Playbill Pick: Mark Watson: Search at the Edinburgh Festival Fringe | Playbill

Playbill Goes Fringe Playbill Pick: Mark Watson: Search at the Edinburgh Festival Fringe

Possibly the nicest comedian at the Fringe, Watson is also one of the funniest.

Mark Watson

The Edinburgh Festival Fringe is the biggest arts festival in the world, with nearly 3,500 shows. This year, Playbill is in Edinburgh for the entire month in August for the festival and we’re taking you with us. Follow along as we cover every single aspect of the Fringe, aka our real-life Brigadoon!

As part of our Edinburgh Fringe coverage, Playbill is seeing a whole lotta shows—and we're sharing which ones you absolutely must see if you're only at the Fringe for a short amount of time. Consider these Playbill Picks a friendly, opinionated guide as you try to choose a show at the festival.

Here's an example of why I love Mark Watson. I have seen a good number of comedians at this year's Fringe, and almost all their shows have started late. It's the nature of the Fringe, with shows scheduled so close together—one runs long, and that causes a domino effect of every show after that having to start later and later. Or maybe it was all Rhys James' fault. Who knows. (Rhys James, for the record, is another very funny comedian, who had the previous slot at the Pleasance One. And it was Mark Watson who blamed him, not me.)

Whatever the case, Mark Watson is the only one who has walked out into the audience while people were still filing in to apologize for the late start that was entirely beyond his control. When he saw excited fans taking pictures, he stopped to smile and pose for them. He's neurotic, hilarious, and relatable, but I think my favorite thing about him is that he seems like a genuinely nice person who genuinely loves the Fringe and his audience. That, and he's very funny. No one wants to see a nice guy stand on stage and be boring for an hour.

I first became aware of Mark Watson via—where else—my favorite TV show, Taskmaster. Watson and Taskmaster creator Alex Horne are long time friends, and he appeared on series 5. For those who haven’t watched it yet, despite my constant yammering on about it in almost every review, I think his most famous moment may have been this infamous texting task shown at 2:34 in this video, where he was asked to send Taskmaster Greg Davies a cheeky text message every day for five months. The result was devastating. He's been performing at the Fringe for 20 years, and said that he loves it so much, he even came up during the pandemic, where there was no Fringe, because he didn't know what else to do in August. That is dedication. Oh, and he's also involved with producing other up-and-coming comedians at the Fringe every year, via Impatient Productions

The title of this year's show is Mark Watson: Search, and the search part largely refers to his son and his search history. That, and he once did a commercial for Bing. He asks us if we remember our first Google search (if you don’t, you’re not alone—no one in the audience did). But he does know his son's... because he snooped on him. Nowadays his son gets his revenge by repeatedly texting his father during the show.

I'm sure I've said this a lot when reviewing comedy shows at the Fringe, but watching Mark Watson: Search, I felt like I was just laughing continuously for the entire hour. If it was the last show I had seen at this year's festival, it would have ended it on the highest of highs. It had been a long, exhausting day by the time I got around to his 9 PM show, but the hour just flew by.

Mark Watson: Search runs until August 27 at Pleasance Courtyard - Pleasance One. For tickets, click here. For recommendations on more comedians to see at the Fringe, click here.

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