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The best comedy in Manchester in November

Noel Fielding
An Evening with Noel Fielding

Autumn always brings with it plenty of comedy in this town and the coming month is a prime example. There's loads of it. In fact a bewildering amount so here's a guide to what's on and where it's at.

Nov 6: Marcus Brigstocke at The Lowry
In his latest solo show, 'Je m'accuse, I am Marcus,' Brigstocke turns the focus on himself with some observational anecdotes about his varied life rather than the more topical and political humour we're used to from his many Radio 4 appearances.

Nov 6: Robin Ince at The Dancehouse
Following the science self-educating nature of his recent oeuvre, in 'Blooming Buzzing Confusion' Ince turns a wry eye on free will, posing the question: is it possible for anyone to be a free thinker? Looking at Milgram, Mcluhan and experiments into the mind, expect to learn something whilst you laugh.

Nov 7: Mark Steel's Back in Town at The Lowry
Steel's long running live comedy project where all the material in the show is inspired by the town in which he's performing. Expect to see him wandering around Salford looking ponderous before the show.

Nov 11: Josie Long at XSMalarkey
Long time Malarkey friend, Long is a well respected presence on the circuit. Once best known for creating homemade badges and making off-the-wall observations, now she's more likely to be found discussing politics, cosmology or her recently obtained A-level in maths.

Nov 12: Twisted at The Frog and Bucket 
In this mischievous comedy night the headline act (this month inventive oddball American Will Franken) places three random rules on the rest of the comedians on the bill that they have to follow for the remainder of the night. Harsh.

Nov 14-16: John Bishop at Manchester Arena
Arena stand-up gigs can be coolly impersonal but if one man can make it cosy through the sheer force of his personality Bishop can. The ex-pat Scouser began his stand-up career just over a decade ago at the Frog and Bucket's amateur night, but even back then you could tell he'd be attracting big crowds one day.

Nov 16: Paul Sinha at Contact Theatre
These days he's more likely to be seen wearing his pristine white jacket and being rude to contestants as a Chaser on ITV's teatime quiz show The Chase. But before he adopted the attitude he was wearing a different white coat - as a GP. Alongside both careers he's always been a great comedian and this is his latest show.

Nov 21: An Evening With Noel Fielding at the O2 Apollo
Hot on the heels of the second series of the gloriously random TV series Luxury Comedy, Fielding steps out on tour with a show that is likely to be just as odd. Which is how we like it. He promises a mix of all his favourites - live animation and music as well as special guest appearances from the likes his alter egos, The Moon and Fantasy Man.

Nov 21 & 22: John Shuttleworth at the Dancehouse
Graham Fellows once threatened to give up the Shuttleworth character but frankly his audiences wouldn't let him. The former security guard from Sheffield who's biggest nightmare is discovering there are two margarines open simultaneously in his fridge is, quite rightly, Fellows' most enduring creation. In 'A Wee Ken To Remember' Shuttleworth recounts his favourite weekends past, despite the typo in the title.

Nov 22: Katsura Sunshine at The Comedy Store
Sunshine is a Canadian now living in Japan who trained to become a Rakugo comic storyteller. Rakugo is a 400-year-old tradition of comic storytelling told wearing a kimono and kneeling on a cushion and begins with comic anecdotes, then launches into a traditional story. Other than the aforementioned kimono and cushion the only props allowed are a fan and hand towel.

Nov 23: Dave Gorman at the Lowry
'Dave Gorman Gets Straight To The Point*... (*The Powerpoint)' sees the man who once travelled the world in search of all of his namesakes adopt his favourite presentation style once more. Be sure to find some pedantry, riveting storytelling and plenty of laughs. Oh, and he's probably got some graphs too.

Nov 30: Laughing Cows at The Frog and Bucket
The long running all-female comedy club is celebrating 16 years in the biz. Surely this anniversary alone is answer enough to the tired old question of 'are women funny'? Fresh from the Women in Comedy Festival last month, promoter Hazel O'Keefe is set to present another fine night of comedy.

Nov 30: Bridget Christie at The Lowry
In winning the 2013 Edinburgh Comedy Award at the Fringe, Christie began to get the attention she's deserved for years. She's political and intelligent whilst possessing a wonderfully giddy absurdism - present here in such routines as a feminism diatribe framed by an audition for Muller yoghurt. One of the few people to be able to craft a joke on such topics as the Black Death and genital female mutilation and get a laugh.

Words: Marissa Burgess

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