By Megan James
The iconic Comedy Store is the hottest spot in Manchester for stand-up comedy, taking pride in featuring some of the biggest names on the circuit whilst also showcasing fresh talent. Situated on Deansgate locks, the traditional interior of ruby velvet seats surrounding a low lit smoky stage with the sound trains rumbling above creates an ambient atmosphere before the show begins.
Hosting the show was BBC 5 Live’s fighting talk, Alun Cochrane, the self-proclaimed miserabilist. He opened the show by investigating who in the audience was going to cause trouble, soon realising that a group of heckling caterers on their Christmas do who he nicknamed the Stockport caterers made the perfect victims for his quick wit.
The comedian, who is a regular at Edinburgh fringe festival, tends to revolve his jokes around fun hypothetical situations, like what the rise of the robots would entail, whilst also targeting members of the audience at opportune moments to add comical value, successfully creating an electric atmosphere inside the intimate venue.
Comedy veteran Justin Moorhouse was the main event of the evening, the Mancunian who declares himself a ‘fat man with anger issues’, has previously starred in the critically acclaimed Peter Kay’s Phoenix Nights as well as presenting various shows on Manchester radio station Key 103.
The 47-year-old who started out his career at rival comedy club The Frog and Bucket walked onto the stage like a bull in a china shop, throwing the jet-black curtain up in the air behind him whilst dressed casually in a black t-shirt and jeans combination.
His northern charm relaxed the audience instantly as he started by divulging into his family life, stating his own children are a disappointment, much to the audience’s pleasure as they let out huge bouts of laughter, whilst nodding in agreement.
He continued with the family theme for most of his performance, shifting to his own childhood in the 80s which added a sense of nostalgia to the largely middle-aged audience, whilst still humouring the younger audience with his comparisons to the present day. Although some of the material was a little silly, his vivid storytelling and big-hearted delivery provided several laugh out loud moments throughout.
In part two of his performance, Moorhouse clearly wasn’t shy when talking about taboo topics from Brexit to puberty. His years of experience in the business shone through, as he turned these no-go topics into amusing humour, lifting the atmosphere up a notch with a constant laughter rippling through the room.
It’s always great to see comics performing in their home cities, and this was no different for Moorhouse who is originally from Ashton. The northerner gave a truly effortless performance, using themes similar to his previous work, whilst constantly keeping his audience hooked with his boyish nature and cheeky smile.