There’s no holding back the comedy in Manchester in the first month of the year. In fact, you can enjoy a full-on drag show from a victor of RuPaul’s Drag Race on the first day of the year. So, what you waiting for? Get booking the comedy for this inaugural month of 2020 and tell Dry January where it can stick its bottles of pop.
Bianca Del Rio, The Ritz, Wednesday 1 January, £42.50
Celebrate the beginning of 2020 as you mean to go on with plenty of glitz, glam and more glitter than you thought possible on one human being. Originating on the New Orleans circuit, Del Rio was the winner of the sixth season of RuPaul’s Drag Race and has since become a worldwide success.
Of course, there’s no rest for our two amazing dedicated comedy clubs this month. After just a couple of days of at the beginning of 2020, The Comedy Store and the Frog and Bucket are back in there with the quality stand-up.
At The Frog and Bucket there’s the full line up of professional weekend shows including Thursdays, of course. Then, the amateur night in the form of Beat the Frog on every Monday. Plus, the club plays host to the North West Comedy Awards. It’s an industry event but be sure to check out the winners to see who to watch out for over the next year.
Across the city centre at The Comedy Store, they too play host to the weekend shows of great comedy, as well as their monthly gong night King Gong on Sunday 5. New Stuff, where Toby Hadoke comperes pro comics testing out fresh out off the notepad, is on Sunday 12 and 26, and Alex Boardman presents his favourite New Comedians on Sunday 19. Finally, the kids get a clean afternoon of stand up with Comedy Store for Kids on Saturday 18.
MC Martin Mor kicks off the year at this lovely Chorlton gig with the uber stylish Markus Birdman, Geordie favourite Carl Hutchinson and actor, radio presenter and stand up Travis Jay.
Theo Von, The Dancehouse, Saturday 4 and Sunday 5 January, £24.50
Rescheduled Manchester dates for the American comic’s tour Dark Arts. Star of his Netflix special No Offense, as heard on his podcast The Joe Rogan Experience and a podcaster in his own right with This Past Weekend.
Didsbury Comedy Club, Didsbury Cricket Club, £9; Heatons Comedy Night, The Heatons, £10, Sunday 5 January
Doubling up between the south Manchester gigs are the giddily funny Carl Hutchinson and fab storyteller Markus Birdman. Whereas MC Stephen Bailey and support Red Richardson are in Didsbury and at The Heatons Dan Nightingale hosts and Rob Paterson is in the middle.
At the time of going to press, XS were still to confirm their line-ups but, c’mon, anyone who knows this wonderful club knows that they will be fabulous. The club is back on Tuesday 7 and, so far, Tuesday 14 sees brilliant Irish attention seeker Grainne Maguire headline followed by incomparably silly Caroline Mabey on the 21.
Sandi Toksvig, The Lowry, Sunday 12 January, £28.50-£30.50
The beloved Danish comedian continues her campaign to become a National Trevor after a misunderstanding with a friend. Last year’s shows sold out so book in now.
Matt Forde, The Lowry, Tuesday 14 January, £18.50
The leading political comedian promises his last comedy show as an EU citizen, well possibly – with bumbling Boris in charge who knows what will have happened. Anyway, he’ll no doubt have plenty to talk about in Brexit, Pursued By A Bear.
Scott Capurro, The Lowry, Thursday 16 January, £14 (£12 conc)
The wonderfully acerbic San Franciscan comedian. His latest show promises to wrangle with “rich friends, worthy yoga and the miseries of home ownership”.
Showstopper, The Lowry, Thursday 16 – Friday 17 January, £14
This incredibly talented lot have spent 12 years wowing Edinburgh Fringe audiences with their talents. Not only can they improvise, they create a whole musical around. Whichever is your favourite shout it out and they give it the Showstoppers treatment.
Now 30 and considering himself a good person, Harriot ponders why he’s never been in love. This guy’s on the rise, so catch him in the cosy confines of The Lowry’s Studio.
Sinderella, The Dancehouse, Friday 17 and Saturday 18 January, £21.50 (£19.50 conc)
Hi-camp panto with starry performances from the likes of Divina de Campo of RuPaul’s Drag Race UK fame as well Stacy Layne Matthews from RuPaul’s Drag Race US series three and All Stars four.
Justin Moorhouse, The Lowry, Sunday 19 January, £17.50 – £21.50
Feeling redundant as the kids grow up and the elderly dog doesn’t need so much walking, Gorton’s finest considers his place in the world as a Northern Joker.
Max and Ivan, The Lowry, Sunday 19 January, £14 (£12 conc)
In Commitment, the acclaimed duo tells the incredible story of the ridiculous lengths one best man (Max) went to give one groom (Ivan) – a weekend he wasn’t likely to forget in a hurry.
Clinton Baptiste, The Lowry, Tuesday 21 January, £20
Alex Lowe stars as the hapless medium as seen on Peter Kay’s Phoenix Nights now out on tour.
Double Bill: Hiya Anxiety and This Is Not For You (PS Sorry), The Lowry, Wednesday 22 January, £12 (£10 conc)
Deb Gatenby’s Hiya Anxiety gives up an update, five years on, of her life caring for her mum whose memory has completely disappeared. Meanwhile, in This Is Not For You (PS Sorry), second year performance students from Salford Uni perform a part-scripted, part-improvised and part mis-remembered show.
Glenn Moore, The Lowry, Thursday 23 January, £14 (£12 conc)
Tack-sharp comedy delivered at speed but with a grand dollop of silly from this hugely acclaimed comic. Love Don’t Live Here Glenny Moore is his latest show.
Baddiel’s probably had more than his fair share of Trolls: Not The Dolls or, indeed, the goat-bothering kind who are fond of bridges. As for the internet ones that we’re told to ignore but Baddiel can’t help but respond to, he realised there was a whole show in it.
Andrew Lawrence, The Lowry, Sunday 26 January, £14 (£12 conc)
This skilled comedian’s reputation got somewhat tarred of late with some embittered rants on social media. However, one thing he certainly still is is a very good stand-up. Here he is with his latest.
Push Festival, HOME, Wednesday 29 January, £10
A double bill of Edinburgh Fringe shows from the Push Festival. The Delightful Sausage present their latest acclaimed odd ball offering Ginster’s Paradise and Jonny Pelham reveals his heartfelt Off Limits.
Following up his Edinburgh Newcomer award-winning first show, Edelman returns with a show about gorillas that can do sign language and tribalism in Just For Us.
Alexei Sayle, HOME, Friday 31 January – Saturday 1 February £22.50 (£17.50 conc)
Well, this is very exciting. A pioneer of alternative comedy, one of the best stand-ups in the last 40 years and a writer of some wonderfully idiosyncratic stories, Sayle picks up the mic once more.
By Marissa Burgess, Comedy Editor
Main image: Alexei Sayle by Matt Stronge.