Monday July 25th, 2016 a day that will go down in history as the day I first attempted to ‘Beat The Frog‘ at Manchester’s Frog and Bucket Comedy Club. The club, on Oldham Street, a former Yates Wine Lodge, has been hosting comedy since 1994. Famous artists who have trodden the boards here include John Bishop, Peter Kay, Johnny Vegas and Sarah Millican. A blue plaque hangs ominously by the entrance and reads “In memory of all the comedians who have died here since 1994” No pressure then!
But what is ‘Beat The Frog’? It is the gladiatorial arena into which aspiring comedians step for their shot at fifteen minutes of fame. Here the holy grail is to be able to keep talking for five minutes and avoid being hooted off the stage. Earlier in the evening, the compere will hand out three cards to various members of the audience who then have it in their power to get an act off stage. If the three cards go up then you are off. It’s a bit like an X Factor audition but more arbitrary.
That evening there were nine comedians braving the stage including me. The audience, fuelled by cheap food and booze waited in anticipation. I sat there running through my set. I was the only woman on and the first act of the second half. Then it was my turn. I climbed onto the stage and let rip with my set. Blinded by the lights I did not see the cards go up and after just two minutes was hooted off the stage. I wasn’t upset just a bit annoyed I didn’t get to do the rest of my set and vowed to do better next time.
I returned to my seat and watched a fellow Social Worker get on stage he pointed at me and said, “What’s the difference between a Social Worker and a Rottweiler?” Quick as a flash without drawing breath I shouted You get your kids back off a Rottweiler much to the surprise of the comedian and delight of the audience.
Beat The Frog is tough. Beat The Frog is arbitrary. Beat The Frog is addictive. Pay it a visit you might be surprised.
Beat The Frog, Frog and Bucket, Oldham Street, Manchester Monday evenings from 7pm entry £3 free entry with NUS card.