Greater Manchester Fringe Festival: Our Top 5 comedy picks

John Stansfield

The Greater Manchester Fringe Festival has some great comedy picks – here are our Top 5.

Next month sees a mass exodus of comedians – and a good deal of the comedy-going crowd – as Edinburgh swells to double its normal size for the annual festival and fringe. But it’s not all bad news, at least not for Manchester. Because before all that comedic talent disappears up north, the Greater Manchester Fringe Festival previews a whole load of Edinburgh shows alongside a series of special one-offs – so here are our picks of the Greater Manchester Fringe Festival’s comedy line-up.

Robin Ince

If you’re reading this on Monday 7 July then act fast and get your tickets! Book first, then read the rest of this round-up. If you’re reading after the above date, then, well, sorry you missed it. It was a great show. Robin Ince brings a night of “Blooming Buzzing Confusion and Pointless Anger” with fellow comedian and fan of science Michael Legge. It’s a must see. Provided you’ve read this on time… Monday 7 July, King’s Arms, advance tickets £10.

Phill Jupitus

The tireless Buzzcocks stalwart will be doing not one but two shows a night for the Greater Manchester Fringe. He’ll be resurrecting his Porky the Poet alter ego for Juplicity and doing straight, heart-on-his-sleeve stand up for Shirking Progress. The poetry will be comedic, and the comedy will no doubt be poetic at times, so this is really just a chance to squeeze as much Jupitus-time into the King’s Arms as possible. A passionate and vociferous performer, Jupitus is often overlooked for his stand-up due to being the foil to the other team on Buzzcocks. An unfair sidelining of one of the UK’s great comedians. 8-9 July, King’s Arms, advance tickets £10.

Gein’s Family Giftshop: Volume 1

Ask any comedian currently working on the circuit who their favourite act is at present and, after they’ve mentioned all their mates, they will more than likely point toward Gein’s Family Giftshop. A sketch act born from a hatred of sketch acts, Gein’s show recently won Best New Sketch Act and Audience Choice Award at London Sketchfest. They are gearing up for a month-long stay at the Edinburgh Fringe where they will no doubt win over even more fans. Seen as a natural successor to the macabre mirth of League of Gentlemen, it shan’t be long until Gein’s trademark P.E. kits are being worn by all the kids at school. Wait… what? Wednesday 23 July, King’s Arms, advance tickets £5.

James Acaster

Being nominated for Best Show at the last two Foster’s Edinburgh Comedy Awards might have influenced the title of James Acaster’s new show, Recognise. It’s a call to arms for those voters that kind of owe him after his annual runner up-ship – though if you’ve seen James Acaster you’ll know that he would never be that confrontational on such a grand scale. A wonderfully awkward and whimsical stand up whom has mastered the art at a very young age. Provided he doesn’t grow tired of the whole affair, Acaster could be a mainstay on the scene for years to come. Thursday 24 July, 7.30pm, King’s Arms, advance tickets £5.

Hayley Ellis and Kate Mulgrew

Though not technically part of the Greater Manchester Fringe Festival, this double bill of Edinburgh previews does take place in The Kings Arms, and is in the month of July – so it’s close enough. It’s also a chance to catch two of Manchester’s funniest comedians test running their respective Edinburgh shows only days before they head further north. So, it will be as close to the real thing as is possible. Or at least one would hope that’s the case. Hayley Ellis talks about the menace that is her dog in We Need to Talk About Kevin, and Katie Mulgrew has already won Best Poster of the Fringe for her show Happily Ever After – so if the show is even half as good as Snow White eating a pot noodle, then we’re all in for a real treat. Monday 28 July, 7.30pm, King’s Arms, advance tickets £3.

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