I’d have ended up as a teacher if I hadn’t met Frank Skinner...
Comedian Dave Gorman, 47, chats to MARION McMULLEN about life, laughter, and the importance of taking a dartboard and a reliable laptop on tour
How did you go from studying maths at university to comedy? (Laughs) I MADE one big leap. I always used to go to comedy gigs and there was an Amnesty International tour going around to a lot of universities with people like Jo Brand and Frank Skinner on it.
Frank Skinner loves comedy and he was running a workshop for people interested in doing it. I remember it was £2 for the workshop with the money going to Amnesty International.
I had never said anything about wanting to do comedy to anyone, but my friends were like ‘mate you’ve got to do it’.
Three of them frogmarched me out and put me on a bus and made me go. Henry Normal, who later set up Baby Cow Productions with Steve Coogan, was also on the tour and he came along to the workshop and got me my first – unpaid – gig for charity three or four days later.
It was a very lucky start and I promptly dropped out of university, I abandoned that at the drop of a hat. This was so much more fun.
What was your original career plan?
I NEVER had a career path, but I may have ended up being a maths teacher. It has been pointed out to me that on stage I do show all my workings out on the board and how I got to my conclusion. It’s something the maths teacher programmed all of us to do.
How has your With Great Powerpoint Comes Great Responsibility point tour grown?
BECAUSE people kept buying tickets. I’ve not been touring for four years because of Modern Life Is Goodish on Dave. It took nine to 10 months of the year and was intense work. There was no time to tour.
We put a few dates out to test the water. We started with 26 dates and now it’s 61.
Is there one thing you always pack for a tour?
MY dartboard. The best part of touring is the time you are on stage and the worst part of touring is the time waiting around to go on stage.
I know a lot of people have computer games in their dressing room to kill the hour before a show because it can be so boring, or some people who are throwing up before a show because they get so nervous.
I spend so much of my life looking at a computer screen that I have a dartboard that I strap on the back of door frames and play for an hour beforehand to clear my head.
How would you describe the show?
PEOPLE see Powerpoint and think offices and ‘how boring is this going to be’ – the sales figures for the first quarter and stuff like that? They also say never use more than 20 slides. (Laughs) I use 25 in the first three minutes and in the whole show there are something like 700 to 800 slides.
It’s very snappy. And there will be no questions or surveys at the end. People can relax.
Are there ever any technical problems?
I ALWAYS have back-up. I always have a way around it if it does go wrong, but there’s never been a problem.
Many people who have laptops on stage use their personal laptops that they use for emails and everything and those will slow down and get a bit glitchty. I have two stage laptops that are never allowed to go near the internet. They only exist for the theatre.
Will you get home much to see your little boy Eric while on tour?
I’M hoping to get home two or three nights a week. It’s in contrast to last year when I was working 100 hours a week, every week, often in a shed at the bottom of the garden.
I spent so many years not planning more than six months ahead then Goodish came along and during the first series they commissioned series two and three and I was planning two years in advance. But then it came to the point when I thought ‘I can’t keep doing this. I’m knackered.’ The TV producers were brilliant about it. We’re kicking around an idea for a show, but we’ll see what happens.
You used to feature shop pun names in your TV show.
I WISH I could get it out of my head but there was a hairdressing place in Birmingham called Salon Le Bon.
There was also a mobile kebab place called Jason Doner Van and a carpenter’s shop called Chisel Me Timbers.
I think my favourite was a fish and chip shop called The Codfather 2. (Laughs) I think it’s the ‘2’ bit that I like best.
Not just naming your shop after The Godfather, but naming it after the sequel.
Dave Gorman has had to extend his sell-out tour With Great Powerpoint Comes Great Responsibility