Casting its satirical eye over the usual swarm of boozers on Deansgate Locks is the one, the only… The Comedy Store, Manchester. We went to see one of their Best in Stand Up shows, and, ladies and gents, it was a right good laugh.
The iconic ‘The Comedy Store’ sign stamps its hallmark on the famous old arches of the locks and welcomes you with a cheeky grin – you don’t know what you’re in for. The bar is long and never too crowded, making it easy to grab your compulsory pre-comedy pint without even a one-liner. Immediately to your left is a spiral staircase taking you past a wall of fame of modern comedy greats including the likes of Jason Manford and John Bishop. The restaurant is minimal-yet-charming with a sneaky peak view over the canal and a small, curtained stage that would make for excellent dinner party comedy nights. The auditorium is just like what you see on the telly… but more on that in a min.
The Food and Drink
You can hardly expect a comedy club to take its food seriously. But it was certainly more than a warm-up act. My companion and I couldn’t resist the rich and warming chef’s special of lamb curry with pilau rice, naan bread and raita served with a walloping bottle of Rioja. Curry, wine and a show… what else could you want on a Saturday night? Rumour even has it that you can snag two courses in the restaurant and a reserved seat for only £16 extra, money moans certainly don't come in here.
We were collected from our table and escorted to our reserved seats. There was such a buzz as we parked ourselves on the red-velvet chairs and the auditorium began to fill. Sitting relatively close to the front, we won’t deny the inevitable, excitable apprehension over being picked on (luckily we were spared). The programme included a quadruple bill of comedics including 6ft.4 “comedy giant” Alun Cochrane, Markus Birdman (the voice of ITV’s “Blank Screen”), political-social satirist Nathan Caton, and quirky, guitar-wielding Andy Askins. Each with their own flavour of funny, the night was cheeky, poignant, sharp, relatable, shocking and downright hilarious throughout. Compared by the brazen John Fothergill, the night was stitched together with threads of unexpected anecdotes, daring banter and skilful audience orchestration.
We’ll give Manchester’s The Comedy Store a hearty round of applause. A great night out whether you’re after gutsy belly-laughs with your other half, tittering chuckles with the girls or guffawing howls on your stag do. Ba-dum-tsch.