Back in the day the only amusement people could find during the month of May was to continually circle a massive pole dangling with ribbons. Thank god we now have stand-up comedy to watch. Here’s where to catch it in Manchester.

There are so many Maypole dancing alternatives at the Comedy Store and the Frog and Bucket this month, almost every day of the week. Line-ups of pro stand-ups from Thursdays through to Saturdays each week at both clubs. Then there’s the weekly amateur gong night, Beat the Frog, at the Frog and Bucket each Monday. Meanwhile the Store’s gong night, King Gong, is on Sun 7th with Mick Ferry keeping order. In addition, the club has New Comedians on Sun 21st, where seasoned act Alex Boardman showcases his favourite new acts. Elsewhere at the Store there’s New Stuff night where pro acts test out their fresh material on Sun 14th whereas the Frog’s equivalent Work In Progress (WIP) is on Wed 10th.  As ever the Frog plays host to Laughing Cows’ all female line-up on Sun 28th this month where Kerry Leigh introduces Angela Barnes, Catherine Bohart and Cally Beaton. And the improv night Comedy Discount Checkout is on Sun 21st.Comedy Store

Frog and BucketAs for special touring shows, The Store invites Glaswegian legend Limmy to come and chat about his book That’s Your Lot on Tue 16th.  Meanwhile the Frog has a star of RuPaul’s Drag Race Trixie Mattel on Sun 7th and all Asian line-up Desi Central where on Thu 11th Patrick Monahan introduces Don Biswas, Omar Hamdi and Mickey Sharma.

XSMalarkey, Pub/Zoo, Every Tuesday, £3 members, £5 non-members

Another month, another fine, fine line-up from the Malarkey lot. Kicking off the month on the 2nd are the off the wall talents of Ben Target, on 9th it’s the turn of Sean McLoughlin with his smart gags. Middle of the month on the 16th there’s word trickery from Rhys James, the 23rd is yet to be announced then at the end of the month on 30th is South African stand up Cokey Falkow.

First Thursday Comedy, Bury Met and Ramsbottom Civic Hall, Thu 4 May, £10

Doubling up at both of these Lancashire gigs are aptly named Scottish comedian John Scott and cheeky Jewish old-timer Sol Bernstein.

Thick Richard’s Swear School, Contact Theatre, Wed 3 – Sat 6 May, £11, £6 conc

The waspish wordsmith teaches you all you need to know about profanity. And if anyone can teach you swear in style it’s Thick Richard.

Tony Law, The Lowry, Fri 5 May, £17.50

Lord knows what Law is likely to do on stage. In fact, scrap that it’s doubtful that an all-seeing god would know what to expect. Truly one of the most idiosyncratic comedy talents around. In his own words – “This show is a code. The words are all jumbled up but when you put them in the right order the wormhole opens up.”

Comedy @ Chorlton Irish Club, Fri 5 May, £12 /£10 adv

This month at the Chorlton gig there’s musical topicality from Mitch Benn, sophistication from Alistair Barrie and English Comedian of the Year Josh Pugh. MC is Raymond Mearns.XSMalarkey

Bridget Christie, The Lowry, Sat 6 May, £19.50

Because You Demanded It was frankly the most astounding show at the Edinburgh Fringe last year. Written in the short space of time between the EU referendum and the beginning of August, this was Christie’s passionate, moving and hugely funny response to Brexit. And what’s more it includes a fuchsia metaphor.

Let’s See What Happens, King’s Arms, Sat 6 May, £3

If you like your comedy unpredictable check out this improv show from the Comedy Sportz team.

Group Therapy Comedy, Gorilla, Sat 6 May, £12, £10 conc

He’s rude, aloof, snooty and hilariously French. Professional Gaul Marcel Lucont pops in to insult us all, and don’t we just love it.

Brass Eye 20th Anniversary, Gorilla, Sun 7 May, £15

A celebration of it being two decades since the inception of Chris Morris’ audacious and brilliant satire Brass Eye. What better way to celebrate than spending the afternoon watching all six episodes plus Brass Eye director Michael Cumming’s new film Oxide Ghosts: The Brass Eye Tapes.

Comedy at the Lowry, Sun 7 May

Once again, it’s a full sweep of comedy at the Lowry tonight. Laid back wisdom from the South states with Reginald D Hunter (£26.50), Irish sketch trio Foil, Arms and Hog (£16.50 – £18.50) and wheelchair-using comedian Laurence Clark (£12, £10 conc) talks Independence.

The Didsbury Comedy Club, Didsbury Cricket Club, £7 and The Heatons Comedy Evening, The Heatons Sports Club, £7.50 Sun 7 May

This month Matt Richardson and Paul Pirie double up while Amy Howerska supports and Andrew Ryan emcees in Didsbury and Tom King supports and Alun Cochrane comperes at The Heatons.

Trapdoor Comedy, Solomons, Tues 9 & The Old Monkey, Wed 10 May, £5

With the brilliantly idiosyncratic Canadian John Hastings. Tony Basnett comperes plus full support.Dead Cat comedy club

Dead Cat Comedy, Sand Bar, Wed 10 May, Pay What You Want

This month Dead Cat presents engaging Aussie storyteller Sarah Bennetto.

Andy Parsons, The Lowry, Thu 11 May, £18.50

Possibly the most impersonated comedian, the as-seen-on-Mock-The-Week Parsons cuts through the Peak Bullsh*t.

Manford’s Comedy Clubs, Hope Mill Theatre, Fri 12 May, £12.50

Jason Manford’s very own chain of comedy clubs pops into the delightfully quirky Hope Mill Theatre. With star turns from Canadian stand-up Dana Alexander and master of the character act – Milo McCabe.

Movie and Comedy Night, Antwerp Mansion, Sun 14 May, £2

Like it says on the tin, a showing of Will Ferrell’s Anchorman plus comedy from comedic juggler Steve Royle plus Kevin Caswell-Jones the comedy grandad from Wales. Roland Gent emcees.

The Delightful SausageDelightful Sausage, Gullivers, Wed 17 May, £4

Chris Cantril and Amy Gledhill introduce another evening of glorious oddities with Cheekykita closing the show with ‘her trademark mix of spectacular vision and non-linear thinking’. Plus there’s Hal Branson, Christian Talbot and Frank Foucault in support.

Kieran Hodgson, The Lowry, Sat 20 May, £12, £10 conc

Deservedly Hodgson received his second nomination for an Edinburgh Comedy Award for this show Maestro; after hearing the music of Gustav Mahler in 2003, 13 years later he decided to write a symphony.

Comedy For Christies, The Lowry, Sun 21 May, £15

Annual comedy charity event in aid of the cancer hospital. With previous stars of the show including Sarah Millican, it’s bound to be another special line up.

Geoff Norcott, The Lowry, Sun 21 May, £12, £10 conc

Norcott is a rare breed, a conservative Brexiteer on the comedy circuit. In Conswervative he explains how a trade unionist’s son who was brought up on a council estate turned to the blue side.

Brennan Reece, Kings Arms, Sun 21 May, Free

Reece returns to the Fringe this August with Everlong his follow-up to the highly acclaimed and newcomer award nodded Everglow. Here’s your chance to catch it in Salford first, and for no pennies at all.

Stewart Lee, The Lowry, Mon 22 – Thu 25 May, £25.50

Content Provider is Lee’s first full length show since 2011’s award winning Carpet Remnant World. Bound to be a master class in how to poke a stick at the ant hill of comedy.

Katy Brand, The Lowry, Thu 25 May, £16.50

In I Was A Teenage Christian, Brand relives her self-imposed evangelical Christian days where she put ‘the “fun” into fundamentalism…and the “mental”.’.Jonny-&-the-Baptists---Eat-the-Poor---PR-image-1-(image-by-Anna-Soderblom)

Lettuce Laugh at The Slug and Lettuce, Fri 26 May, £8 adv or £10 on the door

This month with the former rapper from Little Hulton Steve Harris, former teacher from Brum Karen Bayley and self-confessed metal head Howard Walker. MC Jonathan Paylor.

Johnny and the Baptists, The Lowry, Sat 27 May, £12, £10 conc

In Eat The Poor the topical musical duo are split as Jonny takes an opportunity that sees him living the high life while Paddy is made homeless. ‘A riotously funny epic about friendship, inequality and betrayal.’

Comedy Gala for CAFT, The Lowry, Sat 27 May, £42.50Jon Richardson

Jason Manford, John Bishop and John Thomson host this charity night in aid of Children’s Adventure Farm Trust with a line-up of top comedians.

Bilal Zafar, The Lowry, Sun 28 May, £12, £10 conc

Zafar was nominated for the comedy newcomer award at the Edinburgh Fringe last year for this show, which tells the tale of how he responded to the abuse he received when his twitter handle @zafarcakes was mistaken for a Muslim-only bakery.

Jon Richardson, The Lowry, Mon 29 – Wed 31 May, £24

Hilarious lugubrious pedantry from the 70-year-old in a young(ish) man’s body, Richardson has a cardi and he’s unafraid to wear it.

By Marissa Burgess, Comedy Editor