The Greater Manchester Comedy Festival: Our Top 5 Picks

John Stansfield
Photo of comedian Rob Pickford in a line of men in a while suit

Not to be confused with Greater Manchester Fringe Festival – this November, the King’s Arms plays host to the Greater Manchester Comedy Festival. Got it?

The King’s Arms in Salford plays host to yet another comedy festival this year as they push for thirty shows in ten days. No mean feat after hosting the Greater Manchester Fringe Festival back in July, and the Women in Comedy Festival, which has just finished, and which saw a glut of shows taking place at the Bloom Street public house. And now, for the Greater Manchester Comedy Festival, all manner of comedians – new and old – are taking advantage of The King’s Arms’ three performance spaces. The feel of the festival is slightly experimental, with hour-long shows from some of the region’s finest.

David Stanier’s Silly and Spooky Party

Like a child has taken over teaching a classroom, the infectious enthusiasm and surreal anti-jokes of David Stanier have been delighting crowds on Manchester’s alternative comedy scene for the last few years. This will be his third Silly Party, and with it falling the day after Halloween, you can expect all manner of spooky goings on. Joined by his good friend and self-proclaimed party animal Danny Sutcliffe, this is one party you should definitely bag an invite to. Saturday 1 November, 8.45pm. Tickets £4.

Tony Jameson: Football Manager Ruined My Life

After a sell-out debut at the Edinburgh Fringe, Tony Jameson brings his show about how a computer game can affect a person’s growth as a human to Manchester. Haunted by missed opportunities due to his obsession with Football Manager over the last 20 years (though for much of that it would have been called Championship Manager), Jameson has crafted a life-affirming tale of what might have been, with a few obscure footballers thrown in for good measure. Tuesday 4 November, 9.15pm. Tickets £8/£6.50 Conc.

Liam Pickford: One or More of My Family Has Died

Celebrated man poet and all round righter of wrongs, Liam Pickford will be presenting his first full-length show. Consistently tagged as “one to watch,” Pickford plays fast and loose with the art of stand up, albeit in a languid Ashton drawl. The dour tone struck by this title will no doubt be alleviated by Pickford’s love of wordplay and dissection of comedy. And all this for only a pound. Bring the family.* Wednesday 5 November, 7.30pm. Tickets £1.

*Don’t.

John Cooper: Pictures of Cats, Pictures of You

More recognizable as his hapless alter ego Danny Pensive, John Cooper has taken off his trademark duffel coat to reveal his true self, a 39 year-old man who looks pretty much the same, just a little colder. A fantastic writer, Cooper can now let fly with the things he might not have said as Pensive, which boils down to a series of rants about the joys of not having kids, marriage, the quest for happiness and pictures of cats. Saturday 8 November, 10pm. This event has been cancelled.

Heat Pumps, Kate Garraway and Other Niche Concerns

Phil Lucas and Julie Oliver bring their highly acclaimed show to Manchester from the Brighton Fringe. Heat Pumps, Kate Garraway and Other Niche Concerns takes in all manner of obscure pop culture references and power point hijinks for comedy effect. You may know Lucas from his sterling and hugely viral internetting (take a look here), while Oliver is someone to certainly keep an eye out for. A manic hour of concords, the band Bros and Eamonn Holmes. Something for everyone. Sunday 9 November, 8.45pm. Tickets £3.

Culture Guides

Image credit: Maryna Makarenko, Sun-Eaters, 2022

Cinema

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

Exhibitions

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

Families

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!

Poet Helen Mort. Photo by Jan Bella

Literature

There’s live literature and book-buying opportunities a-plenty as November unfolds and Manchester – celebrating five years as a UNESCO city of Literature – and the wider North region welcomes some great writers, both in real life and online.

Music

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

Theatre

Alongside radical sci-fi adaptations and free arts festivals, we take a look at some of the Christmas shows happening in the North.

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

Powered by culturehosts
Compass Festival 2022
Activity Until 27 November 2022, FREE

Compass Festival 2022

sunny bank mills
Activity Until 27 November 2022, from £2.00

Sunny Bank Mills Christmas Art & Makers Market

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