Watson attended Henleaze Junior school and then Bristol Grammar School, where he won the prize of 'Gabbler of the year', before going to Queens' College, Cambridge, where he studied English, gaining a first class degree.
At university he wrote, starred in, and directed a number of plays and comedy sketch shows including two years with the Cambridge Footlights, with whom he was nominated for a Perrier Comedy Award (Best Newcomer) at the 2001 Edinburgh Festival Fringe.
Watson has appeared regularly at the Edinburgh Festival Fringe, winning the first ever Panel Prize at the if.comeddies in 2006 and being nominated for Best Newcomer at the 2005 Perrier Comedy Awards. His other awards include the Time Out Critic's Choice Award 2006 and a Barry Award nomination for best show at the Melbourne Comedy Festival 2006.
Watson has performed several unusual shows at the Edinburgh Fringe and Melbourne Festivals, including marathon shows lasting 24 hours and more. His shows have featured guest appearances from other performers such as Tim Key, Tim Minchin, Adam Hills, Daniel Kitson, David O'Doherty, Brendon Burns and John Dorney as the balladeer.
Watson undertook his first long show at the 2004 Edinburgh Festival Fringe, which lasted 24 hours. At the end of the show he proposed to his girlfriend Emily Howes, who accepted.
At the 2006 Edinburgh Festival Fringe Watson hosted a literary workshop-cum-interactive comedy show entitled Mark Watson, And His Audience, Write A Novel. The aim was to write, by the end of August, a novel≠ begun from scratch and woven entirely from audience suggestions, with another 2,000 words or so added each day. The novel was not finished within the month but the project is set to continue albeit in by an, as yet, undecided method now that the festival has finished. The book so far is posted on the website MySpace.
At the 2007 Fringe, Watson hosted a panel show We Need Answers with Alex Horne and Tim Key. This saw 16 comedians take part in a knock out quiz where all the questions and answers came from text service Any Question Answered. Paul Sinha won the competition, beating Josie Long in the final. We Need Answers returned in 2008 with fewer rounds, Josie Long emerged as winner, beating Sinha in the semi-final and Kristen Schaal in the final.
Watson performed his final 24 hour show at the 2009 Fringe along with his "Earth Summit" and his "Edit". The Earth Summit was Watson's version of the Al Gore talk about world pollution and global warming and the Edit was a compilation of Watson's fringe shows to date, made particularly for those who had not seen him perform there. Watson's debut DVD, titled The Mark Watson Edit is due for release on 15 November 2010.
In 2010, Watson took part in Channel 4's Comedy Gala, a benefit show held in aid of Great Ormond Street Children's Hospital, filmed live at the O2 Arena in London on 30 March.
We Need Answers
A three-episode run of We Need Answers began on BBC Four on 12 February 2009, based on the Edinburgh Fringe show of the same name. As with the live show, Watson co-hosted with Tim Key and Alex Horne. A further 13 episodes were broadcast later in 2009. Guests for the series included Germaine Greer, Michael Rosen and Jilly Goolden.
Watson has made regular appearances on BBC Two's comedy panel show Mock The Week; he has also been a panellist on BBC music quiz show Never Mind The Buzzcocks four times...once as guest captain and once as presenter...in addition to appearing on current affairs panel show Have I Got News for You. He has appeared on the popular BBC panel show Would I Lie To You? and he also makes regular appearances on panel show cum debate programme Argumental.
Watson appeared as a talking head in Armando Iannucci's spoof documentary series Time Trumpet.
In Australia, Watson has been seen on Rove, Good News Week, Spicks and Specks and the Melbourne International Comedy Festival, all aired in April 2007.
Watson performed stand up on episode one of Michael McIntyre's Comedy Roadshow, aired 7 June 2009.
Mark Watson Makes the World Substantially Better, aired on BBC Radio 4 in February 2007, followed by a second series in August 2008. Both series featured poems by Tim Key and music, performed by Tim Minchin in the first series and Tom Basden in the second. In August 2009, Watson hosted a three-episode series on BBC Radio 5 Live called 100 Million or Bust, where a panel of guests attempted to spend £100 million on transfers as managers of an English Premier League team.
Watson has made regular appearances on the BBC Radio 5 Live show Fighting Talk where he took part in the infamous "pen Gate" against Tom Watt, he also boasted about of his show-biz meetings with Cameron Jerome and Ricardo Fuller.
Watson has written three novels: Bullet Points (2004), A Light-Hearted Look At Murder (2007) and Eleven (2010), published by Chatto and Windus. "Eleven" was released in the Edinburgh Fringe Festival in 2010. He has written another book, Crap at the Environment (2008), following his own efforts to halve his carbon footprint over the course of one year and was the Book of the Week on BBC Radio 4 in the last week of July 2008.
In 2009, Watson appeared in adverts for Magners Pear Cider.As well as this he is also the voice over for the rabbit in an Innocent Smoothies advert in 2010.
On 25 February, Watson presented the 2009 NME Awards at Brixton Academy. At the start of the 2009/2010 season, Watson writes a regular article in the Bristol City official matchday programme Well Red.
In December 2009, Watson's television drama A Child's Christmases in Wales was screened on BBC Four.
On February 17, 2010, Watson started a Ten-Year Blog on his website. To mark his 30th birthday and the imminent birth of his son, Watson has decided to attempt a daily blog lasting ten years to record his thirties. Coinciding with this, Watson pitched the idea of the Ten-Year Self Improvement Challenge or TYSIC for short. Officially beginning on 4 March 2010, Watson invited people to set goals, challenges or resolutions to try to complete in the ten year period. He revealed his own on the March 3, 2010:
To have more courage and conquer his fear of lightning.
To play drums at a live gig or on a record.
To cut down on alcohol so that by his 40th birthday he is drinking 50% less of his current consumption.
To stop comparing himself with other people, both professionally and personally.
Something outlandish: either to meet Barack Obama, cause a change to the laws of the country or to take significant steps to getting into Outer Space.
People were invited to suggest their own aims through comments on his blog and will be able to track their progress on a fans forum.