Reasons To Be Cheerful
Reasons To Be Cheerful was a one man show originally created for the 1998 Edinburgh Festival. It got almost no press for the first couple of weeks, but thanks to word of mouth and the support of some students from Hull who decided to leaflet for my show as well as their own it did eventually start selling out. The Edinburgh run was followed by a UK tour in an expanded 90 minute version.
The show is entirely based upon a 1979 chart hit from Ian Dury and The Blockheads although whether you know the song or not isn't really relevant to "getting it". At the time it was a difficult ticket to sell. "I'm a comedian you've never heard of and I'll be talking about one thing for the whole show" isn't the best sales pitch, as I think audiences who venture into unknown territory prefer the (imagined) safety of a pick and mix kind of show where they think, "at least I'll like some of it".
It was my first move away from a more straight forward kind of stand-up comedy and so when I got the show up to a standard I'm now really proud of it was as much a surprise to me as to anyone else. It's probaby the show that taught me most as a comic because it's the venture I went into knowing least.
At times it was tempting to give in and dismiss this kind of show as a kind of arts-festival-folly and go back to an easier-to-sell-but-less-satisfying-stand-up but I'm very glad I didn't. It was very gratifying to take the show to some big venues in 2001/2 and prove the point. Especially as I think I'd become a much stronger performer by then... it was less like a stand-up-doing-something-different and more like a man who knew what he was doing.
While fewer people saw this show than the others but it remains the one I'm proudest of purely because it was such a leap in the dark for me. If I hadn't done this show, none of the others would have happened...
You can see where the show was performed here.
What the leaflet said
In 1979 Ian Dury and the Blockheads took Reasons To Be Cheerful to number 3 in the popular parade.
In 1998, Dave Gorman calls his show Reasons To Be Cheerful .
Coincidence? Well, no. Because Dave has decided to base his whole show around that one song. That's right, he's going to spend an hour and a half talking about a 4 minute pop song. Every lyric examined and explained. Are they really reasons to be cheerful? Do you care? It doesn't matter because he does. Lots.
Dave Gorman, the double BAFTA winning writer of BBC1's Mrs Merton Show returns to The Fringe. Don't miss this opportunity to catch an uplifting hour of comedy as one of the country's most talented comedians takes on what is frankly a ludicrous task for your enjoyment.
"the show is completely original, brilliantly inventive and genuinely funny . Gorman always writes and performs with a great honesty, I guarantee you will be drawn in"
"Entertaining and highly intriguing: full marks"
"Extraordinarily inventive... astounding: Fringe innovation ain't dead."
"Far more entertaining than it has a right to be and, in the end, often rather moving"
"A superbly anal dissection of Ian Dury's 1979 hit. If you don't like the show I'll refund your ticket personally kids"
"Dave Gorman is in danger of developing a genre all of his own - not conventional stand-up, nor revue, nor a play: I like it"
"Completely original , cynicism free and highly inventive, the result is brilliant "
Manchester Evening News
"You will never see a more exhaustively researched, labour intensive hour of comedy in your life . In his obsessive quest Gorman delved into mathematical theorem, cross referenced with Twelfth Night and bought powdered chicken beak over the internet. This left him some spare time so he decided to illustrate his whole show with second hand slides. You will laugh "
The Independent On Sunday
"This may be about Ian Dury lyrics but Dave Gorman ain't just out to hit you with his ribbing stick. He's got a pointer, an overhead projector and a slide show. Using these and hours of painstaking research, Gorman examines whether Dury's reasons to be cheerful, from "some of Buddy Holly" to "Bonar Colleano" via "Dominecker camels" are actually bona fide good things. There are some extraordinarily inventive twists and tangents involving maths, Shakespeare and audience cocktail drinking and each line is illustrated by a genuine second hand slide. Fringe innovation ain't dead . Apparently this astounding show's origins lie in a Manchester pub bet. It's make a fantastic Royal Institution Christmas Lecture. You'd need a dozen verses worth of reasons to be miserable to miss it"