This blog is rarely used any more and its once-heaving archive has been deleted, but it still gets woken up every now and again for news items. And this is very much a news item. There’s going to be another one of my marathon shows. As it’s for Comic Relief again, it will follow the pattern of ‘one hour for each year’ of that organisation. Which means I will be performing for 27 hours. Starting on February 27th 2015 at 9pm, and finishing midnight the next day.
If you go to www.rednoseday.com/markwatson you can get a flavour of what happened last time; elsewhere on the internet you can find fragments of records kept by people who survived some of the previous marathon shows. They are my proudest accomplishments as a comedian, not necessarily because of the endurance aspect – which is more a gimmick than an actual achievement – but more because they’ve tended to be the best expression of what I think comedy should be like: a mad, excessive reaction to the incomprehensible business of being alive. You get things like Lauren Laverne hallucinating a dog, or someone having custard all over them, or a protracted (eventually successful) attempt to lure the the Lord Mayor of Melbourne, or a blind date which ends up as a full-blown relationship… all difficult to accomplish in the shorter format. There are also jokes, by the way. Quite a lot. I mean, there’s time for all sorts of stuff really.
But alongside the ingredients of surprise-celebrity-visits, Rufus Hound’s penis accidentally being seen by thousands of people, and a thin man trying to talk forever, the core component of these shows is fundraising. People – that is, comedians, but also actual people with real lives – take on challenges, either for a portion of the monstrous time period for the entire thing. Last time, Tiernan Douieb had a custard pie smashed in his face every hour on the hour, while trying to learn piano; Markus Birdman spent more than fifteen hours doing a mural of the show, which sold for around two grand; Hound famously did something unspeakable with eggs. Sanderson Jones broke the world record for the longest hug, and received a certificate on stage from a man in a suit. Alongside all this, though, there were sponsored watching-of-a-shit-film-on-a-loop, cake-making, Countdown-playing (another record), speed-dating, bath-staying-in, and a load more things. We made just over £60,000.
This time round I would like even more mayhem and more money. (For the charity. I don’t get paid. It’s a ballache, actually.)
So, this is a call for challengers. Can you think of something which you could do for 27 hours or some part of that time? As I say, this approach yielded some amazing efforts two years ago, and not all of them took place in the venue (the Pleasance, in London). You can participate anywhere in the country and be hooked up to Comic Relief’s fundraising machine by going to www.rednoseday.com/markwatson The event will be streamed in its entirety, there will be a lot of tweeting and sharing and all the rest of it; so even if you only think you’re capable of getting about £4.50 in sponsorship, you may well find it’s a lot more profitable than that. And in any case, don’t think in terms of raising millions of pounds. This show is meant to be a vast, ridiculous collective effort. Acts of ill-judged heroism are as much a part of it as money-making.
But also, if you have an idea which COULD be incorporated into the actual London show, please contact me at email@example.com. By doing this, you’re not condemning yourself to take part. It’s just a preliminary call. And if you do end up doing a challenge in the show, it doesn’t mean you have to be hauled up on stage or provide any sort of actual comedy. Of course, it’s great if your idea involves you doing something amusingly inconvenient (the guy last time who watched Beverly Hills Chihuahua, for example, checked in every couple of hours, his eyes still miserably glued to the laptop)… but there’s no pressure at all. The venue will be a hub of marathon endeavours both show-stopping and inconspicuous. Anything goes.
London-based ideas might be useful, though, because in terms of actually getting tickets to the show, we’ll hold some back for people with challenge ideas. The general sale of tickets starts at 2pm on Tuesday December 16 – in other words, just before you read this blog. They will sell quite quickly. You can get them from www.pleasance.co.uk. But if you don’t get one, your best bit is to think creatively.
So, in summary.
-Get involved in this event and set up your own fundraising challenge.
-Watch it, live, by buying tickets.
-Watch it for some or all of 27 hours, online, when it happens (if you manage it all, that would be a sponsor-able feat in its own right).
Those are in my order of preference.