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Manchester's Top 10 Comedy Nights Happening Right Now
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Manchester's Top 10 Comedy Nights Happening Right Now

Picture of Adam Blaize
Updated: 21 November 2016
From observational to surreal to alternative, Manchester has become a hotbed of mirth, offering something for lovers of all types of comedy. So don those Groucho Marx masks and put on your clown shoes as we go on a journey to discover some of the best comedy nights that the city has to offer.
Stand Up Comedy Stage © WikiCommons
Stand Up Comedy Stage | © WikiCommons

Group Therapy

Group Therapy began life in September 2012 and has gone from strength to strength, becoming a Saturday night alternative for audiences who crave something fresh and new.

Hosting established acts alongside local favorites, Group Therapy promotor Michael Clapham says, “We’re an alternative comedy but done on a big Saturday night show. Comedy comes first and we don’t accept large group bookings, Groupon offers or stag and hen do’s because they ruin the night. We put on comedians that you will not see anywhere else in the North of England.”

In just three years, Group Therapy has played host to acts such as Neil Hamburger, Adam Buxton and David Cross, while also giving opportunities to local acts such as Danny Sutcliffe and Jayne Edwards. The night continues to grow into something that audiences can enjoy, without having to worry about drunk Saturday night hecklers.

XS Malarkey

Set up in 1997 and still going strong, XS Malarkey was founded by a group of comedy lovers and this is reflected in the way the club and nights are run. An alternative comedy night which gives newer acts the chance to perform alongside high caliber acts, XS is a nine times winner of the Best Comedy Club (North) award at the Chortle Comedy Awards and two times winner of the Best Comedy Club in the North West Comedy Awards.

Hosted by award winning comedian Toby Hadoke, (The Dad Who Fell To Earth – BBC Radio Four), upcoming acts include Tony Burgess (Ideal – BBC), John Hastings (2010 Canadian Comedy Awards Best Newcomer and 2012 COCA Comedian of the Year), XS is not just one of the best comedy nights in Manchester, it’s one of the best comedy nights in the UK.

The night also provides its regulars with a membership scheme, meaning that it costs them just three pound a ticket, to see some of the biggest and brightest acts on the comedy circuit. Plus, there’s the chance to win two free tickets every week when you follow on their Facebook or Twitter page.

MACE (Manchester Alternative Comedy Emporium)

MACE’s philosophy is simple and easy to get behind, aiming to provide its audiences with the best alternative acts alongside burgeoning local comedy talent. MACE also recently moved to Kosmonaut in Manchester’s Northern Quarter, something which benefits both the show and the audiences, providing you with a more intimate feeling.

“The basement room setting gives the gig a New York Comedy Club vibe,” says promotor and comedian Red Redmond.

Red began performing comedy back in 2009 and it’s clear to see how serious he is about comedy, taking his own experiences to create a warm and welcoming environment for the audience.

Comedy At Chorlton Irish Club

Chorlton Irish Club welcomes comedian Christian Reilly next month. Reilly began performing music for American comic Rich Hall back in 1999 and has since gone on to win the coveted Perrier Award for ‘Rich Hall is Otis Lee Crenshaw’ in 2001. Reilly also performed in Bill Bailey’s band, Beergut 100. “If you’re a fan of Bill Bailey or Rich Hall, you’re a Christian Reilly fan”The Guardian.


This is a night that offers its audience free hot dogs alongside what can best be described as a mash up of comedy alongside different genres, including music and film. If you’re looking for something different, Shambodie is the night for you, offering everything from stand up to character to sketch comedy.

Afflecks Palace
Afflecks Palace, Manchester | © Wikicommons

SOS Comedy

A cavalcade of comedy merriment, this night combines character, sketch, music and just about every other type of comedy that you can think of. Hosted by master thespian Randolph Tempest (Ideal – BBC), SOS Comedy takes place at the Three Minute Theatre, a small fringe style venue in the Northern Quarter.

SOS is one of the few nights in Manchester that actively encourages character and sketch comedy, something which has become abundantly clear since its first show back in 2012.

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First Thursday Comedy

Run by local promotor Paul Haslam, First Thursday Comedy at the Met Theatre has some fantastic shows on the horizon in the upcoming months, including Dave Spikey (Phoenix Nights – Channel 4) in September and Charlie Chuck the following month. Chuck has something of a cult following and was there at the beginning to headline First Thursdays very first gig.

First Thursday Comedy, The Met Theatre, Market Street, Bury, Manchester, UK, +44 161 761 7107

Comedy Balloon

Running every Wednesday night at the Ape and Apple pub, the Comedy Balloon is Manchester’s oldest running free comedy night, opening its doors to acts of all experience, giving audiences a unique opportunity to see people performing their first, fifteenth or three hundredth gig.

This is a professionally run night where anything can happen and anyone can show up. Highly recommended – this night is a must see for all levels of comedy.

Comedy At The Kings

Run by local comedian Tom Short and hosted by Sam Smith, Comedy At The Kings almost never existed, until the decision was made to switch venues. Now, approaching its one year anniversary, the night has included high caliber acts such as Harriet Dyer, Pete Otway and Kate McCabe.

“Comedy at the kings offers some of the best yet to be discovered acts on the circuit, a chance for exciting new acts and material in an intimate theatre studio setting, all for only £3,” says Tom.

Tom started performing comedy is 2012, winning several high profile comedy competitions en route to starting his own night, including the prestigious King Gong at the Manchester Comedy Store. He was crowned the Funhouse Comedy Champion in 2014.

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Seven Oaks Comedy

One of Manchester’s newest comedy nights, it’s easy to see why this night has become as popular as it has in such a short amount of time. Run by actor turned comedian Will Hutchby, the venue room offers a small fringe feel, meaning that the audience is never too far from what’s happening on stage.

A small room in the upstairs of a pub just outside Manchester city center, Seven Oaks Comedy has just completed its Edinburgh preview season, which included master thespian Randolph Tempest, and the superbly talented double act, Norris and Parker.

This night will cost you the small sum of just five pounds and takes places on the third Thursday of the month.

The Seven Oaks, 5 Nicholas Street, Manchester, UK, +44 161 237 1233