Dave Gorman

Dave Gorman

Date of birth: 02-03-1971
Dave Gorman started stand-up in 1990, when still a teenager, after dropping out of his mathematics course at Manchester University. But it took five years for him to start gaining recognition, hosting both the Comedy Zone showcase at the Edinburgh Fringe and appearing on Granada's Stand-up Show in 1995. Writing work began to come in, and he worked on Jenny Eclair Squats, The Fast Show and the Mrs Merton Show.

In 1998, he performed his first solo show, Reasons To Be Cheerful, deconstructing the lyrics of the Ian Dury song, which he followed the next year with Better World, in which he asked local newspaper readers how he could improve the world, then acted n their suggestions. This documentary-style show came into its own in 2000's Are You Dave Gorman? in which, egged on by flatmate Danny Wallace, he travelled the world to try to find 52 namesakes.

Are You Dave Gorman? was nominated for the Perrier award, and won the HBO Comedy Jury Award for Best One Person Show at the US Comedy Arts Festival in Aspen Colorado. It was subsequently made into a BBC Two series, The Dave Gorman Collection, and a successful book.

His second TV series, also broadcast on BBC Two, was Dave Gorman's Important Astrology Experiment, a cod-scientific test to see if he could improve his love, health, and wealth over six episodes if he followed his horoscopes. His twin brother Nick, completely ignored the astrologers, so acted as a control.

In 2003, he embarked on another bizarre quest; this time tracking down people responsible for Googlewhacks - web pages that contain a unique pairing of words, so they are the only result returned when you type the phrase into the search engine. The show, which virtually drove him to a nervous breakdown, started at the Melbourne International Comedy Festival, transferred to Edinburgh and a UK tour, and again spawned a bestselling book as well as a live DVD.

Since 2005, Gorman has also hosted the Radio 4 show Genius, in which members of the public submit their brilliant ideas to be put to the test, which transferred to BBC Two in 2009. He has also starred in Rob Brydon's Annually Retentive, a show showing a behind-the-scenes view of a fictional comedy panel game, as himself.

In 2007, he released his documentary feature film, America Unchained, in which he tried to cross America without using chain restaurants, hotels or gas stations. Again, a book accompanied the film.

In 2009, he announced a return to more traditional stand-up - but cycling between the 32 venues in his UK tour.

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Dave Gorman Gets Straight To The Point* (*The Powerpoint)

Gig review by Steve Bennett at G Live, Guildford

Dave Gorman’s been industrious of late, pumping out 14 hour-long episodes of PowerPoint-fuelled stand-up for the TV station that bears his forename in as many months; not to mention a new book, and this very tour, which is very similar in pedantic tone, although different in content, to what’s recently been on the small screen.

That’s an awful lot of material, and this show sometimes has the feel of a man stretching a point as much as getting to it, as the title promises. That is, of course, is an essential part of Gorman’s MO: to strip apart the most minor of inane irritations from the internet era with needless forensic vigour – using graphs if necessary - to make his point more conclusively than anyone could ever want.

Yet sometimes the balance goes too far in favour of overegging the pudding. MailOnline misunderstanding the words ‘selfie’ or ‘photobomb’, for example, seem more suited to a sarcastic tweet than an overblown routine that doesn’t really offer too many unexpected twists. And saying the wrong thing when your partner invites you to suggest a fantasy shag has often been done as a one-liner… which is still the punchline of Gorman’s routine after going around the houses.

He’s better when plucking apart things we hadn’t noticed, such as the logical flaws in the familiar song which opens the show, or when making a slightly more incisive point behind all the frippery. How emoji’s can’t possibly capture the nuance of real human emotion, for instance, gives an edge about modern communication to what would otherwise be a straightforward ‘my mum doesn’t understand Twitter’ routine.

For all his love of technology, Gorman’s got analogue sensibilities too, and gets nostalgic over the thousands of acquired photographic slides he has in his collection, both more tangible and more meaningfully organised than the often bizarre results of Google Image search. A keen photo buff, he’s got mixed feeling about the deluge of pictures now being taken and uploaded every second - but he’s got a very funny answer to those who feel they need to Instagram this very gig.

He’s replaced found transparencies with his ‘found poetry’ - the blank verse culled from the comments sections of news websites which he has made his own. ‘You wouldn’t believe the amount of rubbish I have to wade through to get that,’ he comments after an entertaining few stanzas about Paul Hollywood. But we do believe him, his research is nothing but thorough… and we have seen the bottom half of the internet before.

The web also gives him tools for pranks, and the show ends with an extended routine that kinda targets those desperate to get on TV, but not quite, since Gorman’s too nice a guy to mock the shortcomings of those who have that ambition. It’s a labyrinthine practical joke that winds up with accessions of knee theft – a felon-knee, perhaps it should be called – more enjoyable for the meandering ride than its destination.

There are plenty of laughs across the show, often from Gorman’s perfectly-judged reveals, suddenly altering the tone of a rant, while his well-meaning zeal for the issues he targets, however seemingly trivial, cannot be faulted, and he certainly knows how to share his passion. That would be a big slice in the pie-chart of his appeal, even if there’s a bit too much flannel at times..

Support came from Nick Doody: appropriately geeky for the Gorman gang and with some bitingly funny lines – yet teasing the audience into vacillating between liking him and being uncertain, thanks to his pointedly provocative set-ups.

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Published: 21 Nov 2014


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