January comedy picks: The best comedy in Manchester this month

John Stansfield
Comedian Carl Donnelly making a face

Our comedy picks for Manchester in January – including the Foster’s Award-nominated Carl Donnelly and insane, interactive fun with Foxdog Studios.

January is notoriously a slim month for comedy, which is a shame since it’s usually the time when most people need a good cheering up. However, there are still a few bright sparks in among the dark skies of this first month of a new year – and we’ve handily rounded them all up for you. There, feeling better yet?

Carl Donnelly at The Pub/Zoo

Twice nominated for Foster’s Edinburgh Comedy Award, Carl Donnelly is the smart voice of an anti-lad culture. With pin point accurate observations on modern life, Donnelly has been through a lot in his 33 years (fun fact, he turns 34 the day after this show) and is not afraid to share. Also on the bill at the always excellent XS Malarkey are musical sketch tour de force Norris and Parker, odd ball Stephanie Laing and guiltily pleasurable Stephen Bailey. All held together by the irrepressible Toby Hadoke as compere. Tue 12 January, 7.30pm, tickets £5/3 Conc.

Beth Vyse at The King’s Arms

Doing a show called ‘As Funny As Cancer’ might not be the most upbeat subject for a bleary month such as January but Beth Vyse is such a charming host that the terrible time she had during her battle with breast cancer is less a trudge through spoken word and more madcap clowning. She weaves an honest expansive tale taking in her none-more-Northern upbringing in the potteries, as well as the eventual mastectomy, asking for no pity, and surprisingly getting plenty of laughs. Wed 13 Jan, 7.30pm, free

Foxdog Studios at Kosmonaut

Foxdog finished the year with a run at the prestigious Soho Theatre of their Edinburgh show, a solid 2015 for the IT rock ‘n’ rollers. If you’ve never been to a Foxdog show before then we suggest you head down for a night of insane, interactive fun. For those that have seen them before, we assume you already have tickets. Top support comes from the thinking man’s feminist Kiri Pritchard-McLean and Thick Richard, who’s poem ‘God Hates Stockport’ may hit home for those who grew up with an SK post code. Mon 18 January, 8pm, tickets £5

Culture Guides

Writer Nicholas Royle. Photo by Zoe McLean


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Image credit: Maryna Makarenko, Sun-Eaters, 2022


Classic pre-Code cinema, the Artist Film Weekender and the music of John Williams are amongst our highlights this month.


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!

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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Activity Until 1 December 2022, from £20

Pottery at Earth Pig Pottery and Fine Art in Buxton

Visual Arts Until 1 December 2022, from £20

Graffiti at Zap Graffiti

Activity Until 1 December 2022, from £95

Blacksmithing at Forge Four

Activity Until 1 December 2022, from £15

Embroidery with Sara Dennis at Lancaster Castle

Activity Until 1 December 2022, from £59

Making silver stacker rings at The Old Granary

Activity Until 1 December 2022, from £13

Candle making at Cheshire Workshops

Activity Until 1 December 2022, from £60

Glass fusing at Glassmonkey Studio

Textile taxidermy
Activity Until 1 December 2022, from £80

Textile taxidermy with Jaki Bogg at Craven Arts Studios

Activity Until 1 December 2022, from £3.50

Knittaz with Attitude: Yarnbombing at Upside Down Coffee

Cinema Until 8 December 2022, from £7.95

Aftersun at HOME