Churnalism, fraudulent daytime TV, the idiocies of social media – these are the targets of Dave Gorman’s peevishness in his new show, With Great PowerPoint Comes Great ResponsibilityPoint. “Can we stop factory-farming bullshit?” he protests. But were his wish to come true, he’d be doing himself out of a USP: Gorman’s act depends on that neverending stream of the cheap, the crap, and the woollily thunk. He takes it, he parades it across a screen and he deploys graphs, data and ruthless overthinking to dismember it bit by bit.
The formula does not alter one iota in this latest offering, as the PowerPoint maestro once again gets wound up at very trivial things. Fans may be delighted – cheers greet his two trademark “found poems” tonight – but I didn’t find the show quite sharp enough to justify two-hours-plus of near-total inconsequentiality.
Of course, the central gag – the disproportion of Gorman’s nitpicking fury – can be funny, and he knows exactly how to deliver it. An opening routine that deconstructs inane showbiz intros is pleasingly pedantic. So, too, the one rebutting criticism of his recent move from London to Bournemouth. But I spent much of a teasingly tedious riff on shampoo stocks in the Gorman household, impatient for it to be redeemed by a big payoff. When the payoff comes, it’s not redemptive enough.
Elsewhere, Gorman easily hits some soft targets – Cash in the Attic; Twitter commentary on the royal wedding. The latter joke (which Gorman can’t stop giggling at) assumes the comments were written in earnest, which is questionable. I prefer it when he picks a more equal fight – with the Daily Express, say, and its clickbait coverage of ITV gameshow The Chase. Here, you get all the pleasure of Gorman overreacting to throwaway things – but it’s also a window to a wider phenomenon: the diminishing authority of the mainstream media.
It’s swiftly followed, though, by his most meagre routine, as Gorman aims to prove that a hat has been Photoshopped on to the broadcaster Toby Anstis. If you care to know the answer, this is the show for you.
At Harrogate Convention Centre on 2 November, then touring.