Missed the Edinburgh Fringe this year? Fret not, Leicester’s ‘pay as you feel’ shows are bringing the fringe to you…


Comedy and Cocktails is a night for news acts and new material at Manhattan34, which can be found near the Curve theatre on Rutland Street, opposite the LCB Depot.

Watching the comedians perform their routines in the basement of this swish, prohibition-themed bar gives it the air of a speakeasy – achingly cool, yet still warm and welcoming.

Famous on the circuit for having one of the friendliest atmospheres of any night, you can find both established circuit comedians trying new material before working it in to a show, or brand new acts taking to the stage for the very first time in the Debut 5 feature.

There are drinks deals on the night for some of Manhattan34’s excellent cocktails, and the whole thing is hosted ably by Dave McGuckin and his Irish charm.

Comedy & Cocktails takes place every first Tuesday of the Month at Manhattan34


Club Smashing is held at The Criterion on Millstone Lane and it is, without a doubt, Leicester’s most alternative comedy night.

It’s a night that revels in silliness and anarchy, hosted by the double act of Bruce Edhouse and Ian Hall (who have performed at the Leicester Comedy Festival separately and as The Two Syds.) You’re likely to see a variety of character comedy, surrealist stand-up, musical acts and comedy gameshows, all performed by a mixture of established alternative comedians and regular circuit acts who are encouraged to bring something new and unusual to the night.

The atmosphere is warm and jovial, the acts are invariably lovely, and if you’re looking for something completely different then this is the night for you.

Club Smashing takes place at The Criterion every second Thursday of the month


The Exchange Comedy Club is an established night in the cultural quarter for circuit comedians to come and show off their material.

It’s held downstairs at the Exchange on Rutland Street, opposite the Curve Theatre, in a warm and relaxed environment that offers more soft furnishings than you can shake a stick at.

There’s a huge array of acts at this event, including comedians that you may well recognise from the television – Gary Delaney (Mock The Week, Catastrophe) has made an appearance, for example, and he isn’t the only TV-level comedian to have been on the bill.

The night is hosted by Alex Hylton, the youngest of Leicester’s comedy hosts (and owner of the biggest voice) who also regularly appears on Manchester City’s fan news network BlueMoonRisingTV.

The Exchange Comedy Club takes place every third Thursday of the month


Proper Funny is one of Leicester’s most established regular comedy nights, and it shows.

Hosted at The Criterion pub on Millstone Lane, Proper Funny is a slick comedy night run by Jason Neale and featuring a mixture of local and circuit acts who have been hand-picked for quality.

The night is divided into three sections, with two parts featuring acts doing 5-15 minute slots and the third section giving a headliner a longer 30-minute slot, often previewing parts of their current festival show before it truly sees the light of day.

Proper Funny was the winner of the inaugural Battle For Leicester trophy at Leicester Comedy Festival 2015 and nominated for a 2015 Midlands Comedy Awards Best Night gong – that, and The Criterion does some truly excellent pizza to go along with your laughs.

Proper Funny takes place at The Criterion on the last Saturday of the month

Dan Wallbank has been floating around the Leicester comedy scene for five years and the music scene for ten. He's the founder of Comedy and Cocktails at Manhattan34, host of the Firebug Pop Quiz and creator of Instant Nostalgia, the podcast that reviews itself.

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