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festcomedy Claudine Quinn

He also knows how, on the other hand, Twitter can bleed material. “I know people who are more joke merchants, one-liner sort of things and they’re always having to watch out on the internet. All it takes is a few retweets and within an hour no one knows where the joke originated, it’s just out there.”  Still, the ‘out there’ of this sinister internet hinterland has clearly proven fertile comic ground for Watson. Moreover, The Information threatens to reach broad practical and ethical conclusions on its subject matter, but such ambition is typical of the comedian. Previous Edinburgh shows have included Can I Talk To You Briefly About The Point of Life and All The Thoughts I’ve Had Since I Was Born. “Partly, I’ve always wanted to do standup shows that provide some kind of narrative, some kind of metaphysical hook. I at least want people to feel there’s a bit more than gags,” he says. “But it’s also true that I have to be vague, as we often have to give the show titles [to the Fringe organisers] months in advance. For, say, the point of life, you can use any material that dawns on you. But it’s safe to say I’m quite ambitious.”   So ambitious in fact that this year Watson will also be hosting the Edinborolympics; tossing together various limber comedians for a sort of “sports-day-slash-wacky-races” event. “Legally I’m not even sure if I’m allowed to use the phrase ‘Edinborolympics’ but I’ve put it in the brochure now, so it’s a bit late.” It’s not a large concern, though. “I don’t really have the big money required to compete with the London Olympics when it comes down to pure resources.” Yet, what if he did have to compete in London? “I’d put myself forward for either water polo or one of the long distance events. I have to say it’s looking less and less likely.” Perhaps, but Watson still seems to have many competing identities. A guarded individual and a generous performer, his low-status, shambolic on-stage demeanour belies a dense list of accomplishments; the 32-year-old’s fourth novel comes out in August and he’s working on a fifth. How would he feel about the next level of digitised identity; a Tupac Shakur-like hologram of himself posthumously performing standup? “I’m already so thin and gaunt that it’s actually not that different from watching a hologram anyway. I’m pretty scared of death and threatened by the idea of not existing. I’ve got the ego of a performer, so anything that allows me to extend my career beyond the grave I’m all in favour of.” f

Mark Watson: The Information @ Assembly George Square

7:40pm – 8:40pm, 1–27 Aug, not 13, 20, £7.50 – £15

www.festmag.co.uk

edinburgh festival preview guide 2012 fest 27

Fest Preview 2012  

The definitive Festival magazine

Fest Preview 2012  

The definitive Festival magazine

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