The Man Who Searched the World for 54 Namesakes | Geek Business

Dave Gorman is a British contemporary comedian, who has invented a whole new form of stand-up act: docucomedy. The concept involves taking an idea and then living it, not just making a joke or a sketch about it. His comedy then comes from recording the ups and downs of his related experiences, as well as reporting on the consequences and effects it has had on his life.

Many people across the world will have heard of Dave Gorman, and for one main reason amongst others: his search for individuals who share the same name as him. This made him a well-recognised global figure, and also won him a number of awards.


So how did it all start? Gorman and his friend Danny Wallace, a fellow comedian, were having a few drinks in one of their favourite London pubs. He told Wallace about an email he had received, telling him that his name was shared with the Assistant Manager of East Fife Football Club. Thinking that Dave Gorman wasn’t exactly a common occurrence, Wallace bet Gorman he couldn’t find “loads” of others who shared his name. They took the first train to East Fife and met the Dave Gorman from the email. After returning to London and reading through the local phone book, they found and met another.

The obsession escalated, until Wallace bet Gorman that he couldn’t find a total of 54 Dave Gormans; one for every card in a deck, including the jokers. They travelled through the UK, France, Italy, Norway and New York, and met 24 different Dave Gormans. Due to the expense of the entire operation, they decided to make a stage show about it, called “Are You Dave Gorman?” This was intended to encourage others with the same name to come and visit him instead, as well as to spread the message. The show became a sell-out, booked extra dates to meet the public’s demands, and won a nomination for The Perrier Awards. The story was spread throughout most of the major newspapers in Britain, and attracted the attention of publishers and TV executives.

Gorman and Wallace came to an agreement with the BBC to make a 6 part TV series called The Gorman Collection, which would be aired on BBC2. Gorman also got a contract to write a book which featured both his and Wallace’s accounts of the origins of the bet and the journeys they took together. The book was reprinted before its publishing date of September 6th 2001. The book was reprinted a second time during the same year, and fictional characters with the name “Dave Gorman” popped up all across the TV.

Gorman managed to successfully complete the challenge of meeting 54 Dave Gormans – although 5 people had their names legally change by deed poll to Dave Gorman, including two women. Since then, Gorman has received so many emails informing him of ‘other’ Dave Gormans, he has had to publicly state that the project came to an end, and request that people stop contacting him with details. He remains, however, very proud of the project he took part in.