Some clubs might be taking time off in the month of baubles and too much chocolate, but the ones sticking it out are making up for it with a load of festive comedy. From northern raffles to glamorous drag queens, musical smut to comedy legends – bring your own tinsel.
Barbara Nice Christmas Special, The Lowry, Fri 1 Dec, £16.50 – £18.50
Well this is going to be a bit fancy. Stockport mother-of-five and lover of a bargain and leopard print presents her Christmassy show that promises a tombola, mince pies and a raffle. Guaranteed to be joyous.
Comedy @ Chorlton Irish Club, Fri 1 Dec, £12 (£10 adv)
This month with the as-funny-as-he-is-clever Nick Doody, Phoenix Nights’ Archie Kelly and class warrior James Meehan. The irrepressible Martin Mor comperes.
Blimey, the diaries at the Frog and the Store this month are more stuffed than a turkey loose in the Paxo factory. On the bill this month there are extra stand up nights as well as touring shows and Christmas specials.
So, at the Comedy Store, alongside all the festive compilation nights, there is the regular monthly gong night King Gong on Sun 3 with gongmeister Mick Ferry. New Stuff, where pro comics try out fresh material as overseen by the wise Toby Hadoke on just one Sun this month, the 10th. Plus, seasoned local comedian Alex Boardman’s chooses his favourite New Comedians on Sun 17.
Elsewhere, there’s a Christmas Special from uber improvisers Noise Next Door on Tue 5. Then on Mon 11, MAD Mad Mondays Manchester goes festive with games, prizes and, of course, comedy from MC Aurie Styla, Kane Brown, Maureen Younger and Kae Kurd. The following day, on Tue 12, one of the acts who has been hugely successful at crossing over the mainstream and alternative circuits, Mick Miller, performs bringing some friends too – the Phoenix Nights star and co-writer Neil Fitzmaurice and the legend in wellies that is Jimmy Cricket.
Then on Mon 18 Justin Moorhouse marks a week to go before Doctor Who day with a performance of his latest solo show People and Feelings.
On Sun 3 there’s a special charity event Giggle Aid to raise money for the Red Cross with Mr Sinha again, Red Dwarf’s Norman Lovett and a whole host of great acts. Tues 5 sees former Amateur Transplants front man Adam Kay drop in with his Smutty Songs.
Leeds’ Comedy Discount Checkout pop in on Sun 10 for an improv workshop and following show. Work in Progress this month is on Wed 13 and all proceeds will go to homeless charity Big Change MCR.
All black comedians’ comedy night Laff Til Ya Fart returns to the club on Sun 17 Christmas special. Then rounding off the touring shows this year are fast up and coming comedy rap duo
Harry and Chris, here on Tues 19.
Of course, both clubs will have big New Year’s Eve shows to end the year – take your pick.
Mawaan Rizwan, Contact Theatre, Sat 2 Dec, £10 (£6 conc)
Rizwan’s new show Twerk In Progress promises to be ‘a joyous and surreal celebration of the profound meaningless of life.’ Certainly, one to catch.
James Acaster, The Lowry, Sun 3 Dec, £19.50
The idiosyncratic stand up is on a book tour to promote his new book Classic Scrapes. As you might have gathered from the title Acaster has brought together tales of all his ‘farcical misadventure’ for our amusement.
The Didsbury Comedy Club, Didsbury Cricket Club, £7; Heaton’s Comedy Evening, Heaton’s Sports Club, £8.50. Sun 3 Dec.
Nicky Doody and Howard Read do the swapping about between gigs while Sara Barron provides the support at Didsbury with Stephen Bailey as compere. Meanwhile at Heaton’s it’s Alun Cochrane who emcees and Andy Stedman supports.
Faulty Towers Dining Experience, The Lowry, Sun 3 – Wed 6 Dec, £49.50
How about eating your tea while getting bawled out by Basil? Or dodging soup precariously delivered by Manuel? The Aussie theatre troupe’s interactive dining experience inspired by the similarly named classic 70s sitcom. Price includes your dinner as well as some amusing embarrassment.
Trapdoor Comedy, Old Pint Pot, Mon 4 Dec; Solomon’s, Tue 5 Dec, Old Monkey, Wed 6 Dec. £5
This month Trapdoor welcomes highly acclaimed Scottish comic Fern Brady to the Pint Pot and Solomon’s plus there’s a special Christmassy guest at the Old Monkey. It may, or may not be Santa doing his first stand up set.
Just three gigs, well two technically, in the run up to Christmas. On Tues 5, XS welcomes the delightfully bats Lou Sanders and the following week, on Tues 12, it’s the turn of sketch troupe Princes of Main to headline. But then on Tues 19, it’s the legendary XS Christmas Party. No show as such but it will be a spectacle with karaoke, games, booze and a sausage roll or three.
The Vaudevillians, Contact Theatre, Thu 7 – Sat 9 Dec, £25 (£20 conc)
Winner of RuPaul’s Drag Race, Jinkx Monsoon, brings her bawdy and rowdy musical comedy to Contact. With backing from Major Scales. Fun will be had.
Dead Cat Comedy, Sand Bar, Mon 11 Dec, PWYW
In a festive coup Dead Cat has bagged Jesus for a stand-up gig. No wait, it’s Jay Handley but he looks like Jesus so that’s festive enough.
Paul ‘Silky’ White & Friends: Live Comody. Spelt Wrong on Purpose, Fallow, Thu 14 Dec, £9 (£7 conc)
Though audiences flock to the big telly names when they are out on tour, there are some on the live circuit that deserve as much attention for just doing their thing on the stand up, the artist formerly known as Silky is one of them. Musical comedy mixed with a dollop of whimsy and a touch of cheek. Delightful Sausage’s Amy Gledhill and sharp American Kate McCabe are his up and coming guests.
Tickets for any Kitson show, quite rightly, sell out in seconds as has this one. Still you could try begging people for spares or hang around outside with a glass against the wall. Here he takes his Christmas show from 2014 on tour. It will be a thing of beauty. And feature toffees.
There’s loads of comedy after this date, but it’s all in the Frog and Store listings.
Mon 25 Dec. Probably no live comedy today. So, you’ll have to settle for a rerun of Morecambe and Wise’s 1977 Christmas Special on Gold. Or Uncle Dave ‘performing’ the cracker jokes.
Off The Rails, Royal George, Wed 27 Dec, £10
Celebrate having eaten too many sprouts by hiking up to Saddleworth for this fine gig. Arch dandy Troy Hawke, the always misbehaving Sally Anne Hayward and support from the imaginative Edy Hurst are introduced by Oldham’s own Mick Ferry.
Loads of New Year stuff. See above. See you in the ‘18.
By Marissa Burgess, Comedy Editor
To read our interview with Adam Kay, click here.