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Series / Modern Life Is Goodish

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Televised stand-up comedy lectures written, performed and Powerpointed (yes, that's what the credits say) by humorist Dave Gorman.


  • 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”).
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  • 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 deliberately 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.
  • 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!" (presumably referring to a routine from one of his earlier stand-up shows where he discusses maths). 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."
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  • 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.
  • Corpsing: Dave occasionally does this during the Found Poem.
  • 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.
  • 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 Dragon's 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.
  • 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
  • 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.
  • A Good Name for a Rock Band: Angela Rippon. It Makes Sense in Context.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • Hoist by His Own Petard: Dave gets one of these in "You Use A Spoon For Licking Custard". 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.
    • Another example is how he tries to save money on dishwasher detergent. His wife insists on buying expensive Finish tablets, which have a red "Powerball" insert as a unique selling point. Dave 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.
  • It Is Pronounced "Tro-PAY": in the discussion on Loughborough (pronounced ‘Luff-burrer’) University, Dave jokes he’s convinced tourists that it’s pronouced ‘Low-brow University’. He justifies this by pointing out how many ways there are to pronounce the syllable ‘ough’ in English and that as such ‘Low-brow’ would indeed be a valid pronounciation, especially for those that don’t know any better.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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 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.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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".
  • 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".
  • 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!".

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