Mark Watson to stage another 24-hour show | Online gig aims to rebuild society... 'in a silly way' © Stuart Hogben

Mark Watson to stage another 24-hour show

Online gig aims to rebuild society... 'in a silly way'

Mark Watson is to stage another of his marathon comedy shows – but this time via webcam.

The comic is to perform the so-called Watsonathon on Twitch and YouTube from 9pm on May 1, joined, virtually, by a cast of fellow comedians and celebrities.

Watson first presented a 24-hour show at the 2004 Edinburgh Fringe and has since staged several more endurance performances, including a 36-hour show in 2006 – his longest yet –  and a 26.2-hour effort last year to coincide with the London Marathon.

The former Taskmaster contestant says his aim is ‘to recreate, in a mostly pretty silly way, some of what we’ve temporarily lost: not just comedy clubs, but all the stuff that used to make up social and cultural life. Or, failing that, to at least have quite a lot of fun. Better than nothing, isn’t it?’

The endeavour will raise money for as-yet undetermined charities, including a fund to help performs whose income stream has evaporated, as well as offering an ‘outlet to comedians who are currently driving partners to murderous thoughts by trying to be funny in their own homes 24/7’.

Previous challenges undertaken as part of the shows have included setting a record for the world’s longest ever hug, Gillian Anderson shaving comedian Tiernan Douieb’s back using hummus as shaving cream, and Russell Brand and Miranda Hart driving an ice-cream van into the venue.

Watson – whose next novel Contacts is due out in Septemeber – is currently seeking comedians, musicians, magicians, and ‘anyone who can do something in front of a camera’ to get in contact with the show’s producers.

In a letter to comics he said the event was timed to coincide with the cancelled Machynlleth Festival, and said: 'As usual, I will be on "stage" throughout, at the helm, but I am going to need a large number of collaborators to make this even halfway possible.

'There'll be some set-pieces where we, for example, recreate panel shows or try new formats. There'll be sections which ARE run a bit like an actual comedy club with people doing five minutes. But there will also be a lot of dicking about, as you can well imagine. As usual, that dicking-about will be structured around acts undertaking challenges of some kind for as much of the 24 hours as possible.

'Lots of acts are overwhelmed by the situation and need some sort of impetus to get creating again. Some people are just desperate for stuff to do. If any of these ring a bell, get in touch.'

Published: 13 Apr 2020

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