As the weather heats up, live comedy usually drifts away on holiday or into festival tents – not in Manchester though. This June there’s all sorts of comedic shenanigans going on. Edinburgh festival previews, big touring shows, and of course those all-year-round regular nights that keep the circuit going.
The Alternative Comedy Trio, The Dancehouse, Wed June 1, £16 – £17.50
A truly spectacular line up of three of the most innovative comedians around. Simon Munnery (who has been known to blow bubbles out of his hat), Josie Long (whose work ranges from the home-made to the political), and – as random as he can be delightfully sinister – Kevin Eldon.
Barking Tales, Zombie Shack, Wed June 1, £5
This month Rob Rouse and James Meehan take on the chat looking at the humorous side of their mental health. All proceeds to Manchester Mind.
The Frog and Bucket and The Comedy Store, from Thu June 2, all month
The Frog and Bucket and The Comedy Store are the only dedicated comedy venues in the city and boy do they put a lot of comedy on. As well as the regular weekend stand-up shows, every Thursday, Friday and Saturday nights there are plenty of extra shows too.
The Store has two new act nights – Alex Boardman’s New Comedians on June 19 where the performers are handpicked by the seasoned pro himself. And the King Gong amateur acts competition on Sun June 5. The Frog’s equivalent is Beat the Frog every Monday. Plus there are new material nights – at the Store it’s New Stuff on Sundays 12 and 26 and at the Frog WIP on Wed 29.
Elsewhere the Frog plays host to the regional heat of So You Think You’re Funny? – the long-running nationwide new act competition on Sun 19. There’s black comedy night Laff Til Ya Fart on Sun 5 and the culmination of the club’s latest comedy course in a showcase a week later on the 12th. Then at the end of the month all-female line-up Laughing Cows on Sun 26 and Lip Synch Battle on Tue 28.
Group Therapy Edinburgh previews, Deaf Institute, Thu June 2 (and the following three Thursdays), £5 (£30 for all four)
Group Therapy comedy has built an outstanding reputation as a comedy club and here they present Edinburgh previews from acts that are sure to be the ones to catch at the Fringe this year. Paul Foot and John Robertson double up on June 2, Nish Kumar and Will Franken on the 9th, Carl Donnelly and Andrew O’Neill on the 16th and Fin Taylor and Sarah Kendall on the 23rd.
Comedy at Chorlton Irish Club, Fri June 3, £12 (£10 adv)
In a spectacular attack of forward planning, promoter Rob Riley has booked in veteran stand-up Dave Johns to headline the monthly Chorlton gig – just two weeks after Ken Loach’s I, Daniel Blake, the film in which he stars, won a Palme D’Or at Cannes.
Lettuce Laugh, The Bowling Green, Fri June 3, £9 or £7 in adv
More Chorlton comedy with the incredible musical looping abilities of Vince Atta plus support from Katie Mulgrew, Rahul Kholi and Jonathan Paylor.
Max and Ivan, The Lowry, Sun June 5, £10 – £12
The pair vividly create all the characters who inhabit Sudley-on-Sea, the doomed seaside town rapidly approaching ‘The End’. Olesker and Gonzales produce another critically acclaimed sketch show while running about like the proverbial blue-bottomed insect playing all the roles.
XSMalarkey, Pub/Zoo, Every Tuesday, £5 (£3 members)
As ever Tuesday night means a great line up from the long-running comedy night. This month there’s perennial Edinburgh award nominee James Acaster on the 7th, idiosyncratic Canadian John Hastings on the 14th, the garrulous Nish Kumar on the 21st and our local award-winning oddball Phil Ellis and the equally inventive Mat Ewins double up on the 28th.
Sophie Willan, The Lowry, Fri 10 and Sat 11 June, £10 – £12
We’d be very surprised if Willan wasn’t a household name by the end of the decade. One of the hardest grafting natural comics, her Boltonian charm is only matched by the depth of her accent. In On Record she looks back at her experience in and out of care.
Brennan Reece and Friends, Kings Arms, Sat June 11, Price TBC
New monthly night with another rising star of the local circuit. Crowned English Comedian of the Year last year, Reece has recently returned from appearing at the festivals in Australia. Another one to keep an eye on – plus his mum is very proud.
Grumpy Old Women, Palace Theatre, Thu June 16, £29 – £45
They’ve been touring the Grumpy show for years now but they still haven’t run out of grump. Or funnies. Head grumper Jenny Éclair is joined by Kate Robbins and Susie Blake. Feisty mature ladies let rip.
Joe Lycett, The Dancehouse, Fri June 17, £12 – £14
Ploughing on with his pun-filled show titles with That’s the Way, A-ha, A-ha, Joe Lycett – Lycett continues to dish out the gags at a fast old pace.
David Cross, Manchester Academy, Sat June 18, £22.50
One half of the legendary Mr Show with Bob and David, with Bob Odenkirk (Saul Goodman no less) Cross brings his latest stand up show to the UK. Making America Great Again. Oh, if only it was Cross who had got the Republican nomination.
Puppetry of the Penis, Palace Theatre, Sat June 18, £24 – £39
Warning: this show will contain genitals. And some eye-watering contortions. The penis manipulation phenomena continues with this latest show. Remember don’t try this at home, not unless you like bruising.
XS Malarkey charity gig in aid of Psoriasis Association, Sun June 19, £5 (£3 members)
A sufferer himself, Toby Hadoke hosts a special charity gig for the skin condition. With deadpan punster Gary Delaney.
Croft and Pearce, The Lowry, Sun June 19, £10 – £12
Slick and smart sketches from the duo. Praising reviews and continuing success on BBC Radio 4 attest to the pair’s skills at penning a tight set of skits.
MACE, Kosmonaut, Mon June 20, £3
Manchester’s Alternative Comedy Emporium presents barking man-child Joz Norris plus prolific writer and Welsh lady Jenny Collier. For just three quid.
Delightful Sausage, Castle Hotel, Wed June 22, £4 (£2 conc)
As bats as their moniker, true to form the Sausages present their Christmas special. Well, get in there early.
Fast Fringe, The Dancehouse, Fri June 24, £15 – £12.50
Every year at the Edinburgh Fringe the comedy website Chortle produce a show in which acts at the Fringe perform a few minutes of their material to entice in punters. Here, they showcase acts in the Manchester Fringe as well as local acts heading to Edinburgh this year.
Sara Pascoe, The Lowry, Sat June 25, £15
Pascoe’s star continues on the up with her telly appearances and award nods. Here she considers ‘Animals’ in particular the human kind – the most fascinating and complex one of them all.
D.A.F.T., The Dancehouse, Sat June 25, £8
Another night of utter nonsense presented by three of the best character comedians around. Sir Randolph Tempest introduces off the wall goings on from Lee Fenwick and Keith Carter.
Sidekick Comedy, On Bar, Mon June 27, £2
The cosy Monday comedy night changes venues. This month Edinburgh previews from Kiri Pritchard-Mclean as she gears up to the festival and Sophie Willan with On Record.
By Marissa Burgess, Comedy Editor
Sara Pascoe photo credit: The Lowry
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