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XS Malarkey is 9!

XS Malarkey turned nine last night, and to celebrate its birthday put on a special triple headline show, with the fabulous Paul Tonkinson topping off the bill.

Published on September 27th 2006.

XS Malarkey is 9!

XS Malarkey, in my very humble opinion, is Manchester’s best comedy night. It’s given me some very happy memories over the past five years or so and week in, week out, allows us all to see some great comedians (and the odd disastrous one) in the relatively intimate environment of Fallowfield’s Bar XS.

Yes, the clientele are mainly students – an inescapable fact considering the fact that Bar XS is smack bang in the middle of Manchester’s student empire. But students do have their uses, one of them being to provide an endless source of gags for XS’s comedians (just about the fact that they are students, really), and the other being to contribute massively to creating a weekend atmosphere on a Tuesday night. Students don’t have to get up in the morning, you see, so they all get very drunk, which in turn leads to them attempting to heckle the comedians, which then provides the comics with even more material. It’s a delicately balanced comedy ecosystem that shouldn’t be interfered with.

Tuesday night saw XS Malarkey reach the ripe old age of nine. But it’s not been an easy childhood, with a potentially traumatising move at the age of four seeing Malarkey pack up its, er, microphone, and move to Bar XS from its former home across the street at The Cheshire Cat (then Scruffy Murphy’s). But it’s been all tickety boo since then, with things looking very sunny as XS Malarkey nears the end of its first decade.

For the past nine years Toby Hadoke and the not-for-profit XS Malarkey have been providing top quality comedy at low prices, meaning that customers have a few more pennies spare to spend in any way that they wish. From what I’ve seen, these spare pennies normally find their way to the bar - resulting in more heckling from drunk audience members, and the excuse for some fine comedy put downs from the acts. Again, it’s a delicate system.

To celebrate XS Malarkey’s ninth birthday, Tuesday night saw a triple headline bill featuring three very different comics, compèred by his most excellent highness Toby Hadoke.

First up was the easy going Rob Deering, who bravely ventures into the precarious world of guitar based comedy - but thankfully for everyone involved it is actually funny.

Next up was the spoof German pop band Die Clatterschenkenfietermaus, one of the most bizarre acts that you’ll ever see. Judging from the reaction of the audience, which was very firmly divided, you’ll either love or hate these guys.

Headlining the headliners on the night was former Big Breakfast presenter and Xfm star Paul Tonkinson, with his down to earth brand of pure stand up, just like it was in the good old days. Proving that the simplest ideas are the best, or perhaps just that by this time copious amounts of alcohol had been consumed, Tonkinson’s distinctive Manc humour and Scouse baiting brought the house down and had tears streaming down the faces of the audience. In a good way, obviously.

Despite the inside of Bar XS being hotter than the sun on Tuesday night and as packed full as the 8.50am tram, this was a fantastic night and confirmation of XS Malarkey’s never waning popularity after nine years. Here’s to another nine!

Jayne Robinson
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