Like most of us, Bristol comedian Mark Watson has had a rough two years but, as he awkwardly walks out at the Square Chapel Arts Centre in Halifax, he shows us for the next hour and half on that on stage (of sorts) making a room of people laugh is exactly where he belongs.
Performing his latest show, “This Can’t Be It!”, this is an hour and half of Watson talking us through his life and experiences of the last two years as the pandemic took hold and wiped out not only his industry but also many of the venues that Mark has found his calling in life in. Add into that a costly divorce and bringing up two children as a single dad, it’s fair to say that life has been challenging for the Bristol funnyman.
Nervously joking that having added extra seats into the room only to leave him frantically trying to sell extra tickets two days before the show, Watson clicks with his audience immediately. His interaction with the audience is friendly as he recalls the pitfalls of being “kind of well known” resulted in his worst heckle coming not while he was on stage. Recalling previous visits to Yorkshire, as well as an awkward pre-show encounter with a fan in Edinburgh, being slightly familiar also has its plus points with Watson confessing to getting a free meal after being mistaken for another actor.
Unsurprisingly, his life during lockdown comes up as he explains how he foolishly downloaded an App that predicts your death date. While he laughs about the absurdity of the prediction, the second half sees him trying the app out with an audience member while admitting it did make him re-evaluate his own life and decisions. Relationships with his partner, ex-wife, bank teller and his own children are dissected as Watson muddles his way through life trying to make the best of every situation.
Bringing up two children, Watson finds out his daughter might be frightened of him as well as discovering that one of the burning questions on his son’s search history is “what is the point of Mark Watson?”. It doesn’t get any better for Watson as a trip to Pizza Express ends up in another ridiculous situation with his daughter at school the next day much to the confusion of friend and fellow comic Adam Hill but it’s exactly the kind of pickle you can picture Watson getting himself into.
Comedy nights held over Microsoft Teams have provided Watson with some respite but even that didn’t run smoothly, as was the case with an innocent tweet that led to a run-in with his neighbour during lockdown causing more awkwardness for the comic. Thankfully though, Watson has survived it all, and if the app’s prediction is true, we’ve got him for a good while yet.
Mark Watson’s life might be one awkward, anxiety-inducing situation after another but, in front of a couple of hundred people, he showed he has survived to tell the tale. Commenting during the show how, despite being a bag of nerves, he is happy to be back performing to people in person again. I’m sure that even though the laughter comes mainly at his expense, the Bristol comic wouldn’t have it any other way.
You can all find dates and tickets here.