August sees the return of the Edinburgh Fringe and in even bigger news, our weekly round up of the best comedy shows to see in Manchester. We know what we’re more excited about.

There’s a great selection of live stand-up to take a look at this week, with Jessica Fostekew providing four shows alone. So get ready to laugh long and hard at some of the best comics around. Let’s take a peek…

XS Malarkey with Matt Stellingwerf | Tue 3 Aug | 8pm | £6/3

No comedy night has done more for the city’s psyche during the various lockdowns than XS Malarkey. They swiftly moved shows to Twitch and entertained with some of the biggest names in stand-up for the last year and a bit. Something they’re keeping up with their excellent Sunday night show (subscribe to their channel here), but they’re also doing live shows again in their Bread Shed home. This week sees a packed line-up of Matt Stellingwerf, Faye Treacy, Eryn Tett, Chris Cantrill and of course Toby Hadoke. Get down for a midweek lift.

The Bread Shed, 126 Grosvenor Street, Manchester M1 7HL, Tel: 0161 273 1471
Barking Tales with Pope Lonergan | Wed 4 Aug | 8pm | FREE

The comedic force of nature that is Harriet Dyer has one-upped even herself in opening her own venue with the help of a few friends. The Upstanding Citizens Bureau is just a quick tram ride away in Oldham and its first show will of course be Harriet’s night, Barking Tales. This instalment is to be headlined by Pope Lonergan, a comedian, Quaker, drug addict and creator of ‘Pope’s Addiction Clinic’ and ‘The Care Home Tour’ as heard on BBC Radio 4. Quite the kicker for what’s sure to be Oldham’s most exciting new venue for the arts.

UCB, (Groundwork Building G12) Shaw Road, Oldham, Manchester OL1 4AW
The Laughięnda with David Stanier | Thu 5 Aug | 8pm | FREE

As live comedy makes its long awaited comeback, hordes of young hopeful stand-ups descend upon the open mic scene to get the precious stage time they have been deprived of for the last year or so. One such place is The Laughięnda at Lion’s Den Bar on Deansgate which brings some of the best up-and-comers in the city together on a Thursday night for a free evening of stand-up, plus a guest headliner which this week is Wire favourite David Stanier. A loveable absurdist stand-up, you can’t help but enjoy Stanier’s unique brand of quirky one liners and impish delivery.

Lions Den Bar, 253 Deansgate, Manchester M3 4EN
Jessica Fostekew: Hench | Sat 7 Aug | 3pm & 7.30pm | £10.50-12.50

All the way back in 2019, Jessica Fostekew’s show Hench wowed critics and audiences alike with its hilarious breakdown of gender norms and stereotypes through her empowerment as a female bodybuilder. It was rightly nominated for an Edinburgh Comedy Award and a tour was quickly announced. Then, of course, the world ended for a bit. Now Fostekew is back in Manchester and will perform the show four times in one weekend (the Fringe spirit is back baby!) to make sure everything’s COVID safe – and also because demand is so high. The matinee shows on Saturday and Sunday still have availability so make sure you grab them while you can.

The Bread Shed, 126 Grosvenor Street, Manchester M1 7HL
A Lovely Time with Amy Gledhill & friends | Sat 7 Aug | 7pm | £14

The second instalment of this new(ish) comedy was derailed somewhat by the football coming home (remember that?) last month but A Lovely Time will be had this Saturday at Chapeltown Picture House with a dreamy line-up that features Stevie Martin (Massive Dad, Nobody Panic podcast), Stuart Laws (James Acaster tour support, Turtle Canyon Comedy), Chris Cantrill (one half of The Delightful Sausage) and resident MC Amy Gledhill (the other half of The Delightful Sausage). Housed in GRUB’s new headquarters in the Green Quarter area of Manchester, if the weather holds the whole thing could be a pretty lovely day.

GRUB, 50 Red Bank, Manchester M4 4HF
John Robertson: The Dark Room | Sun 8 Aug | 6pm | £8-10

As John Robertson’s The Dark Room is essentially a computer game brought to life, it’s no surprise that he has had great success in moving his brand of manic and slightly devious comedy to the online streaming service of Twitch. But to truly experience the wild ride that is Robertson’s creation, you have to be in The Dark Room with him – so it’s good news that he’s finally able to take it back to the people with this special show at the Frog & Bucket on Sunday evening.

The Frog & Bucket, 102 Oldham Street, Manchester M4 1LJ, Tel: 0161 236 9805
Tue 3 Aug - Sun 8 Aug
John Stansfield
Published on:
Tue 3 Aug 2021