Stand-up comedy review: Dave Gorman: Modern Life Is Goodish
James R | On 22, Jul 2020
Ask anyone who’s been alive since 2016 whether modern life is goodish and the chances are they’ll say no. No, modern life isn’t goodish at all. Thank goodness, then, for Dave Gorman, whose stand-up comedy series doesn’t dissect current affairs or talk politics, but discusses more important topics, such as Photoshopping, the idea of “guilty pleasures” not being guilty, and – a pet hate of his – home improvement TV shows.
The man who became famous by finding other people with the same name as him has never lost that neurotic, narrow-focused drive and he puts it to fantastic work in Modern Life Is Goodish. Somewhere in the vicinity of Adam Buxton’s Bug, he cues up clips from a range of property TV shows and makes fun of them. Or he tackles such topics as how to store cereal in cupboards without taking up unnecessary space or how to tell the difference between branded and unbranded wheat bisks.
But over the course of each hour, you begin to appreciate just how much effort goes into his gags, which combine audio, video, eggs and more to fantastic comic effect. One superbly put together sequence, for example, compares and contrasts Pixar films and their cheap animated knock-offs, which Gorman improvises into physical comedy.
The result is observational humour, yes, but observation that’s wonderfully overthought; Gorman’s analysis is uniquely specific, more stand-up lecture than stand-up comedy and all the better for it. It’s delivered with his signature brand of endearingly timid anger, which he consistently vents at the end of each set with “found poems”, which distil his pedantry, pessimism and pithy observations into slices of verbal genius.
Part puns, part plaid shirt, and boasting a love of wordplay that’s only topped by his passion for slideshows, Gorman’s TV series serves up a low-key portion of distinctly British hilarity – a credit not only to him but also to UKTV’s Dave, which did the rare thing of giving a stand-up comic a long-form programme to play with for five seasons. Even after working your way through 40 episodes on-demand, this is still the best Powerpoint presentation you’ve ever seen.
Dave Gorman: Modern Life Is Goodish is available on UKTV Play.