Comedian Mark Watson ‘locked out’ of his own Bristol gig

Comic addressed fans in the bar while being unable to enter theatre 15 minutes before the scheduled start time

Nicole Vassell
Monday 06 November 2023 19:46 GMT
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Comedian Mark Watson 'locked out' of theatre with fans

The phrase “standing room only” took on an extra meaning at comedian Mark Watson’s most recent show, as he and his fans were left waiting in the bar unable to enter the theatre.

Watson, who is known for his appearances on shows such as QI and Taskmaster, is currently touring the UK with his show Search.

He was scheduled to perform two shows at the Tobacco Factory in Bristol on Sunday. However, 15 minutes before the matinee performance, the theatre doors remained locked with no one – not even the headliner – able to access the auditorium.

Addressing his fans, Watson, 43, explained that his presence at the bar was not due to him having a laidback approach, but him being equally helpless to ease the situation.

“Hello everyone, I’m the, to be fair, the comedian,” Watson told the crowd, as seen in a video posted to his Instagram page titled “Locked out of my own show”.

He continued: “And we ought to be opening these doors now because the show starts obviously in 15 minutes, but there’s no other way to say it… I can’t get in.

“So, couple of options. We could do it here, but you paid for a seat and you paid to be in a room resembling a theatre.”

Watson added: “I just want you to know, in case it looks like I’m very complacent, just drinking at the bar, well firstly, yes, I am drinking at the bar, but I’m taking the situation as seriously as you are.”

The Mock the Week star then took the opportunity to inform the audience that this was not the staff members’ fault. He joked that although he had arrived an hour prior so that the staff could relax, “I say they’ve over-relaxed a bit”.

Watson also quipped that this scenario had also happened on a previous tour date.

Soon after his announcement, Watson and the audience were allowed inside the auditorium and the show was performed as expected.

Mark Watson

A spokesperson for Tobacco Factory Theatres said in a statement: “We had two sold-out gigs one after the other for Mark yesterday (Sunday), Mark showed up an hour or so before the matinee to do his sound checks with our technical team, which all went well, he then left the building for food.

“Our front of house duty manager then went to do their building safety checks and seemingly, as the title of Mark’s show suggests, they all had to Search for each other afterwards to get him access to the space again.”

Though Watson avoided performing in a bar on this occasion, it would not have been the first time that he entertained people in an unexpected location. In 2015, he performed a secret gig from the public toilets at London Wonderground at the Southbank Centre to promote gut health and to help break the “Poo Taboo”.

Watson’s show, Search, will continue in cities including Newcastle, Leeds and Belfast.

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