What happened to the accent?
When I started out, Lottie (who asked the question), I adopted an accent to get away from the self-consciousness of being a comedian; otherwise I’d never have had the guts to do it. My family’s pretty Welsh so it was easy and not even much of a lie. Specifically though, it was inspired by Gruff Rhys, lead singer of the Super Furry Animals, who have never been out of my top three bands since 1996 (and whose extraordinary showmanship influences everything I do on a stage).
It went well and I became known as ‘Welsh comedian Mark Watson’. That was cool for a while.
Eventually, though, I thought ‘this is stupid’. I was doing TV and radio stuff without my accent, then appearing on stage with it. More and more, people didn’t realise it was the same person. Either the accent had to go or I had to use it forever. Obviously, it had to go. Now it’s sort of gone. Sort of.
On Time Trumpet, did you write it in advance or was it scripted?
Time Trumpet is a little-remembered but rather good show created by Armando Iannucci, which I was lucky enough to be in when I had almost never been on TV before. It was a sort of spoof talking-heads show (at a time when nearly everything on TV was a talking-heads show) set in the future. The answer to the question is, actually, we pretty much ad-libbed all the studio bits, with Armando asking questions to prompt us. It was a great experience.
When will you do another series of the radio show, Mark Watson Makes The etc?
There’s talk of doing it on TV. But it will never happen. So, I’ll do another radio series next year. Thanks for asking.
Did you always want to be a comedian when you were at university? I am an English student.
As I’ve said before in this blog, I didn’t have much of a clue, for the whole time I was at university, of what would lie beyond it. I was keen on writing and I’d tried my hand at comedy a little bit but I couldn’t see either thing adding up to a career. I still sometimes ask myself if this is really happening, and one of the purposes of the blog is to reassure myself that it is.
So, as I’ve remarked often enough, you should definitely not worry about the fact you don’t know what you’re going to do when uni finishes. If you get to 40 and you still haven’t worked it out, maybe it’s time to worry a bit.
As for what you said about how you sometimes wish English – although fascinating – were more ‘vocational’: every English student ever has had that wish. But the fact is, like any arts degree, it is equipping you to make judgements, read things critically, appreciate the world around you, and be creative. I don’t want to sound wanky about this (I had a LOT of reservations about my own English course, and I was at a good university) and I also don’t want to make out that reading a poem is somehow as good as knowing how to operate on a patient. Without doubt, English is less useful in many real-life situations than Medicine. But don’t underestimate what it can do you for as a person. And hey. You can always become a teacher. That’s what most of them do.
There are a couple of outstanding questions, but they’re either good enough to warrant a blog of their own, or I’ve forgotten them. Or both. Feel free to keep asking things over and over again because I sure do forget things a lot.