David Mitchell’s second solo outing as an author, Thinking About It Only Makes It Worse, is a comedian at the height of his dry witty observational prowess with stances on current events, curriculuae, and common sense.
His first book, Back Story: A Memoir, was all about who he is. This book is all about how he thinks, which for some of us, as a fan of his comedy and appearances on many panel shows in Britain, should come as no surprise.
I was a great fan of his first book and of his comedy. This book is more of that. I was introduced to his dry wit on the British panel show circuit. His guest appearances on classic shows like Q.I. and 8 out of 10 Cats, as well as his team captain duties on Would I Lie To You have prepared me for his humor without ever having heard his actual standup.
Even though he and I are on other sides of the Atlantic, I still get most of the political references in this book, albeit most of my knowledge comes from those aforementioned panel shows.
The best news in terms of recommending this book is that you don’t have to know the players or the game of British politics to enjoy it. If you get lost, there’s another essay but a few pages away that will engage your cerebral cortex.
This is the part where I tell you that I loved the book and that it’s worth your time even if you have no idea who David Mitchell is. I can’t decide, however, if the timelessness of most of these observations is a testament to the brilliance of Mitchell’s brain and comedy or a sad referendum on society that a book published in 2014 is still wildly relevant in many of its observations in 2023.
I can’t lament the relevance of this book, because, well, frankly, a lot of stuff has happened both in Britain and the world since 2014. Perhaps the book’s title is the only answer to this conundrum… Thinking about it only makes it worse.