SCOTTISH comedian Mark Nelson spoke with the Sunday National about the 10 things that changed his life. 

1. My grandad

WHEN I was younger, I spent a lot of time at my grandparents' house during the summer and my grandad was the first one that kind of showed me comedy, to be honest.

At the time, it was probably massively unsuitable what I was watching but he showed me Airplane and Blazing Saddles. That’s what spurred my interest in comedy.

I remember watching An Audience With Billy Connolly. That got me into stand-up.

And I was bizarrely obsessed with Comic Relief. Every single year it was on, I used to tape it and was fascinated by the fact that there was such a different array of comedy. And then the stand-up would be on later in the night ...

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But I credit my grandad for introducing me to the world of live comedy.

2. T In The Park

IT was pretty much everything to me when I was a teenager. I went to every single T In The Park from its first year until its final one - apart from one, which was when my daughter was born. She turned up three weeks late and I’ve never really forgiven her for it.

When it first started, I was 13 and my dad took me and my pal. It was those formative years, but I’d never really hugely been into music but then Britpop came along. I think the first year was Rage Against The Machine and Kylie and then you had Oasis and Radiohead and Blur.

That’s when my teenage years started. After discovering Oasis, I more or less changed my entire personality overnight.

The two best acts I ever saw at T In The Park were in 1996 when Radiohead played and I was absolutely blown away. It was the first time I was mesmerised by a band on stage.

The other one was Beyoncé in 2011.  She was one of the biggest stars but didn’t actually headline.

I liked some of her music but I was there with my wife so we all went along and it’s one of the best shows I’ve ever seen in my life.

3. My children

MY wee girl was born in 2013, my wee boy was born in 2015 and they’ve both helped me in terms of my comedy career in different ways. My wee boy is genuinely the funniest person I have ever met in my life. He has incredible comic timing that is far too mature for his age.

I mean, I hope he never becomes a comedian, I hope he does a lot better for himself than that but he’s just the funniest wee guy.

And my wee girl. Me and her used to do videos for the BBC. They’d seen a couple of posts I’d put up about various laughs I had with my daughter and asked if we’d ever considered doing it as videos.

It worked out that I played this stupid person and she was this three-year-old explaining what was going on. The first four or five did okay, but then we did one at Christmas time which went well but then at Easter, it went what is now known as viral.

Something like 250 million people watched worldwide and people like Ashton Kutcher retweeted it, Ellen DeGeneres retweeted it, so it was genuinely mental and that brought me a different audience and introduced me to a lot more folk.

The Fringe I did after that was the biggest one I’ve done and it was a mixed crowd which was interesting.

4. Covid

IT was obviously a massive shock but particularly for stand-ups because our entire place is based in the exact kind of place you couldn’t go to, so everything was completely shut down.

We didn’t really know whether we’d ever have a job to come back to and then a guy called Richard Melvin who runs Dabster Productions approached me because we’d been working on stuff.

He went to The Stand Comedy Club very early on, saying we reckon we can do this in terms of a live show every single Saturday night but it would just go online. We didn’t really know how it would go but it completely changed my career.

I was doing a monologue every single week so I was writing topical jokes. I almost did it like an American talk show host. The first time we did it in an empty Stand is the most nervous I’ve ever been in my life as you didn’t know if anyone was watching.

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It was a shot in the dark but it became a real joy doing it to no audience because it loosened you up and by the end, I was trying stuff on stage I wouldn’t have had the guts to do. It’s far and away the proudest I’ve been in my career.

5. The Barrowland Ballroom

BEING a massive music fan, I’ve been [to] Barrowland loads and seen pretty much every single one of my favourite acts there. I was lucky early on in my career to play it and that was a turning point again in comedy. It was the biggest show I’d done. I supported Jim Jefferies.

Very few comedy shows are done there and I don’t know why because it’s an iconic venue. I’d supported Jim previously so he asked me to come along again and it was phenomenal.

The National: Barrowland sign, Glasgow

Jim is one of my favourite comedians anyway, but to do it in Glasgow - to just walk backstage and see the pictures of people who had been back there and get up on stage where Oasis have played, Queen - it felt very, very special.

6. Jaws

IT'S my favourite film of all time. I think it is a perfect film. I wouldn’t change a second of it and I think it was one of the first films that I saw that I absolutely fell in love with.

After that, it pretty much created an obsession I had with films to the point where I decided that was what I wanted to do with my life. I didn’t have much of a plan to leave Dumfries but the University of Glasgow did a film studies course and that’s the reason I ended up moving there.

My idea was to write films but the course wasn’t as practical as I thought it was going to be. It was a lot more critical and in-depth but by that point, I was at university and loved living in Glasgow so I knew it was going to be my home.

I loved being at uni as well, so I stuck in and finished my degree but moved into politics which I ended up getting a degree in so that reframed the comedy a bit. But I still think if I hadn’t watched Jaws, I wouldn’t have pursued that kind of career or ended up in Glasgow.

7. My friend Ross

WE used to work together. When I left university, naturally there were no jobs going at all and I ended up actually working in the stockroom of Topshop. And that’s where I met Ross who remains a very good pal.

Up until that point, I’d loved stand-up on videos and TV but had never really seen it live and was a bit ignorant to the fact [that] there were clubs. He suggested we go along to The Stand in Glasgow and that was the first time I got exposed to live stand-up.

I found it jaw-dropping how good this actually was and how unique an experience it was live. I just thought "even if I’m not good at this, I need to try it" because it was incredible.

8. Shed Seven lead singer Rick Witter

LIKE I said, I used to go to a lot of music festivals and there was a very short-lived festival called Live At Loch Lomond which was on the banks of the loch. It only lasted for two years.

By this point, I was working with Scottish Power and had met my wife. We worked in different teams but had the same group of friends.

We went to this festival and it was torrential. Absolutely biblical stuff - we couldn’t move at all. Me and my wife had been seeing each other and we ended up in this tent where folk were sheltering.

Rick Witter was doing a DJ set and he played Don’t Look Back In Anger at the end and it’s one of the moments when everyone was pretty drunk, had warmed up a wee bit in the tent and during that song, it was the first time I told my now-wife that I loved her.

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That was the moment when I realised I was going to spend the rest of my life with this girl.

9. My recycling bins

I STARTED writing a routine about recycling because I’d moved from a flat into a house and it was the first time we’d ever had multiple bins. I became obsessed with our bin schedule and started writing stand-up about it.

There was a pilot for a radio show called The Good, The Bad And The Unexpected. I was a guest on there and the idea is you’d tell anecdotes so I told mine about these recycling bins and it went down really well.

As a result, the producer then phoned me about a month later saying the BBC was commissioning the series but they liked my bit about the bins so much, they asked if I wanted to host it.

I’d never hosted anything at that point but I did it and we’re now onto about series 16. So that one bit about bins led to me to getting my own show on the radio.

10. A stone called Tony

TONY the stone. I did my Fringe show about this one year.

Basically, when I first went to university, I struggled with the move and stuff like that. I always knew there was something kind of up with me and then while I was at university, I went back home and was miserable. I went to the doctor and was diagnosed with depression.

I've pretty much had that since. I’d always shied away from doing comedy about it because I didn’t know how to tackle it.

But when my wee girl first came along, there was a period after she was born that I was in a bad, bad way. She found me crying and I was pretty ashamed she’d found me like this but she got this painting kit and got a stone from our garden and put a wee smiley face on it.

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She gave it to me then and said whenever I was feeling sad then I should just look at this stone and it would remind me of her. She called it Tony. I took it away with me every weekend and remember one night, I went out and got a bit too drunk and ended up losing the stone.

I was devastated but about three weeks later, I found it in the bottom of the toe of a pair of shoes. I’d had a hole in my pocket and it had somehow ended up in there. That’s when I decided to write a show about what I’d gone through.

Mark Nelson's show All The Best is part of this year's Glasgow Comedy Festival and more information can be found HERE