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David Mitchell: Back Story

Written by: David Mitchell
Narrated by: David Mitchell
Length: 9 hrs and 27 mins
5 out of 5 stars (38 ratings)

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Publisher's Summary

Shortlisted for: Biography/Autobiography of the Year – Specsavers National Book Awards 2012

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 listeners say about David Mitchell: Back Story

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An interesting book by an interesting author

I have always enjoyed watching David Mitchell on panel shows and his sketch shows were always great. now it turns out he's also a great author.

1 person found this helpful

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Adored!

Loved this journey! Laughed (and cried)... then immediately bought the next book. Like an old friend, finally opening up to you after a few glasses of wine. 🧡

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  • Delia
  • 2013-08-30

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.

12 people found this helpful

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  • Joshua
  • 2014-08-15

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 people found this helpful

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  • Erica N Flynn
  • 2013-06-21

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.

8 people found this helpful

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  • Patty McGee
  • 2012-10-21

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 people found this helpful

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  • Kim
  • 2013-11-11

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 people found this helpful

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  • Ben
  • 2013-10-31

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 people found this helpful

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  • Melissa
  • 2013-07-17

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.

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  • Steve
  • 2013-01-29

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.

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  • DJ
  • 2018-08-07

Lovely story

I always enjoyed David Mitchell, and this was excellent! Funny all the way through, except the ending, which was heartfelt instead. I wish there were more David Mitchell selections available! This was awesome!

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  • Karen
  • 2018-03-12

Great!

I have been a fan of almost everything Mitchell and Webb for years, and was thrilled to read David Mitchell's book. He is a truly lovely man, and his book was lovely, as well. I was literally in tears at one point. A humorous and touching book!

1 person found this helpful

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  • Dominika K
  • 2019-08-02

For the lovers of good writing

David throws words around like an accomplished juggler - you end up being unashamedly entertained with the way they fall. Together with his non-PC storytelling and honesty, it makes for a great listen. I enjoyed it thoroughly.