Review: Beat the Frog @ The Frog and Bucket, 04/12/17

  • The Frog and Bucket Comedy Club in the Northern Quarter hosts its weekly open-mic stand up night.
  • Reporter Tom Green went along to review

Is making jokes about being fat still a taboo? For me, observational comedy is by far the best form of the art. So on this cold Monday night in the Northern Quarter, it was refreshing to hear jokes from comedian Jon Capewell about meeting your Slimming World pals in the chippy after class and the excuses people often make for not losing any weight.

He was one of the many acts at The Frog and Bucket Comedy Club on Oldham Street, which hosts what they describe as “the best open mic comedy night in the North West” every Monday.

Beat the Frog, as the event is more commonly known, is a brutal yet brilliantly entertaining form of stand-up; one of which the audience are in complete control.

A green card is given to three different members of the audience who then, in effect, control the fate of the comics. The night is almost Britain’s Got Talent-esque in that each act on the bill must last five minutes on stage without being shown all three cards.

“You only get one shot, do not miss your chance to blow” beams Eminem from the loudspeaker as the venue and bar queue get simultaneously busier in anticipation.

As compère Phil Ellis takes the stage to kick off proceedings, he is quick to build a rapport with the audience who, for the most part, laugh along with his harmless banter and his ability to down a pint.

Phil is certainly no rookie, and he is especially good at initiating playful conversation between himself and the Mancunian crowd. He is quick to single out Jon; a member of the audience hailing from Merseyside at whom he continues to throw jibes throughout his skit before he later ends up on stage.

The humour of the eleven comics that follow Phil is refreshing but in no way unique. It’s the standard breeze through of ex-girlfriend gags, sexual innuendos and the slagging off of your call centre day job that you’d typically expect from an open mic night.

However the audience love it. The atmosphere is pleasant and cosy, but perhaps a bit too cosy for some; one of the biggest laughs of the night comes as a sleepy drunken woman slides off her chair with a thud.

Phil’s audience pal Jon later takes the stage for a very funny blitz through his weight loss journey and yes, you guessed it, his love life. His confessions to treating himself to a large cod and chips after shedding a few pounds at Slimming World in his thick Liverpudlian accent have the audience in stitches instantly.

But the winner of the night is Scottish comedian Michael Dryburgh who stole the show by bullying the size of his own forehead; winning the hearts of the audience to receive the biggest round of applause and raptures of laughter of the evening.

It seems that making fun of your own appearance is what makes audiences laugh.

The night ends amid a happy atmosphere and there are smiles all around the room. The Monday blues have certainly been shaken.

With free entry for students, cheap bottled beer and a selection of pizzas on offer, the Frog and Bucket is definitely a night out worth sharing with friends.