Review: Beat the Frog

  • The Frog and Bucket's open mic night, Beat the Frog 
  • Jessica Devine went along to review 

Gaining the confidence to put yourself on stage, in front of a crowd of strangers and attempting to make them laugh, for me, would be one of the scariest things to do but on a Monday night at the Frog and Bucket in Manchester’s Northern Quarter it is the norm for eleven aspiring stand-up comics as they take part in Beat the Frog, a hilarious yet brutal form of open mic stand-up comedy.

As the show began we were greeted by a colourful spotlight show which was in time with the Foo Fighter’s ‘All My Life’ and host Katie Mulgrew took to the stage and opened with a stand-up performance of her own, discussing motherhood and her love of drugs when she was ‘our age’, as most audience members were 21-year-old students, she had me doubled up laughing along with ever other segment she did in between acts.

Mulgrew then explained the rules of the night, the format of Beat the Frog is simple yet slightly harsh, the fate of the comedians is all down to members of the audience, as they decide who stays and who goes. Three green cards are given out to the chosen audience members and they are told to raise their card if they do not like a certain act, if the comic stays on stage and performs to the packed-out venue for five minutes then they have ‘beat the frog’ and will be automatically put through to a clap off at the end of the show, where the audience cheer for their favourite act, deciding their outcome.

The new stand-up acts were joined by two comics who have previously beaten the frog and they kicked off the show with a short performance each, Simon who described himself as a XXL Next boxer short wearer and a failed grime artist and Josh who told us a story about a Canadian comedian who had previously given him chlamydia, which then coincidently later in the night the beat the frog winner was Canadian and had to explain that he wasn’t the comedian in question.  

The night is a combination of laughter, cringing and a touch of chaos with Katie coming on and off stage attempting to keep it all together. The competition part of the night began as the 11 acts came on stage, we had a combination of beat-boxing, prop using and even a magician in the mix, we had Sean, a proper Mancunian who may have had too many beers, telling us a joke about two Mexicans in a very bad Mexican accent and as I looked around the room, it was a mixture of very confused faces and people hysterically laughing because they had no idea what was happening.

My personal favourite of the night was Ash, whose Russell Brand image and comedic style had me very amused as he described himself as a blend between Charles Manson, the Yorkshire Ripper, James Blunt, if ‘You’re Beautiful’ never became a hit, and Jesus.  

Beat the Frog has been going for years and has helped established successful comedians such as Peter Kay, Jack Whitehall and John Bishop, with £1.90 beer, £5 pizzas and free student entry this is the perfect Monday night past time with your friends.