Dave Gorman interview: The comedian on parenthood, Ant & Dec, and the sop of Twitter

Gorman is a comedian and author. The third season of his PowerPoint-driven stand-up show 'Dave Gorman: Modern Life Is Goodish' begins in September

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The Independent Culture

Having a name in common with someone else should mean bugger all It shouldn't bond you in any way. But while I was doing "Are You Dave Gorman?" [his quest to find other Dave Gormans, which spawned a stage show, book and BBC TV series], it taught me that having a tiny layer of connection is enough to get talking. I tracked down this guy in Tel Aviv, an observant Jewish gentleman, 50 years older than me, with no cultural similarities. Yet soon after we met, we were having a meal and getting on well. I realised that having nothing in common with someone is not an inhibition to getting on with another human.

There's something very healthy about feeling alien All the things you've been taught about how the world works are just opinions of the society you live in, not fact. It's a construct. So there's something really helpful about travelling, going places where you can't read the street signs or the menus and you are somewhere where people's concepts are different to your own. I want to do more of it.

We rely too much on market research YouGov has a website where you can see lots of data that it's assembled from surveys completed by the general public. It has one section which shows you what fans of a particular celebrity are like – apparently, Little Mix fans share more right-wing values with Katie Hopkins than any other fans! But the more you think about it, the more you realise this research is nonsense: it says that the people who like Ant and the people who like Dec are different people! But how is it possible for Britain to have significant numbers of people who say, "I like Ant but not so much Dec"? They're a package deal!

 

Why is there this idea that Twitter will change the world? People ask you to retweet something to show your support for nurses, say, and they think that by doing it they are somehow achieving something. Can't we live in a world where we assume all people support nurses? It's not real activism, it's a sop to make us feel like we've done something, and it stops people from going out and doing real stuff.

Always turn up on time and carry a pencil That was the advice given to me by a man named Alan Hills, who was in charge of a youth theatre group I was in as a teenager. What he meant was that this isn't a youth club, don't turn up 10 minutes late then gossip about girls – turn up on time and be ready to mark your script. He was trying to instil a level of professionalism in us. I still use his motto as a metaphor to be prepared for whatever I'm going to do. I don't literally have a pencil on me.

Isn't it weird that people assume everyone wants to have kids? The idea of knowing you want them before your life is ready for them is also very odd to me. If you're 20, I don't know if you are making the most informed choice about who you want to spend your life with. I never wanted children, but within a year of knowing the woman who would become my wife, that changed, and now I'm about to be a parent.

I don't get why people ask me why I have a beard Isn't it weird that you don't realise that shaving is the action? You have chosen not to grow a beard more than I have chosen to grow a beard.

I hate the phrase 'guilty pleasure' It's the idea that there's a prescribed view of what is worthy, and if you enjoy other things – say, the music of Steps – you're meant to feel ashamed. That's nothing to feel guilty about.

Dave Gorman, 44, is a comedian and author. The third season of his hour-long PowerPoint-driven stand-up show 'Dave Gorman: Modern Life Is Goodish' begins on 8 September on Dave

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