Mark Watson: This Can't Be It

Mark Watson is one of those people who you stop and listen to when they start speaking, whether it is from the middle of an audience, or from a stage. The Atticus Finch of comedy, Watson has some incredibly accurate thoughts and observations about life. This Can’t Be It is a brutally self-deprecating set, where Watson muses about the trajectory of his career, mortality, and generally updates us on how it’s all going.

A far cry from the existential breakdown that the title suggests

Despite an initially nervous, agitated and slightly frazzled beginning, there is wisdom to Watson’s words, whether this is about the moral alignment of the initials MT or a potential Ribena conspiracy. With observations so sharp and perceptive that they could balance on a knife edge, there is some advice hidden within This Can’t Be It that Watson is kind enough to share with us, like feel free to say no if a sign asks nicely and the consequences of taking advantage of the Pizza Express carafe window. In all of this, Watson twists the mundanity of the situations that he encounters, adds an astonishing amount of self-awareness and turns it into a life lesson. Watson is pretty much a national treasure and despite the generally gloomy tenor that he adopts, he is an enigmatic and endearing storyteller, whose presence quite comfortably fills the stage of the Earth, again despite him constantly drawing attention to its sheer size in comparison to him. An informal presence, Watson makes you feel like the only person in the room, as if you’re having a philosophical chat over drinks. Quite literally, as Watson, wine in hand, leans into the ‘cool dad’ aesthetic and turns his own shortcomings into entertainment, as he so candidly puts it.

Everything about Watson and This Can’t Be It should make those of us who haven’t reached the milestones that Watson speaks about, very scared, but somehow the opposite happens. This either speaks to the talent that he possesses or is a commentary itself on the state of the world, but This Can’t Be It is a far cry from the existential breakdown that the title suggests. Because no matter how grim Watson paints a picture in his intensely specific descriptions of events, we can’t help feeling whatever joy is buried beneath, at being able to perform and share his comedy in person.

Watson is a little chaotic, quite intuitive and clearly searching for answers, but one thing is certain; he looks at home on the stage, despite taking every opportunity he can to mock himself. If you ever find yourself contemplating your own mortality at 4 AM, take a minute to Google Mark Watson, because there is no going back after seeing him perform.

Reviews by Katerina Partolina Schwartz

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Performances

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The Blurb

Spiritual enquiry meets high-octane observational comedy as the ‘Taskmaster’ survivor, multi-award-winner and “No More Jockeys” cult leader attempts to cram a couple of years of pathological overthinking into an evening of stand-up. Maybe we’ll even solve the huge problem. Doubt it, though.

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