One of Melbourne's favourite British comics, Mark Watson, is back in town after three years kept him away from Melbourne, a city he adores. A 10-year veteran of MICF, he boasts a true understanding of Australian, specifically Victorian, culture (not like all the other UK comics who are faking it!) and alludes to his intimate knowledge of the VFL ladder and CBD geography.

The pandemic and isolation haven't stripped him of any of his nervous energy or disheveled appearance. In wrinkled blazer, crumpled jeans and drinking Pinot out of a can (something he simultaneously marvels at and distains), Watson's delivery is as jumpy as ever. He darts from one idea to the next but still brings it all home in a cohesive show.

Wednesday night's performance was Auslan-interpreted by Susan Emerson, who Watson joked had the most difficult job in keeping up with all of his bumbling asides.

Watson is a master ab-libber, so it was only natural for him to incorporate Emerson into the show by drawing attention to particular Auslan signs, checking if Emerson was, in fact, conveying everything that came out of his mouth and making up silly phrases just to see what they looked like in Emerson's physical translation.

Emerson was so good that an audience member requested her contact details mid-show, to which Watson replied that there wasn't time for logistics – he was barely getting through his material is it was.

With bits on lockdown (too much time on social media, leading to Twitter gaffes) and the disasters of stand-up gigs on Microsoft Teams (even worse than Zoom!), parenting anecdotes and odd situations on airplane trips, it's easily-digestible,  material.

One woman in the front row hit the laughs so hard and early that Watson kept worrying she was going to burn out.

This Can't Be It delivers on expectation and Watson fans won't be disappointed.

Not too heavy, just right, with Watson true to form, the hour breezes by exactly as you would expect from a comic of such calibre.

Event details

2022 Melbourne International Comedy Festival
This Can't Be It
Mark Watson

Venue: Lower Town Hall | Melbourne Town Hall, 100 Swanston St Melbourne VIC
Dates: 31 March – 24 April 2022
Tickets: $29.50 – $39.50
Bookings: www.comedyfestival.com.au

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