05 September 2023

Review: And Away by Bob Mortimer

And Away... by Bob Mortimer book cover

My path to this book began with an unsolicited copy of The Satsuma Complex by Bob Mortimer earlier this year. Unfamiliar with his work, I came across some very funny skits on Would I Lie To You? and decided to give his book a chance.

You'll remember I absolutely loved it, and having instantly warmed to the dynamic between Bob Mortimer and David Mitchell, went on to read Back Story by David Mitchell. I should have left well alone, but the re-runs in my head of Mortimer and Mitchell making each other - and me - laugh kept returning and I imagined they must be friends. I found myself wondering what it might be like to hang out with them and join in on the intellectually stimulating, outrageously funny and cleverly witty merriment. I wanted more!

And Away... is Bob Mortimer's autobiography, and it does what it says on the tin. This is Bob Mortimer's story, including his younger years living at home with his Mum with older brothers, school days, playing football, university days, starting out as a solicitor, first stand up, small gigs and a steadily growing career on stage and screen, despite finding out he's not a good actor.

Mortimer's sense of humour that had me chuckling along in The Satsuma Complex is also here, but reading about working on various radio shows, comedy gigs and TV shows was a little less interesting to me, and I should have expected this. Mortimer doesn't spend much time talking about Would I Lie To You? at all in this outing, which was a little disappointing (for me) but he does include a bunch of stories - a few of which aren't true - just to leave the reader guessing.

Mortimer is a qualified Solicitor with a Masters in Welfare Law, yet I was surprised to find out just how much of a regular, down to earth guy he is. The author seems to identify with the working classes, loves a beer and cigarette at the pub, hanging out with mates and being a couch potato in front of the TV. His love of food was another highlight, but does he really carry cured meat in his pocket at all times?

The author openly shares the health scare which led to open heart surgery, his struggle with depression and his discovery of the meditational nature of fishing. Fans of the show Gone Fishing featuring Bob Mortimer and Paul Whitehouse will enjoy discovering how the show came to be and I really enjoyed this section, despite not being terribly interested in fishing.

The insightful reflections on friendship were the highlight of the autobiography for me, and I listed to the audiobook read by the author which I believe added to the enjoyment:
"For whatever reason, my friendships over the years have been based purely on the quest for laughter. This was different. Nature and silence had tricked me into talking to Paul about everything under the sun. The banks of the river Test had become my therapy couch. Two men talking and helping each other out. It's very refreshing if you've been starved of it." Chapter 23 Upwards and Onwards
After listening to David Mitchell's autobiography and now Bob Mortimer's, I can see these two comedians are from very different walks of life. Their ability to make comedic magic when they work together probably stems from their professionalism and talent, more than the deep friendship of the kind Mortimer shares with Paul. I had no business building the Mortimer/Mitchell bromance in my mind, and the crash down to earth was a rude awakening.

Needing a laugh and something light after reading true crime and historical fiction based on true crime recently, And Away... certainly delivered.

My Rating:

Would you like to comment?

  1. Was really interested as to how funny the book would be as I thoroughly enjoy his yarns on Would I Lie to You. Hopefully I will get a copy and enjoy this book too.

    1. Thanks, I hope you do, and I love his yarns on Would I Lie to You? as well. He's so clever and witty, just hilarious!


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