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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

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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.

    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.

    2 of 2 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.

    1 of 1 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.

    1 of 1 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.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Erica N Flynn Tallahassee, Florida 06-21-13
    Erica N Flynn Tallahassee, Florida 06-21-13 Member Since 2011
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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.

    1 of 1 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.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Mano 10-19-14
    Mano 10-19-14 Member Since 2014
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    "Brilliant"
    Where does David Mitchell: Back Story rank among all the audiobooks you’ve listened to so far?

    Of the few audiobooks I have listened to, I have found this to be by far the greatest.Mitchell's honestly and openess, in combination with his dry humour makes this book an treat to listen to.For the price of a round of drinks you would do well to take on the life lessons of people like Mitchell.


    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    flossdaily Bayonne, NJ, United States 08-15-14
    flossdaily Bayonne, NJ, United States 08-15-14 Member Since 2011

    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.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    charlotte christchurch, New Zealand 04-09-14
    charlotte christchurch, New Zealand 04-09-14
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    "One of the best books I've have read all year!"
    Would you listen to David Mitchell: Back Story again? Why?

    Yes, and in fact I have already listened to it twice, it is very enjoyable. I find David Mitchell to be a fascinating and humorous person, and I have greatly enjoyed listening to him tell the story of his life.


    What did you like best about this story?

    I think he has related the story of his life very well and made it very funny.


    Which scene was your favorite?

    it's all good


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

    where he talks about how he met Victoria and they got together it was very lovely.


    Any additional comments?

    This book is very funny and enjoyable and I would highly recommend to anyone.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Showing: 1-10 of 15 results PREVIOUS12NEXT
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  • Stan
    Huddersfield, United Kingdom
    10/17/12
    Overall
    "A Total Joy"

    Sometimes, just sometimes, you scan the 'New Releases' section on Audible and you see something pop up that you immediately know that you are going to buy, that you are going to love and that you are going to bang on about to your friends.... immediately!



    This has happened only twice to me - once with the Alan Partridge autobiography, and again with this title. Both are unabridged readings of an original work that you want to read,, read by the only person that you would allow or trust to read the material out loud to you.



    If you like David Mitchell and his style of verbose wit and dry humour, which often manages to be both down to earth and surrealistic at the same time, then you will love this, not least for the fact that he delivers it like he does all of his material - in a natural and fluid monologue.



    My only criticism is that you must be fully awake to appreciate it all, because his delivery is so fast and rich, that you will miss a lot if you are either tired or not paying enough attention, but this is the listener's issue really - not David's.



    I won't spoil any of the fun by discussing the content because that's why you will buy this book, but I will say that you might want to be careful listening to it on public transport, unless you have no qualms about sounding like and looking like a gibbering idiot to people who happen to either be looking your way or within earshot of you.



    I was on a packed commuter train to Leeds when David started talking to me about the vagaries and consistencies of Agatha Christie's characters; Poirot and Hastings, and I had to stop because I was starting to shudder and cry. When he gets your funny bone, he REALLY gets your funny bone.



    Personally, I do not care how revealing or non-revealing David Mitchell is about his personal life, I just love listening to him talk and rant, because he is better at it than I am, and I tend to agree with 99% of what he says.



    Guilty pleasures? (listen to the book and you will find out.)

    22 of 23 people found this review helpful
  • Amazon Customer
    Suffolk
    11/14/12
    Overall
    "Really enjoyable"

    One of my favourite audiobooks so far. The book has a nice balance - part biography, part comic asides, structured around a wander around London. It's perhaps a little shy in places, and I suspect there are some warts left uncovered, but fair enough. DM is refreshingly candid about his desire for success and his pleasure in enjoying it, and if I ever met him it would be nice to clap him on the back and say "well done you". Except he would find that mortifying, and I would be mortified at having mortified him, and he would feel bad about my feeling bad, etc.



    Anyway, the bit about why we should be grateful we don't live in a meritocracy nearly resulted in spittle on the windscreen.

    9 of 9 people found this review helpful
  • sam
    Eye, United Kingdom
    10/14/12
    Overall
    "Superb"

    Mitchell is an incredibly witty man, his misery cheers me up. His book is narrated by himself and is very well read.

    11 of 12 people found this review helpful
  • Marvin
    Lincoln, United Kingdom
    2/4/13
    Overall
    "A funny and honest listen."

    This is another example I think where listening to an audiobook being read, particularly by the author, is far superior than reading it from a book.



    David Mitchell is both very funny and very self-efacing. Not a hint of smugness that some may have expected. He is certainly not complacement and is very quick to say how lucky he is to be where he is.



    However it is the chapter on his now wife Victoria that is particularly poignant. He is so much in love and it is very nice to hear how two very well-suited people got together.



    Oh, and have a streetmap of London handy if you can.



    Another great listen from a funny man.

    3 of 3 people found this review helpful
  • Semer 57
    Suffolk
    11/30/12
    Overall
    "I loved this!!"

    I have never seen Peep Show, but have enjoyed David Mitchell's dry wit on lots of panel shows. I was so glad that he was reading this as you cannot imagine anyone else. I listen in the car and he cheered me on my journeys. Also his paean of love to Victoria Coren was so touching. They seem to be a perfect match. Thank you David.

    3 of 3 people found this review helpful
  • Andrew
    Broadbottom, United Kingdom
    11/29/12
    Overall
    "superb read / listen"

    an insight into the world of a comedy genius and his odd goings on. He's not so different to you and me, apparently

    3 of 3 people found this review helpful
  • John
    Bishops Stortford, Herts, United Kingdom
    11/28/12
    Overall
    "This Man Has Issues!"

    Yes he has issues, but frankly who doesn't! This is a very witty, incisive and elegantly written account / rant of events and related thoughts from childhood through to his professional success. It gets 5 stars on the basis of the excellence of the recounting, including amusing tangental perspectives of the more mundane aspects. Very good!

    3 of 3 people found this review helpful
  • Amazon Customer
    Dublin 2, Ireland
    12/23/12
    Overall
    "Likeable celeb bio"

    David Mitchell is a likeable, middle-class, small c conservative British comedian. I enjoyed his book, in no small part because it's read by the author and I find his voice reassuring (I usually find middle class British accents reassuring, a fact that I find strangely disconcerting.)



    Mitchell grows up the eldest son of two former hoteliers turned polytech lecturers, goes to a small independent school, is accepted to Cambridge, joins footlights, puts in some hard work and becomes a moderately successful and well know comedian. That's the story. It's not very interesting. Mitchell tells it well and I've spent a pleasant weekend listening to it. There.



    The second to last chapter concerns his relationship with Victoria Coren (his then fiancée, now wife). This chapter it has to be said is quite lovely and occasionally adorable.



    I cannot imagine that anyone who doesn't already like David Mitchell would read this book. But if you do, and haven't got anything else on, your expectations will probably be pleasantly met.(

    2 of 2 people found this review helpful
  • T
    Reading, United Kingdom
    8/30/13
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "Honest and Heartfelt"
    Would you consider the audio edition of David Mitchell: Back Story to be better than the print version?

    Extremely well read by a man of more depth than his public persona permits you to see, a absolute joy to listen to.


    Any additional comments?

    Engaging from start to finish, the final chapter was especially moving in his comments about 'Victoria' - now what I expected, an altogether funny, moving and insightful audiobook.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  • Mr. R. J. King
    Cambridge, UK
    4/3/13
    Overall
    "Insightful and enjoyable"

    I loved this book. I'm about the same age as Mitchell and share a lot of his quirks and neuroses, and it was great to hear someone I already admired be as open and honest about his life. The anxiety he feels at the appearance of new email, the relief when it's spam, and his feeling that parties are a largely horrific and hostile environment. Even if you can't identify with these feelings, he portrays them in a funny and straightforward way.

    Mitchell had, by the sound of it, a really nice childhood, and it was nice to hear him talk about it in honest and fond terms, without obviously trying to turn it into something it wasn't.

    I already liked and admired David Mitchell before reading Back Story, and having done so, I'm confident I was right to. This is a really good book.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
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