MARK Watson is just 34 but when it comes to the Edinburgh Festival he is known as a 'veteran' or 'Fringe regular'.

The frequent Never Mind The Buzzcocks and Have I Got News For You panellist is marking his 10 year anniversary in professional comedy.

He is renowned for his regular Edinburgh Festival Fringe performances since 2004 and now he is bringing his show, Flaws, to Warrington on Saturday, November 8.

"It feels quite weird because I still feel relatively new to comedy," said Mark, who came third in TV channel Dave's competition to find the best jokes at the festival.

"I’m now seeing a new generation of comedians come through and I’m talked about as a sort of veteran or a Fringe regular.

"It’s quite odd to enter a phase of your career where you’re one of the old guard. But then again Nicholas Parsons is still doing the festival and he’s 91 so I’ve got a bit of time left!"

The dad-of-two's show will see him talk about the terrifying ageing process, parenthood and the fear of passing ill-fated traits onto your children.

But there is another reason Mark is excited about returning to the Parr Hall.

The BBC Radio 4 presenter and author added: "The last time I was there I ended up getting in the Stone Roses documentary because they played a warm up show for their reunion just after I was at Parr Hall so you can see my poster in the background.

"Money can’t buy that sort of promotion so Parr Hall is a lucky venue for me.

"I’m quite proud of the show this year. It will always be the case that some will go better than others and this has been a good year.

"So I’m really looking forward to taking the show out on tour now and getting a wider response than just the festival crowd."

Mark's first time on stage was at an open mic night at Anglia Ruskin University in Cambridge. He was 22.

"Luckily it went alright," he said.

"If it hadn’t I might have never have gone back to it. A lot rides on your first few gigs because it is easy to get discouraged and just never dare to do it again.

"But I had quite a supportive crowd that night and it made me think: 'Maybe I can get away with doing this'."

Mark has been 'getting away with it' ever since but it did not stop his mum Margaret worrying.

"She was convinced that I wouldn’t be able to afford to eat," he added.

"But when she started hearing me on the radio she started to believe it was going to be alright."

So what is the secret to conquering your nerves on stage?

Mark said: "You are quite scared when you do it. If you weren’t a bit nervous doing stand-up then I think you would be an unpleasant person – you’d be an arrogant person.

"But I think the secret is to not overthink it. You have to sort of conquer your fear of failure by thinking it doesn’t matter, it’s just a gig.

"If you go out there and think: 'I’ve got to make all these people laugh or someone’s going to die', which is a frame of mind you can get into, then you’ve got a problem. But it’s easier said than done."

Practice makes perfect because Mark is now one of the most celebrated comedians on the UK circuit.

He has been nominated for Best Newcomer at the 2005 Perrier Awards and won the first Panel Prize at the 2006 Edinburgh Comedy Awards.

Mark was also nominated for a Barry Award at the Melbourne Comedy Festival and won the Time Out Critics Choice Award in 2006.

But perhaps there should be an award for the most inventive marriage proposal after Mark's sterling effort.

He spontaneously popped the question to comic and playwright Emily Howes after a 24 hour show at Edinburgh in 2005.

Mark told Weekend: "A lot of that show was basically one long act of spontaneity. It is quite an insane period and a lot of things do come out of marathon shows although that is quite an extreme example!

"I had this huge wave of adrenaline. It was the sort of moment where you think anything is possible."

- Mark Watson presents Flaws at Parr Hall on November 8. Visit or call 442345 for tickets.


If you need a pull quote - “Always leave them wanting more, my uncle used to say to me. Which is why he lost his job in disaster relief.” Mark Watson's 'third best' joke of the Edinburgh Festival