“When the BBC is dismantled, it will be missed in 45 seconds”


David Mitchell Not a controversial man.He played Mark Corrigan peep show For twelve years he may have had his troubled moments. And Mitchell’s face may circulate forever online via old sketches. It isas team captain for many years do i lie to youthe host of Radio 4 unbelievable truththe star of the Ben Elton sitcom Upstart Crow or columnist observer, he is a master of generous anger and mild intellect. As far as I (and him) know, he has never come close to canceling.

But he clearly thinks deeply about the red line in comedy. I’ll give you a long answer.

“There are very few jokes that are absolutely harmless,” he says. “People laugh when you get close to areas that shouldn’t be mentioned. Back in the music hall, you realize all the sexual innuendo was in a very sexually repressed society.” Just mentioning an area that they feel is controversial is itself amusing to the audience.Comedians push the boundaries because boundaries are where laughter is.They want that laughter. Definitely a place where a lot of comedians get into trouble, we’re moving from an era of considerable comic freedom to an era where people don’t really like it Comedians have to respond to the culture they’re in.”

do you have a joke peep show again that mitchell and web don’t fly now

“Oh, sure. I think it’s an inevitable consequence of society becoming more and more… modest.th Century writing would not have been endorsed by the Victorians. ”

Does he think it’s a loss? “Back when I was a comedian, I could say anything, but people always find ways to be funny. You have to be careful if you’re on the side and against the air.”

Notice how Mitchell says all this without naming the comedian. he is too politeHis relationship with uneasy kindness means it’s funny to see him in authoritarian roles on UKTV’s game shows Outsiderwhich is back for the second series.

David Mitchell in The Outsider Series 2 (Photo: UKTV)

“It makes a difference,” he says. unbelievable truth nobody listens to me The show pairs the comedian for a series of outdoor survival challenges for him. task master,backyard I’m a celebrity Get me out of here! and reconnaissance camp king of fliesalthough the devastating premise is cheerfully kept vague.

“The news isn’t the brightest at the moment, and this is supposed to be an escapist comedy show, so it’s probably best not to think about what went wrong for people to protect themselves in the woods. I guess,” Mitchell reasons.

I think there’s probably room for armed militias and cannibalism in later seasons. “Yes, I will eat my first comedian in ten years.”

Outsider It’s not Mitchell’s first play with the comedic potential of social disintegration. that mitchell and webhis BBC Two sketch show and Robert Webbwhich featured a disastrous game show that takes place two years after “The Event”. Innocent Millions Dead or Dying: An Ironic Reflection on the Post-Apocalyptic Era (with Song).

“That was probably the biggest point of how funny nuclear war could be,” recalls Mitchell. “We were in a wonderful honeymoon period when we thought history would be right and everything would be fine forever. I was born in 1974, so cold warThen when I was 15, the Berlin Wall came down and I was like, ‘Oh, yeah. Justice has been done. It was a very unrepresentative part of historical development.The world is still complex and the overall situation has probably not improved. ”

Mitchell seems willing to talk about everything from the end of communism to the future of sketch shows and the curse of social media. completely. ” in him Observer column, he’s erudite about politics, but only if it’s funny. David Mitchell soapbox Years ago, half the joke was him ranting. “I try not to indulge in cold opinions,” he says. “Comedians seek approval, jokes get approval, but unfunny opinions that the audience agrees with are also approved. It’s captivating.”

David Mitchell currently stars as William Shakespeare in the West End version of Upstart Crow (Photo: Colin Hutton/BBC Picture Archives)

Mitchell doesn’t enjoy the fact that the prime minister is younger than him. “Everyone should have moments like that when they reach middle age. The fact that kids my age have to be in charge of something feels silly. He’s relieved, but Liz Truss and Rishi Snack Neither seemed as enthusiastic about defunding the BBC or privatizing Channel 4 as Boris Johnson. “The positive effects of people’s lack of interest in things have long been underestimated.”

Entertainment should be a cornerstone of the BBC’s defense against attacks from Tory MPs and their press, he says. “When the BBC finally dismantles, it will be missed after about 45 seconds. The problem is that both BBC defenders and critics are focused on BBC News. I don’t think it’s the way people feel, they think about dramas, comedies, nature documentaries, shows that actually air. fun — decades of entertaining shows that were before or after the news. Obviously, a quick return to my job of plugging in this show, UKTV is largely owned by the BBC. It’s part of the tradition of broadcasting something fun, not just a harrowing newscast or an unreliable interview with Princess Diana. ”

No show captures the charm of harmless, silly comedy better do i lie to you, A festival of good intentions that celebrated its 16th year this year. “Now it’s a pre-watershed show,” he says. “When we started it was at night he was on at 10 o’clock and we were saying ‘f**k’ a lot. Putting on at 8.30 without saying ‘f**k’ too much but nothing is lost. It’s great to put on a show that the whole family can see. (Mitchell has a young daughter with Victoria Coren Mitchell.) “It’s warm.”

Political comedy is much trickier, Mitchell says. From 2011 to 2013 he starred in Channel 4’s satirical late night show alongside Lauren Laverne, Charlie Brooker and Jimmy Carr. 10 o’clock live But it never lived up to its potential, and he has a theory as to why. It was a decent show, but it never actually flew because crashes weren’t allowed. I think a slightly more anarchic approach was needed. You have to give them the freedom to not only be more flamboyant, but also more shit. ”

Mitchell now stars as the West End version of William Shakespeare. Upstart Crow, revived from that two-year Covid coma and experienced something of a theatrical epiphany. “I told myself for years that panel shows captured the audience’s attention, but it’s not the same. Theater is a magical space. I am a fool for not taking advantage of the opportunity to do theater before.

TV Show: PEEP SHOW. Comedy starring Robert Webb and David Mitchell.
David Mitchell with Peep Show partner Robert Webb (Photo: Channel 4)

Elsewhere, acting seems less of a priority. His role as a journalist in Michael Winterbottom greedy The underrated sitcom that ‘came from the clear blue sky’ return, reunited him with Robert Webb, but does not seem to return. For the most part, Mitchell will continue to play himself amiable and grumpy.

“I, like most comedians, am drawn to saying the unspeakable,” he says. It’s just frustrating to have so many of them. ”

Outsider Dave’s on Wednesday 16th November at 10pm and streamed on UKTV Play

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