Manchester’s comedy scene continues to go from strength to strength, with an increasing number of independent promoters putting on innovative and new-format nights around the city.
Nights like Sham Bodie, Château Le Bomb and Quippodrome are more exciting (for the audience) and supportive (for the comedians) than your usual gong show fare, with the promoters programming a variety of great, largely local acts and offering something a bit different to boot (in the case of Sham Bodie, a musical element to the programme and – wait for it – free hot dogs! What a deal).
Elsewhere, bigger but still independent promoters like Group Therapy and XS Malarkey put on a combination of local talent, up-and-coming touring names, hotly tipped Fringe acts before they get big (and even when they do), and the odd cult name.
These promoters tend to rove around venues, even throwing the occasional outdoor party, but if you are indeed after a more staightforward standup show or gong night, then there are always the dedicated comedy clubs. The Frog and Bucket on Oldham Street and the Comedy Store on Deansgate Locks both host comedy of all shapes and sizes every night of the week.
With all this activity and an ever-evolving scene, it’s no surprise that budding comedians view Manchester as a key place to go if they want to make a name for themselves. Many students choose Manchester so that they can get involved in drama and comedy societies and start gigging, and the track record of successful comedians who either come from Manchester or honed their act here maintains the city’s reputation as a breeding ground for new talent.