The Giftshop that Keeps on Giving

Last year belonged to sketch group Gein's Family Giftshop. Now, it's their turn to tell us who we should be watching out for in 2015 – no pressure, guys

Feature by John Stansfield | 05 Jan 2015

This time last year we asked those in the know around the Northwest which acts we should be looking out for in 2014, to which they invariably answered: Gein’s Family Giftshop. And how right they were. A fantastic year saw the sketch group scoop double prizes at London’s Sketchfest (Best New Sketch Act and the Audience Choice Award) as well as a host of five-star reviews, and enjoy a stellar run at the Edinburgh Fringe, where they bagged a nomination for Best Newcomer at the Foster's Comedy Awards. January will see them perform their show Volume 1 at London’s Soho Theatre.

So, we thought we'd ask the four of them – Jim (the stern one), Kath (the woman one), Ed (the handsome one) and Kiri (the silent one) – if they might turn kingmakers themselves and let us know their current favourites; acts they hope might have as successful a 2015 as they did last year.

Jim picks: Kate McCabe

"An American comic living in Manchester, Kate is funny, irreverent and non-clichéd. She talks about untouched topics, and by that I don’t mean close-to-the-bone subjects, I mean properly untouched topics like Beatrix Potter and gravy. I’ve seen her MC a working men’s club and smash it so I can’t imagine what she’d be like in front of a group of like-minded comic book geeks and video game nerds. She is a true original and deserves to find her audience as soon as possible. Also as a female, gay immigrant she ticks nearly all of the diversity boxes from my friendship group card. What a bloody hero."

Kiri picks: Tom Short

"I think I was at his first gig at Beat the Frog Preston and he was obviously new but clearly had something about him, other than the air of being home educated. He came runner up in the clap-off and I chatted to him afterwards. I think I said something like, "You're going to die loads but that's OK because when you get there no one will be able to do what you do." Tom has an utterly unique world perspective and that's the common factor of really superb standups, in my eyes. He also gigs his balls off and is willing to spend his last penny to get to gigs, and that admirable work ethic is paying off as he’s cleaning up at all the new act competitions.

"He looks so unassuming and then he'll just casually drop in a blinding joke and you realise how great his writing is. Stealth comedy. The best kind."

Ed picks: Sam & Tom

"I immediately took to Sam & Tom (the show not the people), it feels exactly like the kind of thing I would have tried to do as a kid if I’d have lived near any other children, but they’ve succeeded in taking it out of the living room and away from baffled parents to perform in front of real-life people. 

"I thoroughly enjoy watching people bicker while trying to maintain a sense of lighthearted camaraderie, and that’s just what the best parts of Sam & Tom does. Do? I don’t know, what I do know is that I like a good serving of gleeful silliness, and anyone else who do, will find a Happy Meal's worth in Sam & Tom."

Kath picks: GOOSE

"Admittedly this sketch group aren’t Northwest-based, they’re from London town but they’re too ace to not be in our list. GOOSE is a two-man (one silent, Ben, and one not silent, Adam) sketch group, who are occasionally joined by Hatty (an ace musician). This last Edinburgh they did a one-man whodunit show about a hate crime against David Schwimmer. I laughed ridiculously hard for an entire hour, to the point where if I lost all this flab I think I'd've developed some sweet abs. Too bad cake's so delicious.

"It’s smart, silly, hilarious and all-round entertaining sketch. Pro tip: make it a water show for no extra money if you sit near the front. Adam sweats enough for two so it’s no sweat off his back… wait."

Gein’s Family Giftshop's Bargain Basement, The King’s Arms, Salford, 5 Jan

Korova Arts, Preston, 9 Jan

Soho Theatre, London, 13-17 Jan

Kosmonaut, Manchester, 29 Jan