January can be slow to get going but there are some terrific comedy shows coming to Manchester this month including award winners like Julia Masli and Urooj Ashfaq.

Pottervision at Cultplex | Fri 5 Jan | 7pm | £14

Lukas Kirkby and Tom Lawrinson’s hit Harry Potter podcast comes to life at Cultplex for an early January treat this Friday. The boys will pick apart the second book/film in the series The Chamber of Secrets this time in a treat for fans and casual observers of the wizarding world. The pair offer a hilarious stripped-back satirical panto approach to Harry Potter and his pals that you can’t help but be swept up in the magic.

Cultplex, 50 Red Bank, Manchester M4 4HF
Jokes at the Oaks at The Seven Oaks | Tue 9 Jan | 7.30pm | FREE

Manchester’s favourite weekly new comedy night Jokes at The Oaks looks to pick up where it left off with their first show of the new year. A Tuesday night staple for comedy fans and comedians alike, you never know who might show up and are always guaranteed a good bill from Jordan Ducharme and host Charlie Lewis. Becoming a comedy institution in the city. Every Tuesday from the 9th January.

The Seven Oaks, 5 Nicholas Street, Manchester M1 4HL
Janine Harouni at The Lowry | Sun 14 Jan | 8pm | £19.50

Nominated for the best show award at this year’s Edinburgh Fringe there is one big difference about Harouni’s show about pregnancy and motherhood that won rave reviews back in August. She spent the whole of the month heavily pregnant and has since given birth to the little one that gives the show its impetus. It should give an interesting new slant on what was a pretty perfect show already but whereas every show was fraught with the idea that she may well go into labour on stage, now there’s the panic that the babysitter might call! Read our full preview here.

The Lowry, Pier 8, The Quays, Salford, M50 3AZ
Julia Masli at XS Malarkey | Tue 16 Jan | 7.30pm | £6/3

On paper Julia Masli’s show might not sound the most appealing; clown improvises show via the audience’s problems. But in Masli’s skilful hands, a show that shouldn’t really work became one of the most spoken about at last year’s Fringe, earned her a nomination for best show and has been on many an end-of-year list as the top 10 comedy performances. She’ll be warming up for a UK tour here at XS Malarkey (every Tuesday from the 9th), but the show is made from the audience therein and no two are alike, so really you’ll be seeing an incredible flexible comedian pretty much match ready and riffing like no one else. Don’t miss it.

53Two, Arch 19 Watson Street, Manchester M3 4LP
Helen Bauer at The Frog and Bucket | Tue 23 Jan | 8pm | £14

One of the most electric stand-up performers you’ll ever see, you can’t help but be swept away by Helen Bauer’s brilliant and bizarre stories and observations due to her boundless enthusiasm for her own points. Join the self-appointed “Grand Supreme Darling Princess” for an evening of wild stories and improbable theories that start to make sense when they come from Bauer. She’s the friend you need in your group, up for anything and guaranteeing you have a good time.

Frog and Bucket Comedy Club, 102 Oldham Street, Manchester M4 1LJ
Alison Spittle: Soup | Tue 23 Jan | 8pm | £14

If you’ve listened to Alison Spittle’s episode of the podcast Off Menu, you’ll know just how much she loves soup, and so a show named after the world’s favourite drinkable food (sorry Huel!) is not overly surprising. What might surprise is how beautifully honest her stand-up is at times. A great storyteller armed with many a wonderfully hilarious turn of phrase and just the right descriptor for something ordinarily disgusting or disgraceful, Spittle glides by on pure charm and wit.

The Lowry, Pier 8, The Quays, Salford, M50 3AZ
GRUBBY at Grub | Thu 25 Jan | 7.30pm | £7

Comedian Chris Cantrill’s scratch night GRUBBY returns in 2024 for a first show featuring indescribable wonder Harriet Dyer, rising star Faizan Shah and XS Malarkey leader Toby Hadoke. An inclusive, intimate and, crucially, inexpensive night of comedy, Cantrill welcomes big names to tell new things and new talent to make big splashes in what used to be a kids’ play area at street food emporium Grub on Red Bank. Worth it for Cantrill’s wonderful flights of fancy and for this instalment a chance to see Hadoke unrestrained by the ringmaster’s crop he wields at XS.

GRUB, 50 Red Bank, Manchester M4 4HF
Urooj Ashfaq at Frog and Bucket | Wed 31 Jan | 8pm | £16

Winner of best newcomer at this year’s Edinburgh Fringe in a category packed with talent, Urooj Ashfaq brings her debut ‘Oh No!’ to The Frog and Bucket to finish off the month. Hailing from Mumbai with a degree in psychology that has left her with nothing but a need for more therapy, Ashfaq is a refreshing voice in the comedy world looking inward and all too aware how self-involved that can be. Come see what all the fuss is about.

Frog and Bucket Comedy Club, 102 Oldham Street, Manchester M4 1LJ
Fri 5 Jan - Wed 31 Jan
John Stansfield
Published on:
Tue 2 Jan 2024