Saturday, 9 July 2011

"...And The Kangaroo Wasn't Even There!"

Don't get that punch line? Well, then you've not seen Mark Watson on his new tour 'Request Routes'. Just for the sheer randomness and build-up to that punch line, I think it will stay with me for a long time to come. Am I going to ruin it for you? No; I'd never give it the justice that it deserves. Anyway, was he worth going to see? Positively, absolutely yes! I'm not sure when he actually started his routine. You could easily mistake him for a humorous, mumbling fool on stage, but he isn't. He's very clever.

He's not like stand-up comedians I've seen perform live before. He doesn't deliver joke after joke in the orderly fashion that Milton Jones does. His routine didn't seem contrived to go in a certain way like those of Ardal O'Hanlon, Sean Lock and Lee Mack and it wasn't a political lecture like that of Jeremy Hardy. Nor was it an over-used routine that he's stuck to for year after year like Paul Zerdin. Mark Watson was Mark Watson; handy because that's who we got tickets to see…

The warm-up act was possibly one of the funniest I've seen. It had me, and the entire audience, laughing, crying and participating. It was mostly improvised by the changing surroundings and the people that it saw, and picking on people who were absolutely ignorant to the whole thing until they sat down and saw what was happening. The warm-up act wasn't some young, budding comedian, yearning for a break into the comedy world. It involved Microsoft software on a laptop, a screen and a projector and remained silent in its 'geekyness'. Who was it? It was Mark Watson, warming up the audience for his sell-out show at Canterbury's Gulbenkian Theatre on Thursday, 7th June, 2010. While the audience entered, he sat on his laptop talking to the audience via Microsoft, a projector and a screen. He commented on people as they walked past the stage, finding their seats. The audience fell in love with him.

Mark Watson left the stage then entered back on, the audience cheered, whooped and whistled, and then Mark Watson chatted to us, in a very casual manner like we were all friends and he told us all his funny stories. He is very much the raconteur. He had stories of fatherhood, public transport, social awkwardness, politeness, and much more. The stories were gripping with regular laughter breaking them up. He interacted with audience by having breaks to chat about daily amounts of water intake and the like. He challenged the audience with a game and we were participates in the comedians strategy for dealing with late comers. It wasn't funny, it was fun.

The interval started after asking the audience for the time, and 15 minutes later he came back for another chat, before starting the latter half of his comedy routine about the same topics, mainly surrounding his social awkwardness in the real world when interacting with people. He even performed for us, LIVE, his lines for both the Magner's Pear Cider advert and the Innocent Smoothies advert (however, he didn't change into his white rabbit alias that we recognise him as…). The audience laughed a lot more, then he asked for the time one more time before slowing his routine down to do some self-promotional admin before leaving the stage.

His stand-up was one of the best I've seen, with me not getting bored and continually being gripped. When you walk out of a theatre with aching cheeks, hurting lungs and a sore throat, you know that you have had a great night of laughter. His routine was packed with laughter and was clever planned, and certainly, it was cleverly performed. I do have one criticism, mainly due to my gender, sexuality and social annoyance: I don't like that I saw his underwear every other minute. However, I'm sure they'll be a lot who would never complain, so yeah. If the worse thing I can say is that 'He showed his underwear too much', then Mark Watson is a fantastic comedian, with a brilliant routine that you should definitely see live. Even if only to understand how "…and the kangaroo wasn't even there!" is a punch line…

And if you think I've ruined the experience for you by doing a general overview of it and releasing the clever warm-up act to you, I haven't. I reckon it ends up different each night.

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