December comedy picks: The best comedy in Manchester this month

John Stansfield
Heads of comedians among baubles

Our comedy picks for Manchester in November – including Josh Widdicombe, Phill Jupitus compering and a Christmas Ding Dong.

Finding good comedy at Christmas can be a tricky affair; everybody loses their sense of humour. Kidding… It’s more that the swathes of office parties and Christmas dos that infest the local clubs make it difficult to see the comic for the drunken hecklers. This December, though, there is a rather healthy dose of comedy – hopefully at venues that the hordes will avoid. So, with good cheer (and high tolerance) – go forth!

Group Therapy Christmas Ding Dong at Gorilla

Finishing a very successful year with a spectacular Christmas blow-out are the fine folk at Group Therapy; they provide not one, but two headline acts. Back to back Foster’s winner John Kearns and Powerpoint maestro David Trent are the real draw but an unlikely turn from Phill Jupitus as master of ceremonies is arguably the most exciting prospect for this night jam packed with talent. 5 December, Gorilla, 7pm. Tickets £12

Quippodrome at Gullivers

Manchester’s chief purveyors of weird host a final festive evening for the year at Gullivers on Oldham Street. With a host of offbeat characters including the ‘King of Christmas’ and ‘Walter 77’ (the best and only surviving post-apocalyptic stand up) Quippodrome mark themselves as a unique and sometimes terrifying voice on the British comedy scene. The grinchified musings of Michael J Dolan only help increase the feeling of hilarious dread. 7 December, Gullivers, 7.30pm. Tickets £4

Josh Widdicombe at The Lowry

The ubiquitous Devonian takes a step outside the telly box for a nationwide tour. Showing his hugely impressive observational and quick witted skills on the likes of Mock the Week, QI and The Last Leg (as well as his own sitcom on the beeb) Widdicombe has proven himself as one of the UK’s most bankable comics. Well worth taking a chance to see him live rather than continue to watch him for free on TV. 8 December, The Lowry, 8pm. Tickets £19

Noel Fielding at The Lowry

The man behind the haircut is going on tour for the first time in five years – and he’s inviting you to come with him. Maintaining his childlike sense of wonder and imagination even while moving into his 5th decade on this earth, Fielding is still a surreal mastermind with characters both old and new ready to dazzle an audience willing to spend an evening in his company. You won’t regret it. 10 December, The Lowry, 8pm. Tickets £28-41

Sidekick Comedy at Via

Usually swinging in on the last Monday of the month, one of Manchester’s most reasonably priced comedy nights pushes forward a couple of weeks in order to give you that little bit of extra Christmas cheer. Tonight they have rising star Tom Little, Jade Fearnley and Lydia Bernsmeier-Rullow in the middle section and a headline set from former Beat the Frog World Series winner Jay Hampson. All for just £2, and with the added bonus of the delightful Kate McCabe on compering duty. 14 December, Via, 7.30pm. Tickets £2

Culture Guides

Backyard Cinema


It only takes a quick glance at the film listings to realise that Christmas is coming, and quick. We’ve rounded up some of our festive highlights alongside standout seasons and festivals.


Pause in the hustle and bustle of festive prep to take in some inspiration from this month’s top exhibitions.

The Ocean at the End of The Lane at the lowry


It’s the most wonderful time of the year and Manchester is bursting with fun, family activities to keep the kids entertained in the run up to Christmas!

Writer Nicholas Royle. Photo by Zoe McLean


There are spooky stories, Christmas crime thrillers and plenty of books for stocking fillers as December unfolds and Manchester and the wider North region switches on the live literature lights.


The festive season is here, and whether you want to escape it or embrace it, we’ve got you covered.

Theatre in Manchester and the North


Contemporary cabaret, powerful monologues and world premiere musicals. Our theatre guide spans the festive season and beyond.

Classical Music in Manchester and the North

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

Food and Drink

Explore the best restaurants and bars in Manchester and the North for autumn.

Tours and Activities

We’re deep into Autumn now but don’t let that stop you from finding a new tour or activity to get stuck into.

Things to do right now

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3 December 2022 10:00 am, FREE

Winter Art and Craft Fair at Heart

Activity Until 3 December 2022, from £35.00

Wreath Making Workshop at Leeds City Museum

Image credit: Maryna Makarenko, Sun-Eaters, 2022
Cinema Until 4 December 2022, from £5

HOME Artist Film Weekender 2022

Red Squirrel at Lightwaves
Festivals Until 4 December 2022, FREE

Lightwaves at Salford Quays

Cinema Until 8 December 2022, from £7.95

Aftersun at HOME

Elizabeth Gaskell's House garden. Photo by Chris Tucker
Literature Until 11 December 2022, from £4.50

Book sale at Elizabeth Gaskell’s House

Cinderella at Hope Mill Theatre
Families Until 11 December 2022, from £27.00

Cinderella at Hope Mill Theatre

Music Until 17 December 2022, from £5

RNCM Autumn Season

Flecky Bennett’s HALLOWEEN 2018 Ghost Walk
Activity Until 17 December 2022, from £15

Flecky Bennett’s Ghost Walks