herald

Thursday 19 October 2017

MAKING US LAUGH ONE SLIDE AT A TIME

DAVE GORMAN

I have the greatest Dave Gorman photograph ever on my phone. But I won't tell you what it looks like. Let's just say that it involves a clever backdrop, and that Dave himself orchestrated the entire set-up for his audience. Sort of a way to keep them from messing about with their handheld devices throughout the rest of the show. Smart man, Dave Gorman. He knows a thing or two about pictures himself.

Indeed, the bearded Englishman has been known to travel far beyond the call of duty for the sake of his craft. Sometimes, a little too far (the popular documentarian and comic once hit the road in search of other blokes called Dave Gorman, turning the experience into a stage show, a TV series and even a book).

Dave uses PowerPoint presentations. These days, all he needs is a laptop. Years ago, however, he relied on slides. And there are more than 20,000 of them in his attic. He has a picture of his collection to prove it. Pictures of the actual pictures, too, most of which are of strangers (he got into the habit of collecting images of people he'd never met).

INFORMATIVE

A former maths student-turned-comedy writer and producer-turned-stand-up and TV favourite (Dave has more or less a permanent home on the Dave television channel), Gorman keeps things tight and breathless, breezing through one of the most informative and entertaining scripts in British comedy. It's practically a lecture, with music and poetry.

"If you're happy and you know it, clap your hands" sings Gorman (43), reading between the lines and designing a 'happy graph' so as to get behind the real meaning of the classic children's song. Ah yes, there are lots of graphs. Photobombing; selfies; mums who haven't yet figured out Twitter - it's all up for discussion. Gorman also dives head-first into the world of online comment sections, collecting his findings on, say, news articles about the Pope, and creating what he likes to call 'found poems'. And they are truly glorious.

Observational comics are supposed to say what we're all thinking, but Gorman has made an art form out of digging deeper and picking apart the obscenities of modern life through actual research and analysis. It's an inventive approach, but his greatest talent is that he is naturally funny, with effortless comic timing and delivery. Dave Gorman gets straight to the point, all right. He's also a deadly teacher. HHHHI

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