Get us in your inbox


Mark Watson: This Can't Be It

  • Comedy, Comedy festival
  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • Recommended
Mark Watson, a comedian, in a red jumper and glasses
Photograph: Matt Crockett

Time Out says

5 out of 5 stars

This is a genius-level comic doing what he does best

The sights, the sounds, the fights outside the Swanston Street Macca's: Mark Watson has missed just so much about Melbourne. After three years away, he’s back with a new show and a fresh take on life as a working dad in a Covid world. In This Can’t Be It, Watson is chaotic as ever, moving rapid-fire between stories about flight delays, pandemic gigs, ageing concerns and existential dread. Alongside all this, he interacts with his crowd, makes a superstar out of his Auslan interpreter, and generally reminds us why comedy is good for the soul.  

Watson’s energy is infectious. From the meta-opening in which he pops out from behind a curtain to chat about his pre-show prep, Watson keeps the vibe here astronomically high. This is a genius-level comic doing what he does best. Watson takes the obvious and the everyday and builds layered gags that are as surprising as they are hilarious. He works the crowd like they’re old mates and tosses out one-liners and call-backs with barely a beat. In Watson’s hands, gags about Zoom meetings and Twitter seem new again, and you feel almost disappointed when he cuts off his own stories mid-tangent because he simply doesn’t have time to follow every thread his mind attempts to untangle. It’s magical to watch, and just so funny. 

The best moments in the show, though, feature Watson reflecting on his response to lockdown. The comic turned 40 during the early stages of the pandemic, and his stories here about questioning his place in the world and considering his mortality during that time are truly affecting. To reveal just where these conversational roads lead Watson would be to give too much away, but it’s something to behold when a comic can bring a riotous crowd to silence. It’s a quick moment, but it demonstrates the extraordinary skill at work here. You can’t help but agree with Watson’s mum, who reckons he’s the best comedian in the world (even if no one’s asked him to appear in Poirot).  

Written by Nikki B


You may also like