Comedy Nights in Manchester

Johnny James, Managing Editor

Something’s in the water in Manchester. No, not the Bee Bikes at the bottom of the Ship Canal. We’re talking about the live comedy scene, which is absolutely popping off.

Manchester has long boasted one of the best comedy scenes in the country, but right now it seems to be having a real moment. Maybe it’s because of the lack of laughing matters elsewhere, maybe it’s due to a freak wave of brilliant local comedians. Whatever the reason, something big is happening.

The last few years have seen a Whac-a-Mole style rise and fall of new comedy nights. But the good ones – the really, really good ones – have stuck around, joining legendary nights that have been running in the city for decades.

From purpose-built comedy clubs to basement bar pop-ups, ticketed events to free open mics, you can choose from live comedy nights seven days a week. All nurture homespun talent, while many also attract the wider circuit’s most exciting names.

Looking for a laugh? Here are Manchester’s very best comedy nights.

Our top picks

Simon Amstell, Tim Key, Fern Brady & more, live at Christmas at Aviva Studios

Simon Amstell, Tim Key, Fern Brady & more, live at Christmas, 21 December 2023, from £28.00 - Book now

Cor, what a line-up. Some of the country’s best comedians come to Manchester this December for a spectacular all-star festive show, held at the newly opened Aviva Studios, home of Factory International.

Aviva Factory International

The Laughienda Comedy Club at The Lion’s Den

The Laughienda Comedy Club at The Lion's Den Manchester, Manchester, Until 15 August 2024 - Book now

The Lion’s Den is a relatively new bar and event space whose excellent Laughienda comedy club brings in up to six comedians each Thursday — from big names trying out new material to first timers. Although fresh out the box, this gets our vote as one of the city’s best comedy nights right now.

Image courtesy of The Laughienda.

Creatures of the Night Comedy Club

Creatures of the Night Comedy Club at The Corner Boy, Manchester, Until 21 August 2025, from £5.00 - Book now

An insanely committed seven-nights-a-week comedy club, Creatures of the Night is hosted by ‘gap toothed Canadian comedian’ Evan Desmarais, and showcases an eclectic range of stand-ups in the popular Northern Quarter Irish bar, Corner Boy.

Image courtesy of Creatures of the Night Comedy Club.

Beat The Frog at The Frog and Bucket

Beat The Frog at Frog & Bucket at The Frog and Bucket, Manchester, Until 11 August 2025, free entry - Visit now

“One Mic, One Stage, One Frog”. Beat the Frog is a legendary amateur comedy night, taking place each and every Monday in the Northern Quarter’s Frog & Bucket. This is a night with rules and prestige – and the power is in your hands, as the audience decides who stays and who goes.

Image courtesy of The Frog and Bucket.

XS Malarkey

XS Malarkey at 53two, Until 12 August 2025, from £3 - Book now

Providing award-winning laughs since 1997, XS Malarkey is a not-for-profit comedy club, hosted every Tuesday by Toby Hadoke (“Superior stand-up skills: very, very funny” – The Guardian). Stewart Lee, Johnny Vegas, and Josie Long have all performed here.

Host Toby Hadoke, courtesy of XS Malarkey.

Comedy Balloon

Comedy Balloon at Ape & Apple, Manchester, Until 13 August 2025, free entry - Visit now

Doing great things to nurture and develop comedy talent, this night’s all about giving new acts their start, while offering old hands a chance to road-test fresh material. There are typically 11 acts in a night, with the show starting at 8.30pm every Wednesday. Oh and did we mention it’s totally free.

The Comedy Vault

The Comedy Vault at Fierce Bar, Manchester, Until 18 August 2025, free entry - Visit now

Expect 15 short and sharp sets at this much-loved open mic night at Fierce Bar, where the laughs are as eclectic as they come. You’ll catch plenty of brand new talent here, and if you’re at all tempted to get on the mic yourself, the five-minute set time isn’t too daunting.

Image courtesy of The Comedy Vault.

The Comedy Store at Escape to Freight Island

The Comedy Store at Escape to Freight Island at Freight Island, Manchester, Until 22 August 2024, from £15.00 - Book now

In an exciting new collaboration, nationally famous comedy platform The Comedy Store is hosting nights in food and drink hotspot Freight Island every Thursday. Expect well-known names alongside emerging talent.

Image courtesy of Escape to Freight Island.

Killer Comedy Club

Killer Comedy Club at The Whiskey Jar, Manchester, Until 15 August 2024, from £12 - Book now

The home of killer laughs, this nomadic night pops up all over the North West, and showcases the UK’s best “upcoming and coming” comedians — semi-famous faces who have already earned some plaudits but who are still on their way up.

Image courtesy of Killer Comedy Club.

Where to go in Manchester

Bar or Pub
Henry C

Henry C is an intimate neighbourhood bar in Chorlton, serving up superb quality drinks.

11 Central

11 Central is a new bar and microbrewery launched by local brewing legends SEVEN BRO7HERS BREWING CO at the Central Bay site in Salford.

Bar or Pub
Kennedy’s Irish Bar

A fan favourite in Altrincham, Kennedy’s Irish Bar offers live music, a vibrant atmosphere and undoubtable Irish charm and hospitality.

Axe & Cleaver

This is the perfect pub for an indulgent weekend, following up a long countryside walk with a hearty and high quality meal.

Bar or Pub
On Bar

This multifaceted venue is primarily an award winning gay bar in Manchester’s Canal Street area – but that is not all…

Bar or Pub

This award winning bar is open six nights a week due to popular demand. Described as the ‘mecca of the north’ for the lesbian community, it is no wonder why.

Bar or Pub
Cruz 101

Everything you want in a Canal Street club can be found here. Cruz 101 – better known as Cruz – is an institution, and a must-visit in Manchester.

Old Pint Pot

This lively spot could be considered a jack of all trades – pub, restaurant, events space and live music venue.


New to Stevenson’s Square, Public is the Northern Quarter’s new local, from the team behind Evelyn’s.

City Centre
The Refuge

The Refuge is a restaurant and bar based at Kimpton Clocktower Hotel, specialising in bright, exciting small plates.

Bar or Pub
Central Bay

Central Bay is a new waterfront dining and drinking destination at Quayside MediaCity, opening summer 2023.

Bar or Pub

Peste is a bohemian bar and bookshop with vintage reads and records.

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