One to Watch in 2010: Mark Nelson

Scottish comedians recommend Glasgow's <strong>Mark Nelson</strong> as the number one to keep an eye out for this year.

Feature by Lizzie Cass-Maran | 01 Jan 2010
  • Act of the Year for 2010: Mark Nelson

If you really want to know about comedians, ask another comic. Once you go through the usual, obvious and dubious recommendations of people’s best mates, then stop off via "Do you know who’s really off their game just now?" (no-one can bitch like a comic can bitch), you get some genuine and well-informed tips from people in the know.

And when The Skinny asked comedians for their top tips for acts in 2010, one name came up time and time again: Mark Nelson. Nelson only started stand up in 2005; doing some of his first five minute slots at Red Raw and various backstreet pubs, he very quickly gained a reputation as one of the best open spots. For less than five years in the game, he has now risen through the ranks at amazing speed and was last notably seen supporting Jim Jeffries in Glasgow last October.

Recommendations for Mark came from all quarters but none were so eloquent as Keir McAllister, who tells us: "His writing is so slick, his delivery so deliciously honed and his on-stage presence so demanding. I was lucky enough to be on the bill with Mark at a gig in Cumbernauld Theatre this year. The 100-strong audience ranged from a family complete with a 14 year old son sitting on the front row, a gaggle of gin-fuelled grannies who had got the date for the Joe Longthorne tribute act mixed up, and a clump of docile drama students all trying to out-cool each other with lies about all the comedy gigs they had been to. It was a disparate audience, some might say a challenging one. After a first half that went well, considering, Nelson came on. I watch a lot of comedy but I know this is one of those performances I’ll remember in years to come. At one point I remember glancing round the room and every single face was contorted with laugher, wet with tears – it was just one of those rare magical moments where comedy transcends everything else and you suddenly realise how important laughing at life is."

To witness the new heights that Nelson can rise to in 2010, you can see him, amongst other places, at his Glasgow International Comedy Festival show Mark Nelson: Offending the Senses at The Stand on 28 March. Also look out for his first ever solo show at this year’s Edinburgh Fringe Festival.