At the age of 31 I decided it was time to be taken seriously. I decided I wanted to write a novel. I started by growing a beard. Somehow this helped to persuade a publisher to give me a deal for a novel. The idiots started by giving me a healthy sum of money. That was their first mistake.
It was while I was trying to write my novel that I received an e-mail from a stranger telling me that I was a googlewhack. I didn't know what a googlewhack was at the time. I do now.
A googlewhack is what happens when two words are entered in to Google and it comes back with one and only one hit. (When the stranger told me I was a googlewhack, he didn't mean that my name, Dave Gorman, was one... he meant that my website contained one. It was Francophile Namesakes but I wouldn't bother googling it as it long ago stopped being a googlewhack.)
Initially googlewhacking seemed to be a pleasant enough distraction. Just something to do while sitting at my computer thinking about how to start writing my novel. I had no idea it was about to take over my life. Explaining quite how it grew is more complicated than can be sensibly explained here. In short... what started as work-avoidance built up into something of a breakdown.
In a very short space of time, Googlewhacking led me to travel around the world. About three times if you add it all up.
When I finally came to my senses I returned home and had to face some pretty difficult facts. For a start I'd completely failed to write a word of the novel. But having travelled some 90,000 miles I reckoned the publishers might be interested in a book about what I'd done instead. I pitched it to them as a solution and gave it the title, Dave Gorman's Googlewhack Adventure. They weren't interested - mainly because they weren't interested in me. Which is an understandable position to take when someone has taken your money and not written the book they promised.
This meant I had to give them the money back... which was a problem because I'd spent it all. And then some. So I did the only thing I could do to make some money. I created a stage show about it. Eventually the stage show did well enough to pay back the publishers at which point the non-fiction department got in touch and asked me if I wanted to write a book about the journey. "What a good idea!" I said, "I wish I'd thought of it."
It was the first stage show I'd done since 2001 and I started by performing it at the 2003 Melbourne International Comedy Festival. From there it transferred to the Sydney Opera House (my Mum was very proud) It ended up becoming the biggest selling show in the history of the Studio Theatre at The Sydney Opera House! (My Mum was even prouder.)
In August 2003 I took the show to the The Edinburgh Festival. This was followed by a sold out, 75 date, three month tour of the UK. (Actually only 74 dates sold out, Lowestoft didn't. Grrr.) It ended with my biggest show to date, with a capacity crowd of 3,700 people at the Hammersmith Apollo.
In 2004 I took the show to the HBO US Comedy Arts Festival in Aspen, Colorado where it won the award for Best One Person Show - an award I'd won in 2001 for Are You Dave Gorman?
I then returned to Australia with fresh runs in Sydney and Melbourne but this time adding on a two week stint in Brisbane. On returning to the UK the show went straight back out on tour for a further 25 nights before heading out to Montreal for a two week run at the Just For Laughs Festival in July.
There was one final UK show which was recorded and released on DVD in November 2004.
In October 2004 I went to New York for a 6 week run Off Broadway. The run was extended and eventually ran for 3 months.
The show was nominated in the category of Outstanding Solo Performance at the prestigious Drama Desk Awards which aim to recognise excellence in New York theatre be it on or off-Broadway. Other nominees in the category included Jackie Mason, Barry Humphries and the eventual winner; some young upstart called Billy Crystal. This was my second nomination as Are You Dave Gorman? had been nominated in the same section following its Off-Broadway run in 2001.
While in New York the show also won the Nightlife Award for Most Unique Comedy Performance. I think that's a compliment.
The New York run led to interest from other North American venues and so I returned to the States for a 3 week run in LA in March/April 2005 followed immediately by a four show run in Toronto. In the autumn of 2005 I embarked on the show's final tour: a 4 month tour of the US of A.
To see where the show toured to, click here.
To find out what the press think of the show, check out the show reviews page.
To find out what the press think of the book, check out the book reviews page.
More than ten years after the show started... I still get daily correspondence about it. So I created an AFAQ page for it to save me typing the same things over and over. (The first A stands for Actually) It's here.
When a show has been on at the Sydney Opera House and run for three months off Broadway there's only one city that's fit to host the DVD recording: Swansea.
The DVD company asked about extras. They wanted me to put an interview on there but I thought an interview with me on my own DVD was a bit of a strange thing to do... I mean, it obviously wouldn't be much of challenging interview would it? I suggested that some music from a band I really like would tell you more about me. They said it wouldn't make sense if it wasn't relevant to the show. So I asked one of my favourite bands if they fancied writing a song about the show and I was delighted when they said yes. The song by Helen Love is my favourite of the extras. I also like the egg timer.
A Sunday Times Number One Best Selling book about what happened when I failed to write a book.
"...unlike other recent, bestselling and heartless examples of the genre, Gorman's comedy is the result of a rather old-fashioned and grand style of thinking... It's enough to bring a lump to the throat and a tear to the eye. It's like the war in reverse."