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The Best in Stand Up - The Comedy Store

The Best in Stand-up @ The Comedy Store

  • The Best in Stand Up, The Comedy Store, Manchester
  • MC Andrew Ryan, Peter Johansson, Francis Foster and Larry Dean

I recently visited the iconic The Comedy Store, Manchester which is located under the famous old arches in Deansgate Locks. You are greeted with the well known ‘The Comedy Store’ stamp which hallmarks its location amongst the many popular drinking establishments on Deansgate.

I went to see one of the Best in Stand Up shows. The programme included MC Andrew Ryan, Peter Johansson, Francis Foster and Larry Dean.

The venue is very quirky and unique. You enter to find a long retro styled bar which entices you to grab a pre-comedy drink before entering the auditorium. There are signed pictures of comedy greats who have previously played at The Comedy Store hung on most walls. It felt very welcoming.

We all filled into the auditorium and each found a red-velvet fitted seat. The room held 500 people, although not completely full the ground floor was packed. The confident out-going members of the crowd all sat rather near front of the stage; you could feel the apprehension and buzz in the room. The audience appeared to consist of couples, friendship groups and lots of work parties.

The room lights dimmed and orchestrated towards the stage. MC Andrew Ryan appeared from behind the curtain to start the show. His cheeky Irish charm won over the audience instantly, he was definitely the crowd favourite of the night. His comedy was mainly focused on audience interaction and the front row seated members received their wishes... He was witty and sharp with his exchanges; he had the audience hanging on his every word. He was the only comedian that evening I felt truly had the audience in belly-laugh hysterics. Luckily as he was the MC, he returned to the stage four times throughout the evening to introduce the acts and tell a few witty jokes. It is important to note that he was the only comedian not to revolve his material around sexual content; I feel this is the difference between telling the amateurs from the professional experienced comedians.

Straight on after was Canadian Peter Johansson. His set consisted of humorous remarks about relationships and his 10-year marriage. He went on to discuss the issues of getting older which the audience related to and found amusing. He had a very dark, crude sense of humour which was seen in all of his content, yet shocking it was very comical. He discussed how he hated seeing pictures of other people’s kids and remarked ‘This is how much I hate seeing a picture of your child... I don’t want to see them even if they are missing’; the audiences’ laughter was one which revealed their inner darkness.

After a short break to refill drinks, half Venezuelan, half English Francis Foster enters the spot light. With a strong South London accent he explains his sadness with the fact he turned out more English than Latino. He happily makes fun of himself with pale skin and geeky glasses. The laughter was a little slow to begin with but as he settled into his set the laughs continued throughout. Parts of his set were very sexual, revolving around his love life downfalls which the audience unarguable found hilarious. It was later announced he was undertaking a small try out spot; his set was much shorter than the others.

To round off the end of the show Larry Dean from Glasgow, accelerates the night once more with rowdy amounts of laughter. His content revolved around being a gay man and visiting Dubai where homosexuality is illegal. He had a very confidence presence which made the audience feel at ease. Some of his content was sexually orientated but delivered in an original quirky way which made it seem more fresh than the previous two acts. Dean ended the night pleasingly.

I would definitely say that The Comedy Store in Manchester is one of the best alternative night outs the city has to offer. Free from any awkward laughter, it provides dynamic amounts of comedy in an intimate, authentic setting which is very hard to criticise. The ticket prices are unbelievably reasonable; I will certainly be returning.

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