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Review: Best in Stand Up @ The Comedy Store

  • Featuring Zoe Lyons, Mick Ferry, Justin Moorhouse and The Noise Next Door

Perched on the Deansgate Locks, the Manchester outcrop of London’s best-known comedy club was the location of last week’s alternative night out.

Despite living in the city for over two years, I have to admit a huge absence in my cultural experiences by saying this was the first time I’d ever ventured inside. I can quite confidently say that I will no longer be a stranger there.

Upon walking into the venue, I was greeted by a small box office where I exchanged my confirmation email for a yellow wristband (cheaper, unreserved seating because I am a student, y’know).

A long, speakeasy-style bar with exposed brick walls, neon lights and heavy aluminium was then unveiled behind it and the staff – all in smart black t-shirts emblazoned with The Comedy Store logo – could not have been more warm and welcoming.

Whilst the smell of fresh stone-baked pizzas made it felt like I was waiting forever, (would not recommend going on an empty stomach and with an empty bank account) it really wasn’t long before we were ushered to flash our wristbands at the doorman and enter the intimate 500-seater theatre.

The whole evening was compered by Zoe Lyons and she immediately set her sights on the front row: pointing out a nurse called Tracey who was desperately clinging to two glasses of wine, and a film and media student called Tom… “Cashier number three please.”

She then diverted her attention to the groups who were on Christmas work nights out, from boxers, to solicitors, to The Body Shop sales assistants – all clad in novelty costumes. She complemented Manchester’s Christmas spirit and praised its world-renowned German markets, before insinuating that this was Hitler’s greatest achievement – to have almost every European city infiltrated from the inside and selling glühwein and lebkuchen.

Mick Ferry soon appeared on the stage – Fred Perry and beer belly first, horseshoe moustache second. He made me think, ‘so this is what Hulk Hogan would look like if he’d been brought up in Oldham.’ Mick wowed me with his ability to keep a straight face – effortlessly tackling the classics like weight, sex life and having kids.

After a welcoming break to the bursting bladders around the room, we were treated to Justin Moorhouse. Those of you who are adjusted to the live comedy circuit will know that there’s no television screen which quite captures the magic of seeing a comedian tear apart the twat who attempts to heckle. Probably most known for his role in Peter Kay’s sitcom Phoenix Nights, Justin had my sides splitting from the moment he walked on to the moment he walked off – a very witty comic with a warm northern charm.

Last but not least was The Noise Next Door and I must admit, I was apprehensive. Musical comedy quartet is not a selection of words I would usually like to see put together, but their improvisation and involvement of the audience was so well-executed that I somehow found myself doubled up at a song about Barack Obama in a whore house.

The Comedy Store’s Best in Stand Up claims it will have you laughing out loud for over two hours and I can not argue with that. The perfect cure for the mid-week blues.

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