On his quest to bring his show to some areas of the country he has yet to visit, comedian Mark Watson has committed his latest show, The MW tour to visit places beginning with M or W, his initials – as they’ve already shown a commitment by having those names in the first place.
Three of these venues are in Wales. Merthyr Tydfil (on October 14), Monmouth (on January 14) and Milford Haven (on January 26).
Mark recently took time out to speak to Andy Howells about the Welsh shows and his career in comedy.
What inspired you to get into comedy in the first place?
It wasn’t exactly a case of being ‘inspired’, it was more something I fell into. I’d messed about doing a few sketch nights at university and then there was a touring stand-up show coming to the college, and one of the real comedians dropped out. So I came in at the last minute, did twenty minutes which went OK, and got the bug.
Who are your comedy heroes?
The entire team of The Simpsons and also the people who did the Fast Show, because those were the shows I grew up watching. It wasn’t until quite a bit later that I started seeing stand-up. When I did, my first inspirations were Emo Philips and then a load of people like Chris Addison and Dara O’Briain who I did early gigs with. Also, my friend Tim Key. But you can’t have your mate as a hero. So maybe I’ll try to fall out with him.
Your latest tour involves you visiting UK venues with only MW (your initials in the locations initials). Why and are you the first comedian to attempt this?
Why is a good question. It basically began as a sort of joke – we had these neon M and W letters made for a DVD recording, and I flippantly said it would make sense to only tour places with those letters from now on. On a whim, I asked people online to suggest relevant venues, and so many came in that we literally did start to base the entire tour on it. That’s how Merthyr came about, in fact. I think I AM the first person to attempt it, because most people wouldn’t do something this stupid.
Your initials are also shared with Morecambe and Wise – are you a fan and if so what’s your favourite sketch?
I never really got into it, but obviously you can’t fail to enjoy them when you see the Christmas specials. My favourite sketch would be that one with Andre Previn.
Can you tell us a little about what fans can expect from the shows?
It began as a real mashup of old material and new, but more and more it’s new now, because I’m using the tour to experiment with stuff and to build the show as much as possible around the audience. So it’s a bit different every night.
Your visiting three Welsh venues on the tour – have you enjoyed previous visits to Wales?
Always. Half my family is Welsh and I even used to perform as a Welshman. I’ve toured to places not that many people take on – Llanelli, Blackwood, parts of Pembrokeshire that don’t really have names. Welsh crowds are fantastic. I’m looking forward to Merthyr.
What makes you laugh?
Actually not that much makes me laugh out loud. But I’ve just seen a GIF on Twitter, posted by David Attenborough, with a suspicious looking owl, and it really got me. Worth a Google.
What’s the funniest experience you’ve had at a comedy gig?
There was a show a couple of years ago in Southend which was continually interrupted by weird spooky noises – crashes, squeals and stuff which nobody could explain. It got funnier and funnier during the night, but looking back it was probably a restless spirit desperately appealing to me to bring it back from Hell or something.
Mark Watson’s MW Tour – Wales Dates
- 14th October 2017 Redhouse, Merthyr Tydfil Tickets via http://www.redhousecymru.com/ / 01685 384111
- 19th January 2018 Savoy Theatre, Monmouth, Tickets via http://www.monmouth-savoy.co.uk / 01600 772467
- 26th January 2018 Torch Theatre, Milford Haven. Tickets via www.torchtheatre.co.uk / 01646 695267
- Tickets for Mark’s tour are available from seetickets.com