Bristol comedian Mark Watson admits he loves coming to Leeds with tonight’s show at the wonderful City Varieties being one of his particular favourites on his touring schedule. In fact, he loves it so much that, even after a gruelling twenty-six hour stint on stage for a dementia charity the day before, the thought of cancelling this show never entered the comics head. What that does mean though is that, as Watson admits, this show sees him croaking his way through 90 minutes having had literally no sleep.
Inspired by his divorce, along with the realisation that he might need to connect with people more, this show sees Watson in absolutely fine form as, in his sleep-deprived state, he tries to get to grips with relationships not only with his crowd but with his friends and his own children. The loose structure of the show revolves around Watson’s own experiences along with the unvetted content taken from audience-completed prompt cards. It makes for an unstructured, utterly hysterical look at life through the eyes of a man who not only gets mistaken for fellow comic David Baddiel on a regular basis but has also been voted 50th Sexiest Jew on Twitter. As well as recalling his first ever gig in Yorkshire, his contempt for Center Parcs along with explanation of the Right Said Fred hit “I’m Too Sexy” are highlights of a first half which literally flew past in the blink of an eye.
The second half sees Watson take a look into the effects his divorce has had on his relationships in particular with his troubled son a child who, as they spend more time together bonding, Watson believes could either suffer from ADHD or could just not be very nice. Elsewhere, he struggles to hang out with a local wine-obsessed Dad with their time spent together resulting in the comedian admitting he can’t be friends with a man who doesn’t drink wine to forget life. Away from the tragedy of his life, his interaction with the audience through the use of prompt cards provides Watson with plenty to discuss and, before you know it, Watson is ending this superb night by trying to replicate another performers magic trick only for the whole thing to predictably fail miserably.
At the beginning of the show Mark Watson explains a bit about his nerves going on stage but, by the end of it, it’s obvious that the stage is clearly one place where the Bristol comic is truly in his element. Joking that they’re adding dates on all the time so he doesn’t have to go home, if you get the chance, make sure you go and hang out with Watson at one of his shows because you’ll come away having made yourself a new best friend.
Review by Graham Finney.