Mark Andrew Watson is an English comedian and novelist. Although not born in Wales, Watson used to deliver his act with a common Welsh accent which is not quite his own. He adopted it when he started stand-up comedy saying that it made him “more comfortable to be talking in a voice that I didn’t quite recognise as my own”. He has since reverted to his own accent. Watson has appeared regularly at The Edinburgh Festival Fringe, winning the first ever Panel Prize at the if.comeddies in 2006 and being nominated for Best Newcomer at the 2005 Perrier Comedy Awards. His other awards include the Time Out Critic’s Choice Award 2006 and a Barry Award nomination for best show at the Melbourne Comedy Festival 2006.
Watson has performed several unusual shows at The Edinburgh Fringe and Melbourne Festivals, including marathon shows lasting 24 hours and more. The first of these shows was performed at the 2004 Edinburgh Festival Fringe, which lasted 24 hours. At the end of the show he proposed to his girlfriend Emily Howes, who accepted. These shows have also featured guest appearances from other performers such as Tim Key, Tim Minchin, Adam Hills, Daniel Kitson, David O’Doherty, Brendon Burns and John Dorney as the balladeer.
At the 2006 Edinburgh Festival Fringe, Watson hosted a literary workshop/interactive comedy show entitled Mark Watson, And His Audience, Write A Novel. The aim was to write, by the end of August, a novel begun from scratch and woven entirely from audience suggestions, with another 2,000 words or so added each day. The novel was not finished within the month. At the 2007 Fringe, Watson hosted a panel show We Need Answers with Alex Horne and Tim Key. This saw 16 comedians take part in a knock out quiz where all the questions and answers came from text service Any Question Answered. Paul Sinha won the competition, beating Josie Long in the final. We Need Answers returned in 2008 with fewer rounds, Josie Long emerged as winner, beating Sinha in the semi-final and Kristen Schaal in the final.
Watson performed his final 24-hour show at the 2009 Fringe along with his Earth Summit and his Edit. The Earth Summit was Watson’s version of the Al Gore talk about world pollution and global warming and the Edit was a compilation of Watson’s fringe shows to date, made particularly for those who had not seen him perform there. Watson’s debut DVD, titled The Mark Watson Edit was initially due for release on 15 November 2010. However, Watson was forced to shelve the project and a new DVD recording was released on 28 November 2011, entitled Mark Watson Live.
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