It has been quite a while since I last visited Manchester's premier stand-up comedy venue, and tonight it was absolutely heaving with corporate parties celebrating Christmas just a little early! It was therefore a rather rowdy, but pleasant atmosphere.
There were two performances this evening, and I opted for the earlier of the two starting at 7pm. And this evening we were treated to 4 comedians, two either side of a short interval, and the whole evening was compered an overseen by veteran comedian Ian Stone. I have seen him on TV, and heard him on radio, and now I was watching him live; and his relaxed, easy-going nature and self-depreciating style instantly appealed. Moreover his jokes were actually funnier than most of the jokes the whole evening, which I am sure shouldn't have really been the case, but no matter; if he could only have refrained from swearing so much, he would have been catapulted into my list of favourite comedians. [and it's a fairly short list!]
The first comedian to take the mic this evening was young Steve Shanyaski. A very shouty, angry man who uses a lot of physicality to complement his patter. Some of his material was actually border-line offensive and some actually quite well observed, as he went through topics ranging from homeless drug-users to TV's Bake Off. Sadly it seemed that he was actually amusing himself more than he was most of the audience. Moreover, once again, just like many comedians of today, he was unable to speak without swearing. This is a very perturbing trend with the industry sadly, and it makes me very sad. Gone are the days when comedy was family entertainment, and when household names such as Bob Monkhouse and The Two Ronnies were a huge part of every child's upbringing. Now comedy, at least stand-up comedy, has become the preserve of adults who are very much at home with smut and profanity. That's sad, very sad.
The second act before the interval was 46 year old Canadian Tom Stade, and with a very husky raspy voice and relaxed easy style, he entertained us with jokes about the EU referendum, and British TV programmes. His comment about English people being the Borg, sucking the languages from all who conquer her shores was very well observed. However, once again I need to take him to task on the use of his Anglo-Saxon language.
After the interval and on to my favourite of the four acts this evening, Scott Capurro. Tall, thin, slightly camp and very American; his fast patter wasn't just near the knuckle, it WAS the knuckle. Somehow though, he was able to get away with it and say things that would be huge taboos for most comedians. His style was his own and although most of his routine was taken up by the American political situation, it still resonated, and entertained. Race, religion, politics; nothing was sacred for him but he delivered his set in a way no-one could object to.
Headlining the evening was local boy, Justin Moorhouse, and once again we were back to the over use of and abuse of profanity. Sadly Moorhouse seemed incapable of saying a single sentence without at least one swear word. Again too, his routine played heavily on both Brexit and Donald Trump. It is almost as though there is no other comedy material out there at the moment; could we not have been given a slightly different subject to finish with? Oh, yes, we got dogs. He likes dogs more than people. He had a very relaxed and easy manner and managed the heckles well, and brought the evening to a lovely conclusion.
The Comedy Store is an excellent venue, where every seat affords an uninterrupted view of the stage, and most evenings are reasonably priced. The venue boasts a well stocked bar, and for every event there is either a pizza or a la carte meal deal too which are also quite excellent and affordable.
Reviewer: Mark Dee
Reviewed: 2nd December 2016