|Born||David James Gorman
2 March 1971
Stafford, Staffordshire, England
|Occupation||Author, comedian, television presenter|
David James "Dave" Gorman (born 2 March 1971) is an English author, comedian, and television presenter. He has performed comedy shows on stage in which he tells stories of extreme adventures and presents the evidence to the audience in order to prove to them that they are true stories. He was a stand-up comedian before he became famous for Are You Dave Gorman?.
Gorman took a break from stand-up to undertake a sponsored hitchhike around the pacific rim countries. He began and ended this journey at the district municipality of Ucluelet on the Ucluelet Peninsula in Canada. He returned to stand-up in 2009 with a show called Sit Down, Pedal, Pedal, Stop and Stand Up whose unique feature was that he cycled 1,563 miles from the southernmost point of Great Britain to the easternmost to the westernmost and then to the northernmost, with a gig following each night.
Gorman was born in Stafford, Staffordshire, the son of Derek Gorman and Fay Collins, who are now divorced. He attended Walton High School. He studied mathematics at the University of Manchester, but never graduated.
Before his solo successes, he was in demand as a writer, having co-written three series of The Mrs Merton Show, as well as writing for many other television series in the UK, including The Fast Show. In 2003, he was listed in The Observer as one of the 50 funniest acts in British comedy. As a producer, Gorman contributed to two series featuring Jenny Eclair; as a writer he contributed to The Mrs Merton Show. His other writing credits include Harry Hill and Steve Coogan.
Gorman's first one man "documentary style" show was entitled Reasons to be Cheerful. Billed as "a ninety minute show based on a four minute pop song", it was based on the song "Reasons to be Cheerful, Part 3" by Ian Dury and the Blockheads. The show examined the song's lyrics in detail, with a view to establishing whether or not each of the items listed in the song was really a reason to be cheerful. The visual aspect of the show was provided by each "reason" being illustrated by one of a collection of second-hand slides that he had accumulated for the show. The show was first performed at the 1998 Edinburgh Festival Fringe and toured theatres afterwards.
His second full length show, Dave Gorman's Better World, was first performed in Edinburgh in 1999. For the show he wrote anonymous letters to thousands of local newspapers and asked the public to suggest ways in which one man could make the world a better place. He then attempted to carry out their suggestions in order to determine their efficacy.
Gorman shot to fame following a drunken bet with his flatmate Danny Wallace. The bet was thus: Gorman claimed that he shared the name "Dave Gorman" with the assistant manager of East Fife F.C. and that there must be "loads" of others around. Danny disagreed with him, so the two travelled to Methil (about 450 miles from London), with a Polaroid camera, to meet the assistant manager, whose name was indeed Dave Gorman. The bet soon evolved into a monster: on the way to meet Dave Gormans numbers 4 and 5, Danny decided Gorman must meet one for every card in the deck (including the Jokers). His quest to meet this target was described, highlights including five people changing their names by deed poll (two of whom were women), and a trip to New York that resulted in failure when he discovered the man he had gone to meet was not Dave Gorman, but B. David Gorman and therefore was ineligible. The American journey also included a meeting with an actor who had played a character called David Gorman, the validity of which is hotly contested in the book.
His second television series, broadcast on BBC Two, was entitled Dave Gorman's Important Astrology Experiment and was based upon the idea of a controlled scientific experiment, although naturally not a serious one. The series had six episodes.
The premise was that it would test whether or not astrology really worked. Over the course of 40 days, he would try to follow any instructions given to people with his star sign in a selection of horoscopes, while his "control experiment" (his twin brother, Nick) ignored them. Each would record the events of each day, and how they fared in each of three areas of life: love, health and wealth. On each episode of the show, Gorman would show footage of the amusing situations he got into by trying to follow his horoscope, and then asked a panel of "experts", agony aunt Denise Robertson (love), GMTV's Dr. Hilary Jones (health) and financial expert Alvin Hall (money), in the studio to assess how he had fared in the three areas. Following an audience vote, Gorman would display on a "happiness graph" the difference between how he and his twin brother had fared that week, and whether it showed that astrology had produced a positive effect, a negative effect, or no significant effect at all.
The results of the "experiment" showed that his overall happiness, love, and wealth steadily began to recede over time (especially wealth as he was forced to travel excessively). Throughout the experiment, he had numerous adventures, including travelling to New York to meet a long lost friend and then leaving a few hours later because he was ordered to spend as much time at home as possible, sharing pizza in a park while dressed in a rubber suit, and reading an illegally acquired pornographic magazine at Sunday lunch in front of his mother.
The most notable stunt he had to perform was standing in Covent Garden on one leg with his foot in a bucket of water, a tangerine in one hand and some breakfast cereal in the other (in a bowl that cost £85 from Harrods), singing the national anthem backwards and balancing three books on his head. This was taken entirely literally from a very odd horoscope by Jonathan Cainer, which Gorman deemed so implausible that he did in fact present the copy of the newspaper which published it in the studio, while noting his suspicion that perhaps the author of the horoscope found out about his experiment and was pulling a prank on him.
Gorman showed that his wealth was rapidly declining, as were happiness and love, until, on the last day, he invested the last of his money to travel to Dubai to watch a golf tournament (the Dubai Desert Classic) and bet on Ian Woosnam, a golfer that shared his birthday (and would therefore share his luck). He emptied his account to travel there and, using his lucky number of the day from each of the 40 days of his experiment to determine how much he should bet, went ahead with the plan. However, he then found out that not only was gambling illegal in the country, but also that his lucky number indicated he should bet 2,903 Dirhams, which at the time was £549. Ultimately, he borrowed the money from his mother and asked her to bet the sum on Ian Woosnam to win the match of the day, as he had been instructed by his horoscope.
With his happiness at an all time low, love scraping the bottom, and his finances in an extremely negative position, the experts, his mother, Danny, the crowd and Gorman himself could only hope the bet would pay off – which it ultimately did at odds long enough to place him not only back at level wealth, but supplying him with twice as much cash as he had started off with. Therefore, he "proved" that astrology works and has made him happier than the control.
In 2003, he toured Britain with a show entitled Dave Gorman's Googlewhack Adventure, and published a book of the same name. It is another true story. At 31 Gorman decided to give up his stupid ways, grow a beard and write a novel. As a result he believes people took him more seriously and a new novel was commissioned. While trying to write a novel for his publisher, Random House, Gorman became obsessed with Googlewhacks when someone notified him that his site had one (Francophile Namesakes), and caused him to travel across the world finding people who had authored them (one of whom turned out to be one of the Dave Gormans he had met in his first adventure). He eventually spent his publisher's advance on the quest, without writing any of the promised novel, and had to create the Dave Gorman's Googlewhack Adventure show to pay them back.
This show was premiered at the Melbourne International Comedy Festival and then went on to sell out for a two week run at the Sydney Opera House's Studio Theatre. It also sold out at the George Square Theatre as part of the 2003 Edinburgh Festival Fringe before embarking on a major UK tour of 75 shows in the space of three months. It won Gorman the award for Best One Person Show at the HBO U.S. Comedy Arts Festival in Aspen, Colorado, an award he had previously won for the show Are You Dave Gorman? He ended up writing a book about his Googlewhack Adventure which went on to be the Sunday Times number one best seller. During his Googlewhack adventure, Gorman had a nervous breakdown, which he discusses frankly in the show.
In 2004, a DVD of the Googlewhack Adventure was released which was filmed at Swansea Grand Theatre. In 2005, Gorman toured the U.S. and performed his Googlewhack show in several cities. While in Los Angeles, he appeared on The Tonight Show, elaborating on his travels and his quest. This tour, in which he stayed at chain motels and experienced corporate America, led him to undertake a road-trip across the U.S. in which he avoided such hotels and corporate petrol stations in favour of family-owned businesses. The road trip was documented as the book and film America Unchained.
He hosts a BBC Radio 4 show called Genius, in which members of the public submit suggestions to make a better world. Gorman and a guest then assess the idea in order to determine whether it qualifies as "genius". One series of five episodes was broadcast between 27 October and 24 November 2005, with a CD of the first series released on 27 November 2006. The second series was broadcast between 7 September and 12 October 2006, with a CD released in 7 January 2008 and a third series between 1 October and 5 November 2007. He has made many references to disliking Darren Day in various episodes of the show.
A pilot for a television version of Genius was recorded on 23 November 2007, and a series was commissioned in the spring of 2008. The series was created by Ali Crockatt and David Scott, and is produced by Simon Nicholls.
A second series for 2010 was commissioned by the BBC. The show broadcast its first episode on Monday 27 September 2010 at 10pm on BBC Two.
On 24 April 2006, Gorman made his first appearance as a reporter (he had previously appeared as a guest on 11 December 2001 promoting Are You Dave Gorman?), in which he was credited as the show's senior new correspondent. On 27 April, he debuted as the host of the show's satirical statistical analysis piece called "Poll Smoking with Dave Gorman". He was the first Daily Show correspondent to have been born in England, and the third Daily Show correspondent to have been born outside of the United States. His most recent appearance on the show was on 5 October 2006. He has also appeared co-hosting a segment called "ConTROVersy" with the Daily Show's other English correspondent, John Oliver, in which the pair calmly and genteelly discussed former UK Prime Minister Tony Blair over tea, parodying American stereotypes of Britons.
Gorman also regularly appeared on the BBC Three show, Rob Brydon's Annually Retentive, a comedy show about the making of a celebrity panel show hosted by Rob Brydon. Gorman is one of the show's team captains. In 2006 he became an occasional contributor on Comedy Central's The Daily Show with Jon Stewart. He also hosts his own radio series, Genius, and his documentary feature, America Unchained, was shown on More4 in February 2008. The book of the series was published in April 2008.
Between 22 October and 5 December 2006, Gorman undertook a coast-to-coast road trip through 17 states from the west coast to east coast of the United States. A book about the trip, entitled America Unchained: A Freewheeling Roadtrip in Search of Non-Corporate USA, was released on 3 April 2008. The rationale for the trip was to discover whether it is possible to travel across the USA without ever patronising any corporate or chain-style businesses ("The Man"). Gorman ate, slept, and filled his car in restaurants, hotels, and petrol stations which were all independently owned.
America Unchained also is the name of an annual campaign spearheaded by the American Independent Business Alliance since 2004 to promote the economic, cultural, and democratic importance of independent locally-owned businesses. A documentary film of the adventure was also made and was aired on the British TV channel More4 on 5 February 2008 and released on DVD on 11 February. In 2007, it won the Audience Award for Best Documentary Feature at the Austin Film Festival.
Gorman's journey started in Coronado, California and ended in Savannah, Georgia, and he was continually challenged to find independently owned gas stations, as well as repairing the car itself – which broke down surprisingly little, considering the age and mileage (124,000 at start).
Gorman was a regular guest on The Geoff Show, having been on a guest on the show three times (and also entering a phone-in competition whilst undertaking the Important Astrology Experiment), while he also had weekly interviews on Geoff Lloyd's Hometime Show to discuss his bikeathon during his Sit Down, Pedal, Pedal, Stop and Stand Up Tour. He filled in for weekend presenter Frank Skinner for thre weeks during the summer of 2009. The station subsequently announced that he would have a full-time show; his first show aired on 11 October, with Gorman joined by Danielle Ward and Martin White. White left the show in April 2012, to be replaced by Michael Legge. The show ended on 18 November 2012.
Gorman has performed numerous times as a stand up earlier in his career but more recently, on 30 August 2009 he began a 32-date tour called Sit Down, Pedal, Pedal, Stop and Stand Up. The tour saw him covering the extremes of the British mainland as he cycled from Britain's southernmost point to its northernmost tip, taking in the most easterly and westerly points along the way and performing each night of the journey.
In 2010, Gorman performed a 37-date tour as an extension of his 2009 Sit Down, Pedal, Pedal, Stop and Stand Up Tour. About this show he says: "I won't be cycling to these. Same show, fewer blisters." On 12 July 2010, he performed the show again – twice in one evening – at the Bloomsbury Theatre in London, which was recorded for a future DVD release. Prior to the recording, Gorman performed the act again as The Warm Up Show at four small venues in the UK in order to freshen his memory.
Gorman appeared on two episodes of Have I Got News For You, including the famous episode aired in the week where news of host Angus Deayton's scandal involving prostitutes and use of illegal drugs broke. He also appeared in one episode of sport comedy quiz They Think It's All Over. Gorman also appeared on episode nine on the A Series of QI with Jo Brand and Jeremy Hardy, in which he won. He appeared again in 2011 in the I Series, winning again. Gorman was a regular alongside Geoff Lloyd on Virgin Radio's The Geoff Show, also appearing on the same presenter's Hometime Show, following the station's rebranding as Absolute Radio, before Gorman joined the station as a presenter himself. He has made many appearances on Channel 5's The Wright Stuff. Gorman has appeared on several episodes of Radio 4's Just a Minute. He has listed among his ambitions a wish to become a captain on the quiz show Call My Bluff. He appeared as a guest on the Frank Skinner show Opinionated on 23 April 2010. In 2001, he appeared on Absolutely Fabulous (for one episode), as Rimmer, a photographer in season 4 episode 3 ("Paris").
Gorman was also the 'Curator' for John Lloyd's BBC Radio 4 series Museum of Curiosity in the fourth series, as well as standing in for Jon Richardson in for one edition of the third series after the latter was left stranded due to the volcanic eruption of Eyjafjallajökull.
When Lee Mack appeared on a Who Wants To Be A Millionaire? celebrity special on 3 January 2012, Gorman was the phone-a-friend to whom Mack turned, successfully identifying Carte Blanche as a James Bond novel.
Gorman has two older brothers, Jonathan and Richard, and a fraternal twin called Nick. He married his wife Beth in October 2010. He is a pescatarian. He lists his hobbies as photography, cycling, rock balancing, and playing poker and darts. Staffordshire University awarded him an honorary doctorate in 2006. Gorman was a guest in an October 2010 episode of Soccer AM, where he revealed that he is a Liverpool FC fan.
In his stand-up show Dave Gorman's Powerpoint Presentation that he launched at the 2011 Edinburgh Fringe Festival, Gorman states that he is an "atheist from a Christian background". However, he is frequently incorrectly assumed to be Jewish; for example, the Jewish magazine JLifestyle includes him in a list of "literary Jews".