Toby Hadoke | Dead Cat comedy at Sandbar | Mon 20 Jan | 8pm | FREE
While XS Malarkey was on enforced hiatus (hunting for a new venue) it was left to Red Redmond and Dead Cat Comedy to continue to fly the flag for independent comedy in Manchester. So there is a lovely symbiosis to XS’s host and captain Toby Hadoke performing at the heir to his comedy throne’s show in the week that XS returns to action. Usually seen as compere with XS or at his ‘New Stuff’ show at The Comedy Store, Hadoke will be let loose with his own headline spot as he shows why he is seen as the godfather of Manchester independent comedy. Ably supported by rising stars Rich J Wall and Will Duggan, Dead Cat proves once more that there’s a whole lot of talent on the Manchester scene. They just need the stage.

XS Malarkey | The Pub/Zoo | Tue 21 Jan | 7.30pm | £5/3
The hermit crab of comedy has found a new home, and those that went to the XS Malarkey Christmas party will know what a perfect fit it is for the night that refuses to give up. A great line up fitting of a welcome return sees turns from Bobby Murdock, Andrew McBurney, the abstract observations of Rob Rouse and comedy and musical stylings of Rob Deering. Toby Hadoke returns to his post as master of ceremonies and guides XS Malarkey into exciting new waters. Check out our full preview.

The Worst Comedy Night in Salford | The Kings Arms | Tue 21 Jan | 8pm | FREE
In The Worst Comedy Night in Salford’s defence, there really aren’t that many comedy nights in Salford, they’re essentially competing with Comedy at The Kings which returns to the same venue next week. So it could easily be called The Second Best Comedy Night in Manchester. What it definitely is though, is free. And a whole heap of fun. Housed in the snug of Salford’s best pub comedy doesn’t come more intimate than this and odds are your sat next to most of the performers. A testing ground for new comics and new material, anything goes at the worst comedy night, which is to the great joy of the audience.

Darren Walsh (pictured) | South West Manchester Cricket Club | Fri 24 Jan | 7.30pm | £5
Genial giant Darren Walsh plays his first show in the North West and it is not to be missed. Garnering five star reviews for his Edinburgh show last year, he was likened to Gary Delaney, Vic & Bob, Harry Hill and Steve Martin. His wild tangents, sound effects, props and pun-tastic sketches threaten to overwhelm but such is Walsh’s charm and ease that the show never implodes, instead it zips along at a frightening pace which makes you question the comical wizardry before your eyes. A showman with boundless energy the unrefined nature of his act simply adds to the mad cap humour he presents. Watch him live before he gets swallowed up by the television.

The Only Way Is Downton | The Lowry | Sat 25 Jan | 8pm | £16/14
During its stint in Edinburgh Luke Kempner’s tour-de-force impressions comedy played in the same catacombs of The Hive as Darren Walsh’s I Am A Giant – so there is a nice symmetry to them both coming to the North West on the same weekend. But where Walsh has buffoonery and haphazardness in his mish mash of a show, Kempner’s is a tightly written take on popular culture with a man with many voices skewering the current crop of ‘celebrities’ that inhabit the televisual box.

Quippopotamus | Fuel | Sun 26 Jan | 8pm | FREE
Fuel’s first Quip of the year is a stellar line up ably guided by that ‘lanky ginger prick’ Jack Evans. Along for the ride on Evans’ bus full of fun are New Zealander Sully O’Sullivan, who is fresh of a tour supporting Steve Hughes, the Droylsden bred lion beast (and one of the best Twitter comedians) Danny Sutcliffe, Stoke based anti-establishment poet Immodium Nitrate, Phil Marketing and as per usual daily, nightly and ever so Jon Whiteley. A free show has no right to have a line up as good as this.

Mon 20 Jan - Sun 26 Jan
John Stansfield
Published on:
Sat 25 Jan 2014