We’re one whole year old today! It has been a year since we set about reviewing all the best live comedy Manchester has to offer and it has been a weird and wonderful year! We’ve been to over 40 gigs, seen more than 100 acts, drank more than 200 pints, had over 4000 visitors to our site and worn 1 wig. So what were our best bits? Well why don’t we tell you…
Best act you’ve seen on the Manchester circuit?
Eugene: There’s been some great acts and the standard has been very high but I think Liam Pickford has been the standout performer for me. We’ve seen him 3 times and each time he’s been amazing. You have the feeling you could watch him 100 nights in a row and the set would be totally different! I’d say Allyson Smith also came a close second, proper belly laughs and sore cheeks after seeing her! Sadly I never got round to reviewing that night (sorry!)
James: Silky was an act I’d wanted to see for a long time and his set was a real treat. Dan Nightingale was hilarious too.
If I had to pick one though, I’d go for Glenn Moore at XS Malarkey. His jokes are exactly my sort of thing.
Best gig over the last year?
Eugene: Again, some very strong contenders but Dead cat at Sandbar was an amazing night. It was just before Christmas so the audience were in good spirits and it had a really great atmosphere about the place.
James: There have been a couple where loads of acts stood out. The Delightful Sausage are funny enough on their own (as you’ll know if you’ve read their Edinburgh reviews). The night when they had Silky and Mr Javier on the bill was one of my favourites.
Best Comedy night in Manchester?
Eugene: I think as an overall event i’d have to say Sham Bodie. They seem to have a loyal and friendly regular crowd as well as a well put together surreal evening complete with music and free hot dogs!
James: I’d have to agree. It’s got a different feel to the other nights we go to and the range of acts is great. You get plenty of leg-room too, which I’m aware is a proper ‘old man’ criteria.
Best Compere on the circuit?
Eugene: MCing seems something difficult to master but there are a few we’ve seen who are great at bringing the audience on board and warming them up well for the main acts. Dan Nightingale is a seasoned professional and Ben Tonge at Sham Bodie is brilliant but I think my favourite was Katie Mulgrew, who seen both at the Klondyke Komedy club and hosting the Chortle Student Awards. She has a very warm and friendly manner and able to bring a room together well.
James: Lou Conran called my old boss a cunt. That was pretty uncomfortable! He isn’t, but she decided he was and to be fair, it was a pretty compelling watch.
Best venue we’ve visited on our travels?
Eugene: A lot of the venues we were familiar with already as they are usual drinking haunts but I was a big fan of the Castle. Only a small room but has real character and has a great selection of beers (I may have been swayed by their selection of Cumbrian ales!). The Delightful Sausage is a great night as well and ran Sham Bodie close for the best night!
James: I think we tend to be drawn to nights that are in venues we already know we like, so finding a new one is always nice. I really liked Morley Cheek’s. I’d not been before, but if I’m ever in Chorlton, I’ll definitely be going again.
Most random thing to happen at a gig?
Eugene: For me it has to Joz Norris getting you (James) on stage! The wig bit was beautifully brilliant as it was awkward especially as it was very much a ‘there for the grace of God go I moment’!
James: I think the whole Comedy for Sale experience, to be honest. It’s a shame it finished as it was about five minutes from my house, but comedy gigs in rowdy restaurants just don’t work.
One(s) to watch?
Eugene: There is some serious talent knocking about Manchester! I think the majority of acts we’ve seen have been good but for me the two standout acts have been Simon Lomas and Jamie Hutchinson. Two acts we’ve seen a few times over the last 12 months and i’ve been more impressed with each time and noticed how their set gets tighter and better crafted. Clearly starting to perfect their style and adding new material which fits the flow of their act well.
James: Simon Lomas, definitely. His performance style is absolutely brilliant and his punchlines are always spot on.
We’ve seen Hannah Platt a few times too. If you like your comedy dark (and I do), you should definitely look out for her.