The Lowry’s large Lyric Theatre was at full capacity for Dave Gorman Gets Straight To The Point*(Powerpoint). He’s a comedian that has become a beacon for laughing at the internet age with his show Modern Life Is Goodish. It’s this niche, left virtually untouched by other comedians, which he continues to explore in great depth in this new tour.
First, though, Nick Doody takes to the stage, immediately echoing the audience’s thoughts of disappointment that Gorman is left waiting in the wings. However, his set is mighty impressive, quickly diminishing the initial disappointment as he dives into risky material that he may have had second thoughts about in light of the recent tragedy in Paris. His punchlines are indeed funny, and outbreaks of laughter are frequent, but on this night a disquieting atmosphere was all too prominent.
Doody was clearly aware of the open wounds his material had touched, and part way through the act he paid his respects to the victims and also the humanity prevalent in the crisis, applauding the taxi drivers who turned their meters off, as well as those that opened their doors to offer shelter. Warm-up acts rarely make a lasting impression, but in this show Doody’s heady performance was hard to ignore.
As the stage lights dim after the interval, the speakers begin to blast out ‘If you’re happy and you know it’ which the Salford audience willingly joined in with. Upon conclusion, Gorman appears on stage to then pick apart the pleasant little ditty in his usual irate style, despairing at the absurdity of the lyric ‘if you know it’. Graphs then follow on his screen, each slide becoming funnier as he digs deeper. The humour comes from the audience’s previous blind acceptance of something so obvious, the laughter playing on the audience’s self-deprecation. Gathering an entire audience together on the same page to laugh at themselves like this is a skill Gorman, armed with his trusty laptop, has perfected over the years.
Gorman plays around with life, people and technology; essentially he messes about. He appears to be a kid at heart, but with a head of some kind of internet guru. His show mainly comprises of material gained from exploring the online world and abusing its growing input in society through ingenious stunts. It’s this need to be plugged into the internet which he draws on when confidently stating that his audience feel the need to photograph the show and share it online. 15 seconds then follow in which he permits photos with a background image of ‘No Photographs’.
During the first half of his set he stands aside his audience to laugh at the ridiculousness of Google searches, the misuse of the phrases ‘selfie’ and ‘photobomb’ by the Daily Mail and his mum’s loose grasp of twitter. These segments of the show move swiftly, a satisfying sound effect accompanying each change of slide followed invariably with laughter from the next joke.
The main feature of the show was his unfolding of a prank he played on a colleague of his. Advertising a fake TV show called ‘Kneecap recap’ Gorman, under a different name, asked for wannabe stars to send photos of their knees, providing the email address of his friend. However, the stunt takes an unprecedented twist and Gorman, usually omniscient in the workings of the internet, admits his befuddlement to the story’s developments. Despite the routine being fun and intriguing, it does however drag on too long, with periods of extended description devoid of laughter.
A Gorman show would not be complete without, what he likes to call, a ‘Found Poem’, and this show contains two of them. Starting as a feature on his radio show, his trademark poems are amassed from comments posted under news stories and read alongside classical background music. Gorman picks out the best of an abound selection of unintelligent remarks from keyboard warriors, but it’s his comic timing, emphasis and typography on the screen that really creates the belly laughter.
Gorman in this show is his usual self which brings him much adulation from loyal fans. He nit-picks, he questions and he removes the audience’s blinkers to reveal humorous oddities that are usually overlooked. He crams material in, moving the show on quickly, but never leaving the audience behind all thanks to the giant screen behind him.
Like a hound seeking a scent, Gorman has an uncanny ability to sniff out hidden comedic treats that would otherwise go unnoticed.