After a year of gigging in front of a webcam and virtual audience, comedians are starting to creep out of their ‘home offices’ to once more stand in front of real life audiences and beg for their approval via laughter – and don’t we just need a laugh right now. There’s heaps of great comedy on the way to Manchester this summer featuring some of those heroes that kept us sane whilst we drifted through lockdown. We’ve rounded up some of the shows we’re looking forward to the most.

Village Idiots with Stephen Bailey | Wed 2 Jun | 7pm | FREE

Dead Cat Comedy hosts its first evening of stand-up back on Canal Street with a stellar line-up of the city’s most well loved comics. Helmed by the always steady hand of drag legend Scarlett SoHandsome, this instalment of ‘Village Idiots’ will see her joined by Stephen Bailey (Celebs on the Farm, The Stand Up Sketch Show), cult hero Jonathan Mayor and up and comer Louise Young. And the best part is, it’s all FREE! Ring Bar Pop to reserve your spot.

BarPop, 10 Canal Street, Manchester M1 3EZ, Tel: 0161 236 0446
Barrel of Laughs with Adam Rowe, Dan Nightingale & more | Sun 13 Jun | 6.30pm | £14

The Frog and Bucket has been through a lot during lockdown. After being shunned by the Arts Council for funding, they set up their own crowd source and were able to just about pull through before starting a series of gigs broadcast from an empty venue. Now they’re coming out of the other side with gigs at their Oldham Street home, as well as a series of Sunday night shows at HOME’s outdoor Homeground space. There’s plenty of Frog favourites heading over, including Have A Word’s Adam Rowe and Dan Nightingale, Lloyd Griffith, Kiri Pritchard-McLean and Barbara Nice.

HOME, 2 Tony Wilson Place, Manchester M15 4FN, Tel: 0161 200 1500
A Lovely Time with Amy Gledhill & friends | Sat 3 Jul | 7pm | £14

After a series of set backs (and a pivot to podcast format), new comedy night A Lovely Time is finally getting a run out at GRUB’s Chapeltown Picture House space on Saturday 5 June, but unfortunately that show is now sold out. Thankfully, they’ve just announced their second night of stand-up taking place in July and the lineup is extremely tasty – with legends of lockdown Alasdair Beckett-King and Stevie Martin appearing, plus Chortle student comedian of the year, Erika Ehler, as well as regular host Amy Gledhill (The Delightful Sausage).

GRUB, 50 Red Bank, Manchester M4 4HF
Rachel Fairburn - Work in Progress | Sun 4 Jul | 3pm | Returns only

In those heady days of the first lockdown last year we spoke to Rachel Fairburn about the future of comedy in Manchester and beyond and she spoke about how she was just about to kick off her first national tour. Rachel hasn’t let all that get her down though as she embarks on something brand new to welcome the return of live gigs. This work in progress show is sure to be full of Fairburn’s acid tongue and dark wit that listeners of her podcast All Killa No Filla will recognise, as well as some home truths about the state of the world.

Frog and Bucket Comedy Club, 102 Oldham St, Manchester M4 1LJ, Tel: 0161 236 9805
XS Malarkey on Twitch | Every Tue | 8pm | donations welcome

The return of live, in the flesh gigs is undeniably great but online shows have opened up a new avenue for people that might not be able to attend shows in venues. Whether it’s an accessibility issue, anxiety or other, online gigs have become a great escape for those that wouldn’t get to see so many shows. One of these beacons of hope in lockdown has been XS Malarkey on Twitch who have gathered a loyal following and presented some of the best comedians in the world (James Acaster, Judah Friedlander, Tim Key and Angela Barnes to name but a few) to a live streamed audience every Tuesday. They are vowing to continue these shows for as long as they can so that nobody is left behind as gigs go from online to in-real-life.

Wed 2 Jun - Sun 4 Jul
John Stansfield
Published on:
Tue 25 May 2021