Saturday, 12 March. Tonight I went to see Scottish comedian, Danny Bhoy at 7pm and English comedian, Mark Watson at 9pm.  Although Danny Bhoy seems to be the better known of the two in Australia, I was actually more excited to see Mark as he’s from my home town of Bristol and I’ve followed his daily blog since March 2010.

I’d booked the tickets as soon as they went on sale so I had excellent, centre seats in the first and second row. My husband missed out on the fun because he had to work (he’s a mobile DJ,) so I arranged to go with my friend and fellow comedy fan, Kim.

It was my first time seeing Danny and Mark live, they are both observational comedians, but they deliver their stories in completely different ways.

Danny’s work was unfamiliar to me so I didn’t really know what to expect. I found his style easygoing and relaxed. He’s the sort of person you invite to a party, knowing that he will have your guests in stitches, confidently telling stories from his past with great flair and hilarious accents. And of course his anecdotes are always much more colourful than everyone else’s in the room.

I really enjoyed Danny’s mimicry. He brought his observations and imagination vividly to life with funny and convincing characters; from drunken girls on a night out, to camp vikings. He told one story from his schooldays  incorporating a French accent and smoking a pretend cigarette. It looked so real I expected smoke rings. Danny is an excellent performer, and I was left wanting more, so after the show I bought one of his DVDs, and I definitely want to see him live again.

After Danny’s merch-queue and autograph, and a shared bowl of chips from the restaurant, (thanks Kim, I owe you a coffee,) we went to see Mark’s show. As I’ve mentioned before, I know more about Mark, not only from reading his blogs, but I’ve also read all his novels.

Mark is less like your gregarious happy-go-lucky friend and more like your slightly dishevelled friend, who’s always a bit ‘glass half-empty’ but tries hard to be ‘glass half-full’. His humour is insightful and sometimes darkly delightful, and he’s a genuine person, just like you, well, like me, I can’t speak for you.

Anyway, he rambles on, well actually ramble is not really the right word, it implies a leisurely pace. Mark speaks quickly and earnestly, more like a power-walker on a caffeine-high with no defined route as he goes off on tangents.  I couldn’t let my mind wander, or I’d have been lost.  He talks about things which most people can relate to, like how to cope with confrontation, or the terrors of being a new parent, or indeed that niggling worry of  “did I lock the door?” All the usual stuff.

I’m sorry to say that the mosquitos of Brisbane seem to have been on a ‘seek and destroy’ mission with Mark Watson as their target. His arms were covered in nasty, red bumps, he told us he was allergic to the bites: poor Mark. Mossies just love thick, fresh English blood. Although I think the blotchy arms probably added a new layer of vunerability to his pale and scrawny look. I just wanted to dab his arms with calamine lotion and invite him over for a sunday roast with Yorkshire Puddings. Hmm, there’s that motherly instinct again. The same instinct that made me want to comb Josh Thomas’ hair and give him a hug last week.

After the show, we went to Mark’s merch-stand where instead of the usual fare of comedy CDs and DVDs, and possibly posters or Tshirts, Mark had his latest novel “Eleven” for sale for $30.00. I had already secured a signed copy thanks to a fellow comedy fan in Melbourne when Mark visited for his book launch last year, (thank you Witchy). So, in the spirit of bringing something interesting for him to sign, I brought him a plate with a picture of Bristol’s Clifton Suspension Bridge that had been given to us when we emigrated from Bristol to Brisbane in 1988. He was chuffed to see it and I told him it will be proudly displayed on my kitchen wall: and for that I was later immortalised in his blog.

Not wanting the night to end, we also went to Chalkboard where we were lucky enough to see Mark again, along with Josh Earl (MCing,) Geraldine Quinn, and a couple of local comedians. If I had more money and time and could travel down to Melbourne I think I’d go and see a full Geraldine Quinn show. Her performance and singing was so amazing I wasn’t actually listening to the words half the time, so I’m sure I missed out on a few funnies. By this time it was obvious that Mark was really dying to give his arms a good scratch, but he performed well without repeating too much of what he’d said earlier that night. The room was so tiny, he didn’t even use the microphone, which made it all the more like having your friend there on stage, just talking earnestly about his view of the world we live in, and life in general. (Sly inclusion of Depeche Mode lyric.)

So that was it, my second night at the BrisComFest. Next weekend I’m seeing Hannah Gadsby and Asher Treleaven.

Oh, and I do have two important reminders:

  • When going to a Mark Watson gig, make sure you get there early for bonus laughs.
  • Mark Watson’s books are very good. Do go and buy them.

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