Manchester Comedy Festival 2010 extends the laughs and tickles the funny bone

October not only harbours the depths of autumn, it heralds the start of the acclaimed Manchester Comedy Festival, with this year's event promising to be bigger and better than ever. Extended to two weeks with over 200 comedians performing, you'd be forgiven for asking "where do you start?".

We've had a good old root through the line-up and, trust us, it's pretty sharp - so in no particular order, here are just some of the highlights taking place during the two weeks that will run from 18th - 31st October.

Rhod Gilbert
 

Rhod Gilbert

Strong Welsh accent, dry wit and a penchant for getting wound-up over the vagaries of life, the man Gilbert brings his "The Cat That Looked Like Nicholas Lyndhurst" show to the city's Opera House on the 19th. This is his hit show, elements of which have appeared on TV's "Live At The Apollo" and "Michael McIntyre's Comedy Roadshow". Learn whether Rhod is a visionary or just plain angry. Admission - £24.50.

Paul Zerdin
 

Paul Zerdin

The talented ventriloquist and comedian brings his cheeky chum Sam, plus other familiar characters Baby and Albert, to the Comedy Store on the 19th. He stormed the Edinburgh Fringe as well as the Royal Variety Show in 2009. Hovering just below risqué, Zerdin is a worthy pull at £15.

Robin Ince
 

Robin Ince

Mr Ince has a passion for many things, mainly rubbish literature and science - put the two together and you have his Bad Book Club, a show that discusses the biological qualities of Cliff Richard's biography and Spiders From Mars' contribution to scientific fact. Highly acclaimed by critics, winner of 3 Chortle Awards and dry with it, Robin Ince is worth catching at the XS Malarkey on the 21st - just £5 to get in.

Mark Watson
 

Mark Watson

He's a sports pundit in his spare time, married and an author - surely the beginnings of a great comedy set, yes? Actually, Watson has been on the circuit for a good while, yet has only just announced his first DVD release, due out in November. With several Edinburgh Fringe appearances under his belt, you know you'll get quality. He plays the Manchester Apollo on 22nd - £16.50.

Frankie Boyle
 

Frankie Boyle

He must have sore bloody knuckles by now, declaring that he would quite happily punch every one of us in the face. If you haven't seen this acclaimed and downright offensive hilarity, book it now. He plays on 25th / 26th / 27th /28th at the Apollo - £20 admission.

Russell Kane - Image: www.russellkane.co.uk
 

Russell Kane

When he isn't phoning his mum to tell her he won another award (yawn) - he's just copped off with the Foster's Award from this year's Edinburgh Fringe - he's spreading the good word with his award-winning "Smokescreens & Castles" show. Kane appears at the Comedy Store on 26th, tickets cost £14 (and will no doubt fly out).

Michael Redmond
 

Michael Redmond

Ha ha - you already want to see him after reading the title of this show - "It's not Father Stone, it's Michael Redmond". You may be a Father Ted aficionado and remember Father Stone, the priest that nobody wants to play host to, least of all Ted who has to suffer the sheer dullness of the man. Here, Redmond does stand-up, presenting his moustache for all to see at the Engine House on 29th - £6.50.

Jimmy Carr
 

Jimmy Carr

Spiteful? Irascible? Gobby? And? Oh, yes hilarious. Jimmy Carr plays two dates for the Festival at the Apollo (29th and 30th), bringing the "Laughter Therapy" show with him. Tickets are £25.

Also appearing

Various venues will host top shows during the festival, including Apotheca which will have the Pear Shaped Comedy Club running throughout the fortnight, The Remedy which will host the XS Malarkey Comedy Club events, again throughout the festival and the Moho Live which is lucky enough to be holding the Mancjester (see what they did there?) Comedian Of The Year 2010 final on the closing night, the 31st. Admission for many of these and other local venues is from £5 upwards.

Check out the full line-up below for further shows.

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