Next week, it’s the anniversary of when I began a comedy night that I hoped would give me regular employment for the next two and a half months. On October 4th, XS Malarkey reopens to celebrate its fourteenth birthday.
We’d shut down for the first time over the summer as our venue, The Queen Of Hearts, was being refurbished, and this gave us plenty of time to consider the club’s future. I’d not been especially happy at the Queen as the venue never really seemed to have its (ahem) heart in the club and with a new brewery taking over I decided to reclaim Malarkey’s independent status. We’ve always worked best when not answerable to an area manager who knows nothing about comedy, hence our happiest times being at Remedy (a fantastic freehold venue closed by a short-sighted council).
After some soul searching and a fabulous meeting of minds, we have opted to relocate to Platt Chapel, an ethical venue with a real desire to create something of an artistic hub in South Manchester in these financially trying times. They’re very much into audience interaction. You want real ale behind the bar? Great – let’s organise a tasting and you can vote on your favourite. Obviously, some of these things will take time to sort out, but there’s a real opportunity for you – as well as us – to create the environment here.
I’ll carry on booking the very best comedians. You just need to keep coming. We have always run on a not-for-profit basis, and we continue to do so. We have no budget, we are entirely dependent on ticket sales, which is why we rely on you to spread the word. In the current cash-strapped climate our prices of £3 (members) and £5 (non-members) for the level of comics we get is unparalleled. We’ve got an illustrious bevy of acts for our birthday, and in the next 6 weeks I can promise at least two high profile TV names. I can’t say when and who, because they’re playing the gig precisely so they can work in front of the XS crowd, and not some interlopers who’ve been lured by a famous person.
One act we can announce is Stewart Francis, a Malarkey veteran (he played during that initial two-and-a-half month run that helped put us on the map) also seen on Mock The Week, who’ll be popping in at the end of November. We have a deliberate policy of promoting new talent alongside established acts, and don’t need to play it as safe as some clubs are obliged to at big weekend gigs. That means you never quite know what’s going to happen at Malarkey, except that it’ll be funny and cheap. And that I’ll probably be annoyed about something (just because I generally am).
So please spread the word and get it out there that Malarkey is here to stay, and that there’s not a better value, high quality comedy night anywhere else in the country.
More pictures and info on Facebook. Be sure and “Like” us: it’s terribly good for our self esteem.