For someone who frets, stresses and worries half as much as Mark Watson, the prospect of boarding a 24-hour flight with the risk that they might not be allowed to enter the country at the other end would leave that person in a fraught state.

But the lanky laughmaker has spun the scenario to his advantage, using it as the spark for his latest stand-up show.

It’s called I’m Not Here, but fans will be hoping that’s not the case as far as his scheduled gig at Stevenage’s Gordon Craig Theatre on Friday is concerned.

He admitted: “It doesn’t take much of an incident to make me get an hour of nonsense out there.

“I’ve found an existential jumping-off point from almost anything that happens in life.

“The show is structured around this journey to Australia where I wasn’t sure whether I was going to be allowed in at the other end because of a passport issue.

“The guy at Heathrow said: ‘We can let you on the plane but it will be at their discretion whether or not they let you in’. The passport was totally valid but had a tiny rip in the photo page, which would technically render it invalid.”

The dilemma got him pondering about who and what we are as 21st century human beings.

He said: “We have fewer and fewer physical proof of our identity. In the old days you wouldn’t have had a problem, you’d have a plane ticket and dozens of forms of identity.

“The show has become about the shift from the physical to the virtual and the fact that more and more of the objects that we used to depend on have been replaced by ideas of objects.”

It’s a concept that has helped him steer into deeper waters with this show. “I’ve always had a lot of personal anecdotes, but it’s all generally been quite light,” he said.

“I’m gradually trying to tweak things towards darkness. I tend not to regard some subjects as off-limits these days, and I’ve probably got more confidence that the audience are more interested in hearing what I want to talk about rather than me desperately trying to think about what’s funny and going with that.

“But no matter how serious the territory you get into, the obligation is to try and get a lot of laughs.”

To catch the stand-up, panel show veteran and author in action, visit or call 01438 363200 to check on ticket availability.