May comedy picks: The best comedy in Manchester this month

John Stansfield
Tom Wrigglesworth with ice cream

Our comedy picks for Manchester in May – including Tom Wrigglesworth, Sam Simmons and Graeme of Thrones.

Tom Wrigglesworth at Chorlton Irish Club

Weekend comedy clubs can be a tricky mistress; you head into town to watch some of the best in the business and they end up having to grapple with between five and ten hen and stag dos for the whole evening. It comes as a relief then that there is comedy at Chorlton Irish Club once a month, meaning that you don’t have to brave the city centre to see top quality stand up. Tonight the surreal storytelling of Tom Wrigglesworth is paired with the automated wonder of Lost Voice Guy and local legend Mick Ferry, all overseen by the keen wit of Caimh McDonnell. Fri 6 May, 8.30pm, tickets £10 

Sam Simmons at Gorilla

As the first comedian to win back to back Edinburgh and Melbourne comedy awards for the same show, Sam Simmons is arguably the hottest stand up in the world right now. That is of course if you can call what the antipodean whirlwind does ‘stand up’, as Sam jackknives from nonsensical gag to props to drawings to anything that pops into his head. One thing’s for sure: he’s a comedic tour de force well worth checking out, with a supporting bill of great up and comers such as Peter Fleming, Chris Cantrill and Ivo Graham. Remember these names for future reference. Sat 7 May, 7.30pm, tickets £10/£8

Graeme of Thrones at The Lowry

If your one hour dose of Game of Thrones just isn’t enough then head to The Lowry for this loving pastiche in which a man (Graeme) tries to recreate the popular HBO program with no budget and two hapless pals. Since debuting in London’s West End the show has since toured Australia and the seven kingdoms, gaining great reviews along the way, and heralded as a must for any fan of the mythical world of Westeros. The cast consists of three alternative comedy heroes in Weirdos Comedy Collective’s Ali Brice, Mr Susie himself – as in Mark Davison – and one half of Twisted Loaf Libby Northedge so although the night may be dark and full of terrors, it’ll also be full of some big laughs. Tue 10 May, 8pm, tickets £21

John Hastings at Sandbar

For fans of free and cut price comedy, it’s coming up to the most wonderful time of the year as Edinburgh preview season gets into full swing, with young hopefuls pedalling their new wares for a comedy savvy audience that can give immediate feedback via mouth braying. With a string of TV appearances and rave reviews from his previous stints at the Scottish capital’s premier arts festival, John Hastings is a real coup for the new(ish) free night Guinea Pigs at Sandbar. A wryly observant comic Hastings is tipped for very big things, so to see him in the back room of this excellent pub for free is nothing short of a dream. Wed 11 May, 8pm, free entry

Michael J Dolan at Kosmonaut

Watching Michael J Dolan is an oddly sobering affair; such is his disdain for human nature and modern society, you feel as if you shouldn’t really laugh as he is clearly nothing short of a prophet for the world’s eventual implosion, but you just can’t help yourself. It’s all so perfectly crafted and he’s often exactly right. Comedians often aim for darkness, in the same way that the later Harry Potter films told you they were dark, but you knew they still had wizards in them. Michael J Dolan is dark; if he’d have been in charge instead of Voldemort then the story of the ‘Boy Who Lived’ may have come to a very different conclusion. Mon 16 May, 8pm, tickets £5 

Culture Guides

Exhibitions

The world of art and exhibitions never quite stops, so we have lots of new shows to look forward to at the start of 2023.

The Spongebob Musical at the Manchester Opera House

Families

New year, new start, and what better way to welcome in 2023 than by planning and experiencing all sorts of exciting family events in Manchester and the North?

Gwendoline Riley. Photo by Adrian Lourie

Literature

From local writing to international talent, we have heaps of online launches and in real life readings not to mention some extra special festival events coming our way in live literature land.

Music

More brilliant gigs appear on the horizon as we inch further into 2023.

Theatre in Manchester and the North

Theatre

Queer Contact Festival, stunning physical theatre and intimate in-the-round performance top our eclectic list of drama, comedy and dance this month.

Classical Music

We preview the standout classical music events and venues in Manchester and the north.

Food and Drink

Start 2023 as you mean to go on, with the best restaurants and bars in Manchester and the North.

Cinema

Black and white classics and a Tarantino-scripted pop-thriller are amongst our Valentine’s themed picks for February.

Tours and Activities

Eat your way through Ancoats, build a miniature eco-system and immerse yourself in visual art in this month’s tours and activities guide.

Things to do right now

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Activity Until 8 February 2023, from £170.00

Drawing course with Nina Hunter

Music Until 16 February 2023, from £9.50

Donna Candy at SOUP

vegan super club
Activity Until 17 February 2023, from £50

Supper Club at the Vegetarian Society Cookery School

Exhibitions Until 18 February 2023, FREE

The Confessional at HOME

Queer Contact 2023
Comedy Until 18 February 2023,

Queer Contact Festival 2023

PUSH Festival 2023 at HOME
Festivals Until 18 February 2023,

PUSH Festival 2023 at HOME

The Singing Mermaid at Waterside
Families Until 19 February 2023, from £14.00

The Singing Mermaid at Waterside CANCELLED

Activity Until 23 February 2023, from £59.99

Write Like A Grrrl: Ignite

Activity Until 25 February 2023, from £13

Elizabeth Gaskell’s House Tour

Fairy Tales at Z-Arts
Families Until 26 February 2023, from £3.00

Fairy Tales at Z-arts