Comedian treats Kettering crowd to surprise gig and drinks all round
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A headlining comedian who had to postpone a performance in Kettering and didn’t want to waste his train ticket gave an impromptu gig in the town.
Kettering Arts Centre, at St Andrew’s Church, had to cancel Mark Watson’s date on Saturday (September 10) to allow members of the public to pay their respects to the late Queen.
But the cancellation gave the comic the opportunity to improvise a two-hour set and he generously footed the interval drinks bill for the crowd.
Mr Watson’s tweeted invitation meant a sizeable crowd had already gathered when he arrived outside the town centre venue.
He said: “It was kind of an unusual situation. I had a lovely time. I’m not sure how many people turned out but it was quite a lot more than I expected and it was pretty fun I think.”
The open-air gig began with the tweet in which he said: “It’s disappointing, and I already have my train tickets so I’ll be outside the venue at 7.30pm for a (free) unofficial gig."
Mr Watson, 42, led the audience through the town centre to the Market Place outside the Kino Lounge with passers-by and a teenage heckler joining the throng.
Entertaining the crowd he included a Kettering-based quiz and explained why he doesn’t think he’ll ever be invited on James Acaster’s Off Menu podcast.
Mr Watson said he understood why the Arts Centre had made its decision.
He said: “I respect everyone who wishes to observe this period of mourning by not doing this sort of thing but I think it is also nice that people have the opportunity to have things like entertainment and sport and other things because, at the end of the day, we’re quite a resilient nation.
“I didn’t know the Queen, obviously, but I think she’d have not minded what people did as long as it increased the net happiness of people.”
Saying that the bill was ‘a matter between him and his bank manager’, he admitted had made a mental calculation before offering to pay for the six bottles of wine and 20 pints of beer supplied by staff of the Kino Lounge.
He also pledged his support for the Save Weekley Hall Wood campaign after hearing of the popular petition.
Rev Tom Houston, manger of Kettering Arts Centre and vicar of St Andrew’s Church, said: “Mark had been upset that we had had to postpone the gig that night resulting in his decision to hold an impromptu comedy night outside the main building.
“Once we explained that the Arts Centre was in the church building and was expected to be open as a place of mourning for the Queen, he understood why we postponed and was happy to take our suggestion of a walking tour to the market square. It sounded like that worked really well and who knows, we might have started a new thing.”
Mr Watson has previously held walking comedy tours during the Edinburgh Fringe.
He added: “To the people of Kettering who came, thank you for supporting this gig, and to the remaining 60,000 or so, sorry you missed it.”
His show This Can’t Be It has been rescheduled by Kettering Arts Centre for Wednesday, November 23.