Phil Ellis | TV21 | Mon 24 Mar | 8pm | FREE
As August looms over the comedy world and acts begin to ready their plans for assault on the Edinburgh Fringe, more established comics are to be seen at free nights to test their new material on an impartial crowd. So it is that Manchester’s most incendiary stand up heads to Dead Cat Comedy at TV21 with some deal of prep for his forthcoming show at the fringe. If rumours are to be believed, it’s to be even more outrageous than what he offered up at last year’s Unplanned Orphan show. Red Redmond is your reliable rapid-fire host for the evening with a great slate of comics new and old ready to entertain you, all for the cost of a smile.

Rachel Fairburn | Kings Arms | Tue 25 Mar | 8pm | FREE
Another act test piloting their Edinburgh show is the darkly hilarious Rachel Fairburn (pictured). A circuit favourite for her dark and brooding ruminations on life and mostly death. Last year she collected her favourite serial killers into a colouring book, or ‘killering book’ if you will. A kind of cheeky melancholy runs through her sets as she regales the audience with tales of misery and the curse left on her family. Come join her for an hour or so. Misery loves company.

Chris Lynam | The Pub/Zoo | Tue 25 Mar | 7.30pm | £5/3
One of the pioneers of the alternative scene Chris Lynam promises a show like no other at this weeks XS Malarkey. Always a popular addition to the Malarkey bill, it looks set to be a sell out so get your tickets early.

Richard Herring | The Lowry | Fri 28 Mar | 8pm | £18
In his last few shows Richard Herring has managed to sort through the big issues that inspire and frustrate us on a daily basis, be it politics (Hitler Moustache), religion (Christ on a Bike) and penises (Talking Cock) now he takes on the end of everything in his show on death entitled ‘We’re All Going To Die’. A master of mining the minutiae of any subject he chooses, Herring tackles the undiscovered country from whose bourn no traveller returns (except Jesus and that canoe bloke). Death is inevitable, and thankfully so are the laughs, we might as well spend our time before the former, doing the latter.

Gary Delaney | Gorilla | Sat 29 Mar | 8pm  | £10/8
For lovers of one line bandits such as Tim Vine and Milton Jones, head down to Manchester’s most welcoming comedy night (provided your not on a stag or hen do) Group Therapy at Gorilla. Razor sharp groan-comic Gary Delany is one of the quickest on the circuit and always a welcome addition to any bill, machine gunning puns at the audience with astonishing accuracy. Danny McLoughlin will be MCing with Gary Little opening, a comic fresh off the back of supporting Bill Burr on his recent UK tour where he was dubbed as ‘a fucking riot’ by the Boston funnyman. The Bill Burr link doesn’t end there as every member of the crowd will be given a free DVD of his show ‘You People Are All The Same’, and while he’s probably best known for playing Kuby in Breaking Bad in the UK, over the pond he is the best touring stand up in the country, and worth the entry fee for the disc alone.

Laughing Cows | Frog & Bucket | Sun 30 Mar | 7.30pm | £10/7
The Frog and Bucket’s monthly night of all female comics hosts Aisling Bea, winner of the Gilded Balloon’s ‘So You Think You’re Funny’ competition. Only the second woman to ever do so, she was also one of the most highly praised stand ups from last year’s Edinburgh Festival having being nominated as best newcomer in the Foster’s Comedy Awards. A physical and sharply witted comic, Bea brings a lot of energy and a ton of laughs. She will be ably supported by the cream of local comics sans a Y chromosome such as Hayley Ellis and Madge Hocks.

Jon Ronson’s Frank Story (pictured)| The Dancehouse | Sun 30 Mar | 7.30pm | £15/12
Having written the entirely fictional book ‘Frank’, Jon Ronson aims to tell the true tale of his times in the employ of Timperley’s finest export in this new talking show. A heartwarming and hilarious account of a young man’s adventure with his boss in a big fake head, Ronson peppers his stories with references to those stories that inspired his ‘inspired by’ movie, with a side helping of tales from being on the road with Frank Sidebottom. A great orator speaking about a subject close to his heart – and the catalyst for his entire career.

Mon 24 Mar - Sun 30 Mar
John Stansfield
Published on:
Mon 24 Mar 2014