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Mark Watson

February 2009

WHAT sort of a man leaves his wife's hospital bedside, the very day she's been in a quad bike accident, to go to work?
And then uses her misfortune for the amusement of others?
"She was in a comfortable condition by that time," insists Mark Watson, the Welsh stand-up who did just that in Leicester last year.
"If I thought she was going to die maybe I would have... but what can you do? You're not going to disappoint the people of Leicester are you?"
Sure. Who cares about them?
"I can't really afford to have that attitude unfortunately."
Watson, a regular on Mock The Week and Never Mind The Buzzcocks, is at the Playhouse next Friday with his latest show All The Thoughts That I've Had Since I Was Born.
"More accurately it should be called A Few Thoughts I've Had Recently. But because of the way I talk I do tend to cram in a quite a lot of the thoughts I've had since I was born. So maybe it's not as much of an exaggeration as it sounds."
Among the thoughts will be his efforts to become a greener person.
"I don't address it too directly because people find it quite boring," says the author of Crap At The Environment.
Watson does take the issue seriously. So much so, he trained to be a climate change lecturer under the tutelage of environment champion Al Gore.
"This year I will be doing a series of talks based on his classes. It's quite a big challenge because you're trying to make fun out of something that's not just unfunny but that people find unpleasant to even think about. It'll be quite exciting as well. As the first comedian to really do it."
Though he is quick to clarify, that is not the purpose of the current stand-up tour. It's jokes, folks. No preaching, honest.
Watson, who you could stable with Britain's comedy intellectuals, recently finished filming a new quiz show for BBC 4 called We Need Answers, which he hosts.
"The format is, that all the questions are texted in by members of the public. And the guests have to answer them. It's not just comedians. It's mostly celebrity guests."
He hopes to "pop up" on ...Buzzcocks and Mock The Week, though no new series have yet been planned as far as he knows.
"They are a laugh but harder work than they look. The recordings are really long and it's quite a struggle to get words in sometimes."
After this tour he will be writing a new show for the Edinburgh Fringe. While there, as is the case the past few years, Watson has endured a 24-hour stand-up show.
"It might be the last one this year," he says.
"I've got to stop doing it at some point. For the sake of my health."
He adds: "The idea was that there'd be a new stream of people (watching his routine) but some people do stick it out for the whole 24 hours.
"I do eat on stage. Most things I try and incorporate in to the show. I'm more or less living my life on stage for 24 hours."
Though, thankfully, toilet breaks aren't among them.
Isn't he using up all of his material in one go?
"Not at all. It's not really material at all, just absolute garbage. It's an exercise in talking about nothing."
When we spoke last year he admitted to admiring the career of Stephen Fry. Of course, Fry is now an ambassador of Twitter. So has he joined up?
"No. Quite a few people have been asking me about it but it just feels like a lot of effort. I'm already on Facebook and that takes up quite a bit of my social networking time. The idea of taking it a stage further and telling everyone literally what I'm doing every minute of the day I find a bit scary.
"It's a strange idea but that's the world these days. Everyone is so in contact the whole time."

Mark Watson, Nottingham Playhouse, Friday February 27

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