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Series / Modern Life Is Goodish

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Modern Life is Goodish (2012-2017) was a TV series written, performed and PowerPointed by humorist Dave Gorman. Yes, you read that right, PowerPointed.

Every episode consists of Dave Gorman putting together a PowerPoint presentation to try and explain that modern life is good, rather than great or bad, and that's OK.

Episodes can be found on Dave Gorman's cheekily titled YouTube channel.


  • Accent Upon The Wrong Syllable: Played with in an episode where Dave discusses the birth of his son. He starts telling the audience he keeps hearing about the “play centre”, before revealing he’s actually talking about the placenta. He then does the same with “escalator” (“a Skeletor”), “pullover” (“poo lover”) and “backache” (“bukkake”).
  • Aerith and Bob: Discussed in "I've Never Seen A Cat" when Dave points out that the titular twins in CBeebies show Topsy and Tim can be seen as an example of this.
  • Ambiguously Jewish: One routine revolves around people wrongly thinking Gorman, an atheist brought up in a Christian household, is Jewish. This includes JLifestyle magazine, who placed him at number 12 in their list of greatest Jewish writers (two places ahead of Nobel laureate and Pulitzer Prize winner Saul Bellow!), and about half of the audience at the recording.
  • Artistic License – Biology: One of the "found poems" claims that horses and cows evolved from "dino-saurs". They didn't. Cows and horses are mammals, dinosaurs are reptiles.
  • Billing Displacement: Discussed and invoked in the episode “Drippy Strummer”. Dave discusses how some films retroactively promote cameos and small roles as bigger elements of the film when that star goes on to become a household name. He compares it to crediting Frank Skinner as a major guest star while only having one line in the episode, and the next shot is Frank Skinner glumly confirming that he indeed has only one line in the episode. The payoff comes at the end of the episode, when Frank Skinner gets a prominent billing, complete with stars around his name, in the end credits. (This rises to the level of meta-joke; in TV listings for the episode's original broadcast, Skinner was prominently listed as a special guest.)
  • Blatant Lies: Many of Dave's jokes revolve around him telling absolute whoppers to reel people in. A good example is the episode "Negative Nancy", where he tells the audience before the show begins that they use green screen for his slideshow display and the real slides get added in post-production, so the first few minutes have the audience laughing along with Dave's description of what should be on the screen, but are just a series of blank green slides, leading into a point about the gullibility of the general public and how the audience believed he was going to do the whole show like that.
  • Bread, Eggs, Milk, Squick: In "I Like Eggs", Dave presents a series of statements intended to prove that "a diamond" is more grammatically correct than "an diamond". These include "A diamond would look nice there", "a diamond has fallen out of my earring", and "a diamond is dripping in the blood of 1000 African miners".
  • Call-Back: Used in abundance, to the extent that Dave sometimes has to explain why the audience is cheering the reappearance of something referenced in an earlier episode. Examples include:
    • In the first series, Dave makes his friend drive a trailer with a long message printed on the side that pokes fun at Alan Sugar. In the second series, when Dave needs his friend to use the trailer again, the message is still visible on the side, until Dave replaces it with something else.
    • Pretty much any time he holds up a banknote, it'll be folded lengthwise and held between his first and second fingers, referencing his deconstruction of people's behaviour when being served at a bar.
    • Any cat picture will inevitably be the same photo of his pet HRH Queen Elizabeth.
  • Canis Latinicus: Done in the episode "Ova is Latin for Eggs". Dave considers purchasing a name for an as-yet unnamed species of insect, and picks "vitamoderna bonaishiiest" as a very loose Latin translation of the show's title.
  • Catchphrase: Dave claims not to have a catchphrase, but finds someone on Twitter who thinks his catchphrase is "Maths!" (the original Tweets were complaining about Mock the Week, so it's possible they confused Dave Gorman with show host Dara Ó Briain, who studied mathematics at university and had a maths-based show on the same channel). That said, he does start off almost every episode of the show with "My name is Dave Gorman, and I've got a big screen, a remote control, and a laptop that I've loaded with stuff that I want to share with you." Other common lines include "And if you don't believe me, there's a picture," and, "I don't know why I'm showing you that [picture], because I've got it right here!"
  • Chekhov's Gag: Pick any episode and the end will usually be the payoff to one of these. The cat named HRH Queen Elizabeth and Dave's first limerick stand out.
  • Clickbait Gag:
    • Clickbait is extensively featured in Series 4 Episode 5, where Dave, having explained marketing tactics and social symbols, comes up with an apt analogy for clickbait by making a room that advertised itself as "The George Clooney Lounge," but was nothing but pictures of Alan Sugar.
    • Series 4, Episode 2 also features clickbait when Gorman touches on the ads that appear at the bottom of news sites, doing a straight deconstruction of it.
  • Commercial Break Cliffhanger: Dave frequently sets up something, such as revealing part of a tweet or headline, before promising to reveal the rest of it after the commercial break.
  • Corpsing: Happens often during the "found poem" segment.
  • Couch Gag: Each episode's opening has Dave (in cutout paper doll form) interacting with the show's title card in different ways, usually having it start reading "Modern Life is Good", and adding the "ish" in different ways.
  • Curse Cut Short: The episode "I've Never Seen a Cat" centres around Dave pulling a prank on his wife by swapping out the insides of one of their son's electronic talking "Toot-Toot" toy cars to make them sing in other languages. After he takes the prank too far, dragging several other couples into his shenanigans, he apologises on stage, singing along with the electronic bus toy that he introduced at the start of the episode. The final word gets cut off by the show credits:
    Dave: I apologise
    For my Toot-Toot car-based stunt
    I should have stopped it sooner
    But I'm such a Toot-Toot cu- [Smash to Black]
  • Dramatic Irony: A comedy variation happens in "Negative Nancy". Dave learns that someone called Ed on Tinder has used a photo of him as their profile picture, so he goes on Tinder disgused as his wife in order to talk to Ed.
    Dave: Ed is a person of unknown gender who doesn't realise he's having a conversation with the person whose face he has stolen. He thinks he's talking to a woman called Beth. He doesn't know that the face of the woman he thinks he's talking to belongs to the person who's married to the person whose face he's pretending to have.
  • Evolving Credits: From season 4 onwards, the opening titles start with Dave's paper cut-out avatar gaining some grey in his hair and beard via a "hair and beard realisticator" slider on the computer screen, matching the real Dave's own greying hair.
  • Express Lane Limit: In "The Veneer of Civilisation", Dave suggests the "10 items or less" lane in a supermarket should really be named the "10 items or less, approximately, nobody who works here is paid enough to count your actual items, just don't take the piss, OK?" lane. He then discusses an argument he got into with another customer who thought he should be removed from the express lane because he was treating 3 oranges and a bunch of 5 bananas as 2 items rather than 8.
    Dave: Do you know what makes it worse? The person who was complaining, they were buying a bag of bloody rice! Hundreds of bloody items, hundreds!
  • Fan Disservice: Two words: naked yoyo-ing.
  • Feghoot: Quite a few of Dave's stories turn into these. A prime example is his meandering tale of curiosity about cultural differences, starting with him wondering how a Muslim woman wearing a niqab would eat ice cream, eventually ending in him having a Catapult Nightmare about inventing a veil that would allow for discreet public eating, taking it on Dragons' Den, and being rejected by the investors for calling it the "Niqab-bocker Glory".
  • Food Pills: Examined in the episode "Spray Gravy", where he reminisces about the predictions for the future made in the 1977 title The Usborne Book of the Future, which includes the suggestion that food pills may be our future source of nutrition. He then goes on to find real products that might fit the category, including an aerosol spray can of tea, and the meal replacement product "Huel" (which he suggests is a portmanteau of "Hipster Gruel"). He then goes on to invent a form of music that compresses all the notes in a song into a short burst of sound, and tries to perform one of his found poems compressed into a single syllable, where he finally breaks down into a rant about how the complicated, messy, time-consuming parts of things we love are really what make life worth living.
  • Gag Dub: Inverted in S3E1 "Why Are There Still Chickens?". Dave replaces the music on clips of Homes Under The Hammer with a recreation of the original soundtrack, to make a point about Soundtrack Dissonance.
  • A Good Name for a Rock Band: Angela Rippon. It Makes Sense in Context: When discussing websites owned by celebrities, Gorman brings up that Angela Rippon did not have her own website, which was instead owned by a punk band from Japan who like wearing Mexican Wrestling masks. Eeeeexcept, the band does not exist, and the whole thing was an elaborate prank by Gorman himself.
  • Gone Horribly Right: One episode centres around Dave's annoyances with a know-it-all music snob friend, Mickey. He attempts to take Mickey down a peg or two by setting up an impossible music quiz website with answers that are mostly completely made-up bands and artists, hoping to show him up by "knowing" all the answers. This initially appears to have been stymied when Mickey moves to Canada, but they forget about the website, which was originally intended only for Mickey to use, and over a year later he discovers lots of people have found the site and are driving themselves mad trying to solve the unsolvable picture riddles. There is even a Facebook group dedicated to sharing users' frustrations with the unsolvable quiz. And the kicker? Mickey is the one who set up that Facebook group. However, Mickey did finally discover the truth - because he was in the Green Room watching the show as Gorman explained it all to the audience.
  • Gosh Darnit To Heck: While reading internet comments contrasting curses, Dave will often replace the partially censored on screen words with innocent alternatives to humorous effect, e.g. F*** => Flip and C**t => Clot
  • Grammar Nazi: Played for laughs in the opening to "I Like Hot Bananas" when Dave displays a tweet encouraging correct spelling and grammar and professional use of the English language... that came from the American Nazi Party's twitter.
  • Greeting Gesture Confusion: Dave claims that he once met the martial artist Alex Reid and extended his hand for a handshake, only to be offered a fistbump in return. He then jokes that he got revenge by re-imagining the incident as a game of rock-paper-scissors, which he won despite his opponent knowing Gorman's play before making his own.
  • Happy-Ending Massage: Alluded to in "The Veneer of Civilization" when Dave shows the audience a sign from a barbers' that advertises "haircuts" for £7. He points out the use of inverted commas and wonders what the difference between a haircut and a "haircut" is, and if it's the same as the difference between a massage and a "massage".
  • Harmless Lady Disguise: Dave does a variation of this in "Negative Nancy". Dave pretends to be his wife on Tinder, in order to talk to someone who has used his face as their profile picture.
  • Hipster: Although not referred to as such, Dave's friend Mickey is implied to be one since one of the traits Dave associates with him is taking a dislike to things that become too popular.
  • Hoist by His Own Petard: Several of Dave's pranks have ended up backfiring on him:
    • In "You Use A Spoon For Licking Custard", Dave explains his wife is a huge fan of life hack videos but he wants to convince her that they are a waste of time, so he invents a fake method of printing pictures onto a balloon using vinegar and squirty cream. Not only does his wife not fall for it, she deliberately makes him feel guilty by pretending to print their son's name on a balloon, and then calls him out by creating her own video disguised as another squirty cream life hack tutorial.
    • Dave tries to convince his wife that it's a waste of money buying expensive Finish dishwasher tablets, which have a red "Powerball" insert as a unique selling point. He attempts to prove they do nothing by replacing the Powerball with red Smarties, but it backfires when it ends up clogging the dishwasher filter with chocolate, prompting his wife to switch to an even more expensive detergent.
  • Hypocritical Humor:
    • In "That's What We Grow In", Dave berates Roman emperors Julius Ceaser and Augustus for naming July and August after themselves. He then proceeds to tidy up the months system, and adds a 13th month named Gormanuary.
    • In "It was an Accident and I was Hospitalised", Dave sets up a fake music quiz website for the sole purpose of trolling one of his friends, only for the website to have an unexpected boost in popularity. When he finds someone incorrectly suggesting that Fleetwood Mac is an answer in the quiz, he responds with mock annoyance "How dare he! How dare he lie to try and waste other people's time, that is outrageous!"
    • In "I've never seen a cat", Dave attempts to gaslight his wife by switching out the circuits in a toy car for their son so that it will seem to have suddenly changed languages. He seems to regard this as innocent fun until she starts asking about it on the neighborhood WhatsApp group and another neighbor starts giving made-up instructions for how to fix it, causing Dave to feel upset by someone else winding up his wife in the way he does. Could be considered Hypocritical Heartwarming, if you have a very low threshold for heartwarming.
  • Lame Pun Reaction: Dave attempts to avert this by forewarning the audience he will have to use the pun "fear change" later in the show. When he eventually gets to discussing the topic, namely the public's reaction to the redesigned UK pound coin, he gets the Collective Groan he expected, and complains that he gave them plenty of warning.
  • Let's Meet the Meat: Dave introduces a bit about using animals on packaging by showing the audience a disturbing cartoon he saw painted on the wall of a butcher's shop, depicting a bipedal bull holding a meat cleaver, wearing an apron and smiling at the customers.
  • Limited Wardrobe: Downplayed in that Dave always presents the show in a different plaid shirt each time. The only exception is in "My Childhood is Ruined", where he wears a plain shirt and that he knows that he will get Tweets about his shirt.
  • Line-of-Sight Name: In one episode, Dave discusses how his family came to adopt a stray cat, and cites this trope in combination with a newspaper article about the British monarchy as the reason all his correspondence with the vet refers to the cat as "HRH Queen Elizabeth".
  • Malapropism: Extensively examined in the episode "Ova is Latin for Eggs". He takes several common idioms and looks at how people have misunderstood or misheard them ("from the get-go" to "from the gecko"; "scapegoat" to "escape goat"; "bull in a china shop" to "bowl in a china shop"), then gone on to alter the meaning of the phrase to match their misunderstanding - for the "bowl in a china shop" example, he finds several people who think the "bowl" version of the idiom is correct, and that it means "mundane" or "fragile".
  • Never Trust a Trailer: Discussed in the episode “Drippy Strummer”. Dave shows the audience a trailer for the film Joy, which is presented as a dramatic, action-packed, heroine’s journey kind of movie, and which barely even hints at it actually being a biopic about the inventor of the self-wringing mop.
  • Non-Indicative Name: each episode includes a "Found Poem" (a collection of internet comments from people getting worked up about minor issues) and the episode title is a line from it. For example, "Badgers Don't Vote", "Will It Make Toasters Cheaper?" and "I Like Hot Bananas". It's usually impossible to work out the subject of the poem from the title, let alone what the show is about.
    • And the rant about Loughborough University in London.
  • Noodle Implements: Dave finds a review of an erotic novel by an Amazon user, and decides to investigate other products they have reviewed. Most of the other reviews he finds are for electrical goods and hardware, and he draws attention to a particular screenshot showing they've reviewed a USB mouse, a cordless drill and a disinfectant for use on bird feeders.
    Dave: Nothing kinky there... either that, or something really bloody kinky there.
  • Noodle Incident: In "It Does Not Bong", Dave mentions that he once did something with a wall of eggs that couldn't be broadcast because it was illegal.
  • Oddly Specific Greeting Card: Discussed in a bit in which Dave goes on a rant against the greetings card industry and how cheeky he finds it that they create demand for their own products. He demonstrates this with a hypothetical "Congratulations on buying a new washing machine" card, as well as real-life examples of cards he hates such as Father's Day cards for Grandads and Great-Grandads and a Valentine's card for children to give to their parents.
  • Overly Narrow Superlative: S2E7 "I Like Hot Bananas" is all about "Superlative Abuse", including a lot of calling out Overly Narrow Superlatives, particularly those in Guinness World Records.
  • Our Lawyers Advised This Trope: In "If you put sausage in it, it's not a Viennetta", Dave has a slide in his Powerpoint which consists of an image of the Daily Express front cover along with a caption "All of the country thinks this paper is a crock of shit". He's legally obliged to point out the the slide also contains the words "opinion of Barry" in order to disassociate himself from the statement.
  • Perfectly Cromulent Word: Forms the basis for a joke in "A Physically Large Head" when Dave highlights the fact that the show's credits use the word "Powerpoint" as a verb:
    Dave: I write, perform and powerpoint the show, I'm also responsible for making up verbs on the show. For some reason there isn't a credit for "verbicating". I inquirified about it but it just seemed to awkwardate the conversation. To be honest I'm not even sure they comprestood a word I was on about.
  • Polar Bears and Penguins: Examined in the episode "Winston Churchill's Pants". Dave finds a fact-tweeting Twitter account claiming that polar bears can eat 86 penguins in one sitting. He wonders how this could have been worked out, given that this could not happen in the wild:
    Dave: I've looked into it, London Zoo has only got about 60 penguins - as far as I can work out, this involves two very cruel zookeepers and a van!
  • Porn Stash: S2E1 "I Call Mine Sally" discusses the best way to dispose of one.
  • A Rare Sentence: When Dave's colleagues get him a custom-made jigsaw of Alan Sugar:
    "I literally spent 3 evenings filling Alan Sugar's face in, that is a sentence I never thought I'd get to say."
  • Read the Fine Print: in one episode, Dave makes a point about this by placing a sign outside the auditorium telling the studio audience that by entering, they accept the terms and conditions accessible at a web address. Those terms and conditions start with the standard stuff about accepting that they may be filmed for television. And then also gives Dave Gorman the right to have sex with them at any point up to a year after the show is broadcast, including any repeats. Fortunately, Dave doesn't take up this right, since "you're not my type".
  • Skewed Priorities: Discussed in "A Helicopter Is Quicker Than A Car", when Dave talks about a concept that he calls "Mortalification" - weighing up how embarrassing a medical problem is against how likely it is to kill you, and deciding based on that whether to see a doctor or just type the symptoms into Google. He points out that, if there's even a tiny possibility of you dying, seeing the doctor is always the sensible choice... but acknowledges that for many people, himself included, even a slightly embarrassing problem will always get Googled.
  • Soundtrack Dissonance: In the Found Poems, Dave reads idiotic comments from banal news stories, accompanied by a live orchestra playing the sombre sarabande movement from Handel's Keyboard Suite in D Minor (listen here).
  • Subverted Rhyme Every Occasion:
    • Dave's limerick in tribute to Edward Lear in "Why Are There Still Chickens?":
    There once was a man, Edward Lear
    Who made limericks famous that's clear
    But most of the time,
    He used the same words to rhyme
    In lines 1 and 5, the twat
    • In "I've Never Seen A Cat", Dave expresses disappointment that the song sung by his son's Toot Toot police-car suffers from this trope ("The police-car is moving along, / Catch the burglars to stop the crime, Yeah!"). He feels that the resulting song feels like no effort was put into writing it, as though it was composed "on a Friday afternoon at quarter-to-pub".
  • The Tag: In "Why Are There Still Chickens?", Dave gets everyone in the audience to crack open a box of eggs until someone finds a double yolker. He then reassures them that all the eggs will be cooked and served after the show. The end credits are played over footage of Dave standing in front of a large pan full of omelettes, and handing every audience member in the queue an egg sandwich.
  • Titled After the Song: Named after Modern Life Is Rubbish, an album by Blur. One episode had Dave showing a handful of fan emails he got from people mistakenly calling the show "Modern Life Is Rubbish".
  • Unfortunate Name: In one story, Dave recommends a baby-name-generator website to one of his friends to help him choose the name for his son. The friend's surname is "Fidler", and the website suggests "Adil". The website is fake, set up by Dave as part of a prank.
  • Unusual Euphemism: Dave mentions in one story that his Wikipedia page once incorrectly stated that he once took a break from stand-up comedy to go hitch-hiking through the Pacific Rim countries. He then wonders what kind of act the phrase "Hitching around the Pacific Rim" would describe if used in a sexual context.
  • Very False Advertising: Some real life examples are the subject of S5E6. These include the dodgy "inspired by [franchise]" claim of a fashion line, the absurd "serving suggestions" on food packaging, the Billing Displacement example above, and deceptively edited trailers.
  • Your Costume Needs Work: In S1E2 "Badgers Don't Vote", when Dave signs up with a lookalike agency under an assumed name as his own lookalike, his own production team, who don't know what he's done or realise it's him, actually book Lookalike!Dave to play a prank on Real!Dave.
  • Your Mom: Dave examines and deconstructs the stock "Your mother is a whore!" insult in one episode. He points out that, when used against you by a stranger, they're simply saying something they do not know to be true, and the phrase is essentially someone saying "I'm trying to upset you!". He then illustrates this by substituting the words to make other phrases that may or may not be true, such as "Your cousin is a dentist!", "Your brother is a printer!" and "Your printer is a Brother!".