My Secret Life: Mark Watson, comedian, 31

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The Independent Online

My parents are... one of the most steady forces in my life. I'm the first-born son, so I had the status of golden boy – well, my siblings certainly thought so. Fortunately we are quite a cynical family, so they are gently mocking in a way parents should be.

The house/flat I grew up in... was in Shirehampton in Bristol. We had a really big garden which me and my brother almost believed was an-all purpose sports stage. I'm slightly resentful that whoever lives there won't be using it as a cricket ground.

When I was a child I wanted to... be a sports commentator. It's a stereotypical wish to be a footballer; I had the more pragmatic dream of being someone who watched.

If I could change one thing about myself... I'd like to be more aggressively confident, without being a real arsehole.

You wouldn't know it but I am very good at... capital cities, flags of the world, and geographical trivia like that.

You may not know it but I am no good at... riding a bike. It's quite embarrassing. I went to Center Parcs with the in-laws and I had to run alongside their bikes.

At night I dream of... Embarrassingly, I do dream a lot about football, and in really specific ways. My wife finds it incredibly uninteresting when I wake up and say, 'Tottenham beat Arsenal 2-1'.

What I see when I look in the mirror... Mostly I notice that I am alarmingly, unhealthily thin.

I wish I'd never worn... I've always had fairly poor dress sense – now it's not a problem because my wife calls the wardrobe shots. Anything I owned that was bad has been brutally purged.

I drive... nothing at all. I'm not really interested in cars or bikes.

My favourite building... Flinders Street Station in Melbourne. It's not so much beautiful as peculiar looking. It's covered in clocks – basically very eccentric.

My secret crush is... Peggy Olson from Mad Men. She's irresistible, it's the intensity of her eyes. Normally it's older women though, which means they have to stay secret because it gets really embarrassing.

Movie heaven... It's A Wonderful Life. Maybe not the best film ever made, but it is the film that makes you feel warmest and most optimistic about mankind.

A book that changed me... 1984, because I read it when I was about 14 and it made me realise it was worth bothering to read adult books. It convinced me it's possible to write a book that still has political resonance 50 or a hundred years on.

My greatest regret... On a day-to-day basis, I regret that I changed my phone to Orange. They should spend less money on those cutesy black-and-orange adverts and more on pylons so they have better signal.

My real-life villains... The Pussycat Dolls. I'm pretty confident they are a force for evil; they make terrible pop music, and are terrible examples for young girls. They make me unhappy: it's just a step back for feminism, and for the world.

The person who really makes me laugh... My brother, and my wife. It's not a coincidence that the people close to you are the people who make you laugh the most.

My five-year plan... The only plan that makes sense is to do what you're doing, better. Life makes you look stupid if you have too definite plans.

My life in six words... A good effort with some reservations.

A life in brief

Mark Watson was born in Bristol in 1980. He studied at Cambridge, and has regularly appeared at the Edinburgh Fringe, on radio and TV, including hosting the panel show Mark Watson Kicks Off. Watson is Chairman of Respect FC, aiming to unite fans and players against the ugly side of football ( He is the author of four books; his novel Eleven is out in June, when he also embarks on a country-wide Request Stops stand-up tour. Watson lives in London with his wife and son