“If you’re happy and you know it clap your hands” intoned Dave Gorman at Birmingham Symphony Hall on Thursday night. In normal circumstances this may have seemed presumptuous as this was the opening gambit of his two hour set. However, and as many of the Gorman devotees in attendance may have suspected, this was merely a preamble to an in-depth statistical analysis of the popular song in graph form via the Stafford funnyman’s weapon of choice, the Powerpoint presentation.
It is a gross understatement to say that this is a man with an inquisitive nature. Previous undertakings have included an expedition to track down 54 namesakes and a globetrotting Googlewhack Adventure. Viewers of “Modern Life is Goodish”, who no-doubt swelled Thursday’s crowd will have been pleased to see many of the elements that make that show so successful in full effect as over the course of a consistently engaging two-hour set Gorman repeatedly challenged the accepted norms and the mundane. In doing so he turned a spotlight on subjects as diverse as Paul Hollywood, selfies and Mrs. Gorman’s knees with a seasoned confidence that enabled him to hold the audience’s interest without the need for scattergun one-liners and the self-assuredness to occasionally let Powerpoint deliver his punchlines.
Gorman demonstrated his love of the lower reaches of the internet in what for many were the highlights of the show, two “Found Poems” lovingly compiled from the comments sections of website news stories. Lacking the usual string quartet, Dave was accompanied firstly by a somewhat reluctant CD and for the conclusion of the show by support act for the evening, Nick Doody. The Yorkshireman had earlier performed an excellent half-hour set of incisive, topical satire and proved himself to be an equally accomplished pianist as the show was bought to a hilarious denouement.
It’s fair to say that when the Symphony Hall crowd spilled out into the cold Birmingham night they certainly were happy, and boy did they know it.
Words: Ian Thomas