab me, but I just loved it.

    2 of 2 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Erica N Flynn Tallahassee, Florida 06-21-13
    Erica N Flynn Tallahassee, Florida 06-21-13 Member Since 2014
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    "David Mitchell is David Mitchell by David Mitchell"

    I'm not British & therefore only know who David Mitchell is because of Netflix. He is the sort of person I thought he would be, based on his characters in Peep Show & That Mitchell & Webb look: nerdy, neurotic, & a bit stuck-up at times. What I didn't expect is that he made the decision to go in to comedy at such a young age & that once this decision was made it was final (if I had imagined David Mitchell's back story would have guessed that his life-long dream of becoming an accountant was cut short when a BBC exec saw some posh twit being hit in the face with a pie & decided to give him a show). Back Story is a tale of someone who is normal, but just happens to be famous. David Mitchell went to school, he drank too much, he was awkward with girls, he was an ass to some people, some people were asses to him, he made friends, he drank too much again, and at the end of it all, he grew a beard. Also it's funny. Really funny. Funny in a not-too-British-y way, so it's easy for those of us in the States to enjoy & share with friends without having to apologize for recommending it because someone you recommended it to didn't like it & you're then left secretly thinking that person isn't very smart because they don't get dry British humor, causing the friendship to fall apart, which may not be that bad because when it's all over & done you still get to feel superior because you are obviously the more intelligent one. Not that kind of funny at all. Mostly not.

    2 of 2 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Steve Metung, Australia 01-29-13
    Steve Metung, Australia 01-29-13 Member Since 2010
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    "brilliant"

    I like david mitchell, i like his cleverness, i like his wit and timing, i like his honesty and his ranting on a myriad of subjects. His voice can be a bit grating but is minor compared to the rest. I also like the way he weaved his story around his walk around London.

    2 of 2 people found this review helpful
  •  
    carneyofsteel 03-29-15 Member Since 2015
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    "Enjoyed every second of this book. Love it!"

    David Mitchell, one of my favorite comedians and co-creator of my favorite sketch show ever (I sound like I'm claiming ownership of him here, aren't I?) , has written a book that is in fact the long list of book genres he lists at the beginning but is also what he says it isn't. (I'm not going to spoil it here.) I don't read memoirs often or celebrity gossip stuff at all, but I must confess a curiosity of the lives of those artists (usually comedians) whom I greatly admire. And David Mitchell certainly tops that list and doesn't disappoint with a book written and performed with his brilliantly hilarious and thoughtful voice at full tilt boogie. It's a genuine pleasure, start to finish. Thank you, Mr. Mitchell.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Patrick Ryan Bennett Air Force 02-24-15
    Patrick Ryan Bennett Air Force 02-24-15 Member Since 2013

    Petri

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    "Wonderful"

    Excellent book excellently performed! I'm not usually interested in celebrities' private lives, but this book is funny and charming without being overly personal.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
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  • miss
    2/26/15
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    "Everything I wanted it to be. "

    I have listened to this book more times than I could count, I love his honesty, I think this book is one of the most truthful and heart warming reads. he is just fantastic.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Pocket Earwig
    2/26/15
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    "Sweet"

    Sweet, funny and moving. Well read by the author. Great mix of personal and industry stories. All you could ask for in an autobiography.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Darrin Howe
    2/25/15
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    "Good Listen"

    Really liked the book - very amusing. Even better for me that the author read it.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • KevQuoi
    Emsworth
    2/13/15
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "Engrossing read"

    I was a fan prior to this read (listen?) but after this excellent insight into David's world I respect and admire the chap more so. I wish I could be so candid, honest and eloquent. Regrettably I am none of these things. Thank you for sharing Mr Webb, you're a good man.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • MR
    2/1/15
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    "Brilliant"

    Heart warming, funny, sincere. Amazing insight into the world of showbiz. Makes me want to be Davids friend. Good work

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Jake
    1/5/15
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    "everything you'd hope"

    David Mitchell is just as witty as you'd hope. But surprisingly more like you and me and less a robot than you'd expect.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • luke crocker
    Southampton, Hampshire United Kingdom
    12/2/14
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    Performance
    Story
    "entertaining - its no cloud Atlas"

    As he himself explains right at the start of the book - he is that Davis Mitchell off the TV not the novelist and then as expected ties himself into a knot as clearly this is a book. Mitchell has a defined style that is present in virtually all he has done. If you enjoy the persona he portrays on screen then this walk through his childhood will entertain you as much as it did me.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Lee
    N. Yorks
    9/17/14
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "Very funny and well written"
    Would you consider the audio edition of David Mitchell: Back Story to be better than the print version?

    Yes, David made the book come alive.


    Who was your favorite character and why?

    Defiantly David as he seems to bare all and tell the truth no matter how unbearable or embarrassing.


    Which scene did you most enjoy?

    The Caravan and the Lobster or equally his student years.


    If you made a film of this book, what would be the tag line be?

    Who me? A snap shot of David Mitchell


    Any additional comments?

    Very funny and well written. The book based on his walk around London, genius.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Mr. S. J. Fish
    london
    8/6/14
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "Similar topics to Fry, but better (sorry Stephen)."
    Any additional comments?

    This is such a great Audiobook. I also listened to Stephen Fry's, but this is much better. They both discuss similar things in life, and travel a similar path: Not being cool, not wanting to be cool, Cambridge university, footlights, becoming famous, finding love etc.David Mitchell is far more comfortable with expressing his opinions about things - why he hates a certain part of society, for example. Stephen is far more eager to please, or keen not to offend anybody, and this seems to restrict how well you get to know him. The Fry books are still great, and Stephen is such a great man, but it was amazing to hear the two books back-to-back - how similar, but how different in their approach. David is very far from offensive, he just seems to be more comfortable with writing about what he thinks and feels, whilst making it funny at the same time. The funny bits never seem forced or part of a pretense, he is just a funny man. I listened to it twice.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Gunna
    Iceland
    7/7/14
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "Entertaining and insightful memoir"
    If you could sum up David Mitchell: Back Story in three words, what would they be?

    Funny insightful soulsearching


    Who was your favorite character and why?

    This is a memoir so David Mitchell himself as other people in his life feature only as supporting cast


    Did the narration match the pace of the story?

    Yes, David narrated himself so it was read as it was written, literally in the same voice.


    Was there a moment in the book that particularly moved you?

    His pining over his now wife Victoria and how they finally got together and are happy. Also a oddly moving childhood memory of his parents cooking a lobster in a trailer in France.


    Any additional comments?

    Much recommended listen. Interesting how the author challenges the views and feelings he had at various points in his life

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
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