The city of Manchester is renowned throughout the world of comedy as being a gateway into the industry for aspiring comedians. It is also renowned for being home to some of the greatest comedy clubs in the country, that have helped mould some of the industries finest comics into what they are today. Stars such as Peter Kay and Jason Manford originated from Manchester and once traipsed the city’s comedy circuit.
Nowadays, Manchester is bursting with comedy clubs. But in particular, there are two that shine brighter than the rest. These being: the Comedy Store in Deansgate Locks and The Frog and Bucket in the Northern Quarter.
Focusing on the Frog and Bucket– a club that has been a dedicated venue to comics to hone their art since the 90’s- it is a club that has an outstanding reputation for being host to some rather cut throat material. It is a club that not only gives semi-professional comics a place to practice their acts, but also gives comedy fanatics the opportunity to potentially witness a rising star in the making.
Monday nights at The Bucket are home to a truly unpredictable card game called Beat the Frog. It is a game that puts newcomers’ nerve and talent to the test! The aim of the game is to remain stood on stage for a whole 5 minutes, delivering material, without getting voted off by the three card holding audience members. If the audience aren’t rating the act and they get ‘croaked’ off the stage, then they have lost the game.
”Without the Frog and Bucket, I would not be a professional comedian today. It was a great place for me when I started out and remains just as good” – John Bishop
I attended a rather brutal game of Beat the Frog on Monday 21st November, hosted by the brilliantly hilarious Dan Nightingale . But before the games began, our audience was treated to a ludicrously funny set from Kevin Caswell-Jones– a former winner of Beat the Frog (pictured bottom left).
Following an uplifting 10 minutes from Kevin, the games began. Three members of my audience were given cards. One of which was flipping for each act like no mans business which quickly resulted in said act having to leave the stage- once the two other card holding audience members conformed.
All in all only three out of ten comedians ‘Beat the Frog’ which then once again, the power was in the hands of the audience. The three winners were lined up on stage to await their fate. The froggy crown was awarded to Danny Bullivant, a gentleman whose gig was not only his first at the Bucket, but his first ever!
So if you live to whiteness a potential rising star in the making, want to decide someone’s fate in the most unpredictable comedy card game or you just simply want to have a good ol’ belly laugh, get yourself down to one of these award-winning night’s of comedy and get croaky!
Wanting to break into the comedy circuit? Listen to the full interview with Kevin Caswell-Jones here, for tips and tricks of the industry: