Like all of us, Mark has been pondering about the fragility of life recently. HIs show, entitled This Can’t Be It, is inspired by taking a life expectancy test using an app on his phone and discovering he could expect to reach 78: in other words, he’s just over halfway to, as it were, the finish line.
In his new stand-up show, the popular but all-too-mortal Radio 4 figure, star of Live At The Apollo and House Of Games (which he won) wrestles with some of the fundamental questions of life, with unusually high levels of benign audience involvement and the gag rate of an already fast-talking comedian who’s been imprisoned his house for more than a year.
This show has been some time in the making, thanks to the pandemic. You can see the end result when he tours This Can’t Be It to Sheffield Leadmill on December 2, 2021, and to Derby Theatre on June 4, 2022.
Mark had a pretty lively lockdown, as they go. With Tim Key and Alex Horne, he created the game ‘No More Jockeys’ which has now had more than two million YouTube views and found a rabid cult audience. He published his most critically acclaimed book to date, ‘Contacts’, and wrote another, non-fiction, title for release this year. He pioneered the Drive And Dine series of outdoor comedy gigs at the depth of the pandemic, and his company, Impatient, were one of the only ones to offer ‘tour shows’ run through Zoom calls, entertaining thousands of ticket-buyers deprived of other live comedy.
During lockdown, Mark also completed a trilogy of 24-hour online shows, raising around £70,000 for charities. In March he curated the only overseas shows to be part of Melbourne International Comedy Festival, as part of their digital programme. For all this, he was one of the winners of Chortle’s Legends Of Lockdown awards, recognising comics who had gone above and beyond to entertain in these extreme times.
Before that, in the old days, the future national treasure had been a multi-award winner here and in Australia; a very familiar voice on Radio 4, where his series ‘Mark Watson Talks About A Bit Of Life’ has been one of the station’s most popular fixtures since 2007; and has most recently been working on a film project with Toni Collette and Studio Canal.
The live arena, though, is where he’s in his element the most, and this will be an emotional return to the rooms where he has, for almost two decades, established himself as one of the UK’s favourite stand-ups.
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