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Review: Mark Watson at Brighton Comedy Festival

Wednesday 17 October 2012

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Though there is structure to Mark Watson’s The information, which spawned from Watson being the victim of identity fraud (he admits to drunkenly replying to a spam e-mail) his erratic, irreverent and sporadic thoughts are spliced beautifully throughout the show. He apologises for talking too fast, but feels you at least get “value for money” that way; at the same time questioning whether he’s ready to take a sip of water “not yet” or continue with his bizarrely engaging trail of thought. As part of Mark Watsons ‘unaggressive crowd participation’ the audience is presented throughout the show with a screen providing Mark Watsons contact details, twitter, mobile et al for the audience to ask him anything. Aside from audience members asking for hugs and stage props, Watson is asked times tables – and is ridiculously good at them. Like a bearded Rain Man. Although, the audience were fairly drunk and any quick answer would have sounded impressive.

Questioning how early it is when a man leaves for the toilet during the show– “that’s quite early, only half an hour in” – to then leaving the stage to attempt to sit in said mans seat, only to not reach it in time and find a terrified man return to the concert hall, personifies Watson’s endearingly restless mind. From lying to taxi drivers about being a zoo keeper to drunkenly calling the ham complaints line in a lonely hotel room, and getting asked for ID in M&S, “Proof? I’m in M&S!” Watson’s irreverent yet rueful take on life is wryly self deprecating and provides a lot more edge than he gets credit for. Take, for example his annoyance at being asked in a shop if he wants a bag for one carrot: “I’d look like a maniac swinging my one carrot down the street;” to becoming a father and being asked if he’s fed his son, “You feed them?!” Watson then provides a picture of the baby, well not his baby “I’m just showing you what they look like – showing you mine would just be weird”. He’s an unpredictable torrent of geeky enthusiasm.

Though there is a softer side to the ‘not Jewish comedian’ (his wiki page is apparently completely wrong) suggesting we stop using MILF and perhaps try MICROPHONE, “Mother I Could Romantically Or Platonically Hold One Nice Evening” – darker content is found in his mission to ruin/end a man’s life; Paul Goddard, (a mortgage broker who refused Watson’s mortgage after discovering on the internet his ‘comic’ profession) is the target of Watson’s revenge campaign. It’s a fairly inspired lesson in how to turn a personal quarrel into a brilliantly OTT e-crusade, with Watson himself feeling that although the shows content offers an insight into the sinister power of the internet, at least by killing Paul Goddard, it proves some good can come from the internet. Hear hear. Despite the Dome not selling out, “Looks like a sell out, don’t turn around just believe me,” everyone in the crowd and later at the Mash Tun were still laughing beer out of their nostrils.

Words: Simon Herriott