the year of David Mitchell

3 januari 2010 | In BBC Comedy | Comments?

David Mitchell is no Eddie Izzard, whose free-floating musings on the history of the world can have you in fits and influence the structure of your thinking for weeks after listening to it. Nor is he a Bill Bailey, whose considerable musical talents were featured in this years ”BB’s guide to the Symphony Orchestra” (The recycling of material from earlier shows, especially the brilliant ”Is it Bill Bailey”, shouldn’t bother anyone. How can you get enough of the Belgian Jazz-version of the Doctor Who theme?). David Mitchell is not a comedian for the big arena. He could not entertain you with an impromptu lecture, or lull you to sleep reading anything loud, like a certain S. Fry (whose tweets will be missed, but the prospect of a second installment of his autobiography has me almost indecently excited). And he does not have the good-natured instant rapport with the audience of a Dara O’Briain (as Mitchell’s refusal to dance even a little on ”the big fat quiz of the year” the other night amply demonstrated).

But David Mitchell was the consistently funniest man during 2009. He is simply molded to fit the all-important comedy quiz show format, and 2009 saw him perfecting his sound-bytes and his trade-mark rants. Perhaps too heavily featured in the podcast ”David Mitchell’s Soapbox” but put to great effect in small doses in episodes of ”Qi”, ”Would I lie to you”, ”I’m Sorry I Haven’t a Clue”, ”Have I got News for you” and ”Mock the week”. He also squeezed in series of both ”That Mitchell and Webb Look” and ”That Mitchell and Webb Sound”, showing that radio actually is the better format for the duo, hosted another series of ”The Unbelievable Truth” on BBC radio 4 and provided consistently interesting, funny and yet utterly common sensical columns in the Guardian. Oh, and there was a new series of ”Peep Show” too, but personally, I find it too painful to watch.

He is certainly not the first british comedian to make a virtue out of being a bit displeased with state of affairs, and being amusingly sarky and witty about it, but in 2009, no one did it more effectively. And his capability to respond to insults should be an inspiration for generations to come.

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