Mark Watson, Flaws, Warwick Arts Centre, November 2.
Turning up late for a comedy gig is always the fear. You gingerly creep your way towards your seat, all the while hoping the comedian is not going to pick you out and poke fun at you, or even worse, engage you in some kind of embarrassing exchange.
But, after a diversion around Gibbet Hill, being given the wrong tickets by the box office and an embarrassing interlude when we tried to eject some people from their seats at the Dawn French gig, that is what happened to us.
Luckily as Mark Watson was coming up the stairs to meet us personally (to give the evening a more intimate dinner party theme), we were quickly ushered into the closest available seats and thankfully disappeared into the gloom.
Relieved by our lucky escape, but slightly on edge, we were instantly put at ease as the self-depreciating and still, in some circles, up-and-coming Watson plotted his career trajectory in line with fellow up-and-comers Daniel Radcliffe and Rhod Gilbert. Both of who he confirmed had almost certainly come, leaving him a little unfulfilled.
A random confectionery-based discussion with the audience as to the merits of different Yorkies, Nestle’s takeover over Rowntree and Club biscuits took us through to the interval with a homework task which involved buying the most middle-class confectionery and stealing a member of the much more populated Dawn French audience to fill some of the empty seats.
Having failed with that earlier we decided to give it a miss, while the best someone could do on the food front was a chocolate doughnut which Watson seemed delighted by.
The second half of the show was devoted to the self-doubt which led to Watson’s battle with booze last year, described as “more of a collaboration” and the wake-up call. No hookers and coke here though, but the moment he realised he had spent the night drunkenly donating £150 in separate £5 texts to the RSPB.
A Thomas The Tank Engine set piece, complete with a real-life Thomas, was enough to have you reaching for the booze yourself, but Watson has clearly come out the other side having decided to embrace human successes rather than his own individual failings.
He may still be struggling with his neuroses and have a penchant for swearing at coins and toasters, but for all his Flaws, Watson just wants to be liked. The self-confessed people pleaser who was true to his word again.
By Paul Okey