Credit: Patrick Balls

 

‘People are living too long. Let ‘em die already.’

 

This is one of the outcomes from Mark Watson’s Infinite Show experiment. While queuing, audience members are handed cards asking them to write down the opinions or neuroses they have that others don’t empathise with. Some are, clearly, more understandable than others.

 

While weirdness and quirks can be either dividing or uniting traits, there’s more at stake here: understanding the human condition. Watson’s personal life has been a roller coaster for a couple of years; he discusses his relationship with both his ex-partner and his oldest child pretty frankly and considers that, if he finds it so hard to relate to the people closest to him in life, how is he supposed to make it work with anybody else.

 

He’s made a living as a comedian, where it’s literally his job to connect with other humans, to dig around and discover what makes each new audience tick, and, more importantly, to send them home hopefully feeling better than they did when they arrived. It’s a bit heart-wrenching to see Watson wonder whether he’s just not a very good human, despite his obvious talent in creating hour-long bonds with complete strangers.

 

Parenting is hard, relationships are hard, but the trick, he recognises, is empathy. Talk more, listen more, understand more. People are complex, fascinating individuals, and there’s no way of identifying with someone’s most interesting self if you’re not prepared to strive to uncover that common ground. We’re all a collection of oddities, as the audience suggestions imply, and Watson is here to help us become a bit more accepting in these terrifying and confusing times.

 

Until Mon 27 Aug (not 12, 24, 25), Pleasance Courtyard, times & prices vary.