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Interview: Mark Watson
MARK Watson has already performed his latest stand-up show 35 times after touring up and down the country for three months solid.
And he's tired.
“I'm two-thirds of the way through this tour and my body's had a bit of a battering with all the talking,” he said.
“Usually it’s not the shows themselves that do you in, it’s the travelling. It does take it out of you a bit.”
Despite the title of the show, All The Thoughts I've Had Since I Was Born, which premiered to sell-out audiences at the Edinburgh Festival in 2008, Watson won’t be listing every thought he's ever had since he burst into this world 29 years ago.
“I tell them just a few of them,” he said.
“I think the show would go on a bit too long otherwise! I talk about trivial goings-on, things like my most embarrassing experiences, encounters with would-be stalkers, and grudges and grievances I've held. It's nothing too important or earth-shattering.
“People who have seen me before will know what to expect; a lot of jokes, a bit of rambling, and some audience participation. Actually don’t say that, it scares people. I do tend to interact with the audience a bit though, just so the show’s not the same every night. I try to keep things fresh.”
Born in Bristol to a Welsh family, Watson studied English at Cambridge and while at university wrote and starred in a number of plays and comedy sketch shows with Cambridge Footlights.
Standing on stage every night telling a bunch of strangers his innermost thoughts isn’t something he gives much thought to.
“It is kind of a weird thing actually,” he said.
“I've never really thought about it like that but I suppose it is a strange thing to do when you think about it because you do end up revealing quite intimate things about yourself to a quite a lot of strangers.
“I must have just got used to it. Most comedians do one-liners, which is more detached. In my show there’s also some exaggeration and basically a bit of lying to make the stories better, but still it's basically my life.”
Do family and friends not feel a bit put-out when he mentions them on stage?
“I spend my life saying ‘I made that bit up’,” he said.
“I prefer my family and friends not to take anything I say at all seriously, especially my mum. She’ll say ‘I don't remember that happening Mark,’ and I have to say it was made up.”
Watson’s TV and radio credits include regular appearances on BBC2’s Mock The Week, Time Trumpet, Never Mind The Buzzcocks, Have I Got News For You, and the BBC Radio Five Live show Fighting Talk, where he often talks about his favourite football team, Bristol City.
In January, during an episode of Fighting Talk, Watson was assaulted live on air by Tom Watt who threw a pen at him in an incident that came to be known as “pen-gate”.
He's just finished filming a new BBC Four series called We Need Answers and is happy to do other bits and pieces as they come along.
“TV is more difficult than stand-up because you don't have the full control over it and you're only a small part of a bigger thing in many ways,” said Watson.
“It’s more rewarding to do a small show on your own but with TV you obviously have a much bigger audience and it’s a good way of getting known.
“It's not easy, though, and these panel shows can be quite competitive. For now I'm just concentrating on this show.”
- See Mark Watson at King George's Hall, Blackburn, on Friday, March 20. For tickets call 0844 8471664.
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