Ref NoBSUCA/OD/1/32
CollectionOliver Double Collection
TitleDave Gorman interviewed by Oliver Double
Name of creatorDouble, Oliver, 1965-
Duration52 min. 59 sec.
Extent1 sound disc (MiniDisc) (80min)
1 audio file Broadcast WAVE Format (BWF)
DescriptionDave Gorman interviewed by Oliver Double by telephone, 29th June 2004 This interview was conducted by Double for his book 'Getting the Joke: The Inner Workings of Stand-Up Comedy' (2005)

Summary: [00:04] Phone call begins [00:08] Oliver Double opens by talking about his interest in the fringes of stand-up comedy, such as double-acts, spoken word like Henry Rollins, [00:28] Oliver Double asks Dave Gorman [DG] about his documentary comedies and how his stand-up transitioned into this [00:40] DG answers that it happened by accident [00:50] Oliver Double asks why DG got bored with stand-up, to which DG replies that he found it hard to care about doing a set repeatedly
[01:21] DG talks about doing different shows in Edinburgh [02:27] DG discusses a show he did called Reasons To Be Cheerful, an analysis of the lyrics to the song [02:58] DG describes it as a stand-up show with a set list Ian Dury wrote in 1979 [03:09] DG talks about the idea with his manager [04:00] DG did previews of the show in March
[04:24] DG talks about how he had difficulty finding the lyrics to the next verse of the song [04:41] he goes to the British Library to look for the correct editions of Smash Hits for the lyrics [05:08] DG discusses how telling that anecdote at the preview was funnier than his jokes [05:58] DG says the show became a documentary about the making of the stand-up show and the research he did
[06:56] Oliver Double mentions the obsessional quality to DG’s work [07:15] there were nuggets of that early on and he brings up the maths routine DG did [07:35] DG talks about his two favourite pieces of stand-up he ever did. [08:27] DG says another reason he got bored with stand-up was that he didn’t like the cynicism of stand-up [09:20] he wanted to write comedy about stuff he liked
[09:29] DG discusses the maths routine [09:49] DG bought a book in Waterstone’s called Fermat’s Last Theorem by Simon Singh [11:05] DG wanted to convey his fascination at maths to people.
[11:50] Oliver Doubles asks how DG got into stand-up in the first place. [12:24] it was always a passion of his [12:35] there was Amnesty International tour sponsored by Red Stripe [13:06] Frank Skinner was hosting most of them, Tim Clark, Henry Normal, Jo Brand, Otiz Cannelloni, [13:20] DG did a stand-up comedy workshop [13:57] he wrote John Hegley inspired stand-up poetry [14:12] Caroline Aherne was there [14:35] Henry Normal asked DG if he would do a benefit gig in Salford, and Frank Skinner offered him a gig in Birmingham.
[15:40] Oliver Double mentions a comedy community in Manchester [15:57] DG used to do a new material gig at Band on the Wall [16:38] Caroline Aherne sometimes did characters and sometimes was herself, Steve Coogan did characters, John Thompson did impressions, Bob Dillinger had a guitar, Brute Farce were a double act, Henry Normal was a poet, and DG did stand-up [17:52] DG was amazed at the negative attitude towards open-spot comedians in London, and preferred the supportive attitude and lack of prejudice in Manchester. [18:14] DG passed the Manchester attitude on to people like Chris Addison and Tony Burgess.
[18:38] Oliver Double talks about the Cuddly Dudley club, Caroline Aherne and Peter Hook. [19:07] DG talks about London comics’ dismissive attitudes towards him at the time.
[19:47] Oliver Double didn’t like the hierarchical backstage environment [20:10] DG says he doesn’t do mixed bills anymore because of this [20:49] DG had a conversation with someone about their worst jokes, and they pathologically could not admit to having had a bad gig.
[22:00] Oliver Double asks about the differences between a DG’s big shows and his standard stand-up acts. [22:46] DG says everyone thinks they know what stand-up is, and they think they’re right.
[24:09] DG still sees stand-up shows that are intended to have some texture, but don’t quite take the audience with them.
[25:26] Oliver Double talks about how difficult it is to define stand-up. [25:47] DG mentions getting good reviews in both the theatre section and the comedy section of Time Out New York.
[27:00] Oliver Double asks whether there are elements of stand-up in what DG does [27:22] what things did DG have to unlearn. [27:37] DG aspired to be like some like Paul Merton where you can’t see the work. Peter Cook, Willie Rushton and Paul Merton make it look effortless. DG now reverses that by showing his workings.
[28:50] Oliver Double describes DG’s early stand-up as deadpan. [29:39] DG liked deadpan comics like Hattie Hayridge, Michael Redmond and Paul Merton. [29:59] DG talks about it as a defence mechanism, but realises that caring about it makes it go better anyway.
[30:40] Oliver Double says that there’s a connection between the audience and a good stand-up [31:02] DG says that deadpan acts find it hard going beyond the forty minute mark [31:26] Steven Wright has subtlety in his deadpan and Jimmy Carr can do deadpan comedy for an hour.
[31:50] Oliver Double asks DG how he would define stand-up now. [32:00] DG explains that because he can’t do a 20 minute excerpt of what he does, it isn’t stand-up. [32:57] Oliver Double says a lot of stand-up is about the present tense, and DG’s material is about true stories, DG says he tries not to frame them in hindsight. [34:55] Mark Thomas has elements of this.
[35:01] Oliver Double brings up the fact that other comedians have done similar things to DG. [32:30] DG mentions Ken Campbell. [36:48] Ben Miller did a thing about John Noakes.
[37:31] Oliver Double asks DG to explain “showing the work” more, and brings up how he managed to turn around a difficult crowd in Huddersfield [38:57] DG tells a story about a gig he did in Paisley.
[41:15] DG discusses the way people talk about the combative terms in comedy like “it died” or “it killed”, and how an audience isn’t there to resist laughter but to be entertained.
[43:41] Oliver Double asks DG how he generated material for stand-up; DG says his method changed over time. He doesn’t like to rehearse.
[46:25] Interview wraps up [46:40] Oliver Double asks a general question about a future taping for Googlewhack Adventure in Swansea. [48:17] Oliver Double asks one more interview question about small scale preview shows and rehearsal.
[52:35] Recording ends
Notes1 MiniDisc, digitised to LPCM wave 16 bit 44.1kHz. Digitised using Sony Minidisc Deck MDS-JE53; Roland Edirol UA-25; and Adobe Audition CC 2014. 2016-03-21.
CategoryAudio recordings
Access conditionsAvailable for consultation at the University of Kent's Special Collections & Archives reading room, Templeman Library, University of Kent, Canterbury, CT2 7NU. Access is available via digital listening copies. The University of Kent acknowledges the intellectual property rights of those named as contributors in this recording and the rights of those not identified.
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