Emma Atkinson

Laughing Cows’ sweet sixteen

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All-female comedy clubs celebrating with gigs in Manchester, Glossop and Lancaster.

This month sees the North West’s all-female comedy clubs, Laughing Cows, celebrate their 16th birthday with some extra special gigs and a myriad of excellent female performers.

Starting on the 29 November, there are two gigs – one in Lancaster, featuring the brilliantly funny Jo Enright, who has starred in ITV’s The Job Lot and has appeared in Channel 4’s Phoenix Nights and BBC’s Life’s Too Short.

Joining her on the bill is the dryly witty Lesley Kershaw – never has a story about wearing a nightie and slippers been funnier – and all round wonder woman Sarah Profit who completed a triathlon every day for a fortnight for her recent Edinburgh Fringe show. The show also features Sheelagh Houlihan as compere.

Jo Enright will also be performing in Glossop on the same night, sharing the bill with Laughing Cows’ own Kerry Leigh and her heart-warming and funny show, Kerry Leigh Wants To Marry Her Brother.

The following day in Manchester will be another huge celebration with another night of Laughing Cows comedy. Topping the bill are North West stand-ups Hayley Ellis and Kiri Pritchard-McLean, both with witty, chatty and frank observations.

Joining them on the bill will be the confessional Amy Vreeke, Bolton’s Sophie Willan – who recently went on a mission to find her father – Jo Smiles and Lesley Kershaw.

READ: Hayley Ellis review

Comix Live, the all-encompassing sibling of Laughing Cows has now gone monthly, and December’s night boasts headliner Danish comedian Sofie Hagen. The Copenhagen born stand up has been garnering acclaim since beginning stand up in 2010, most notably by winning the Laughing Horse Comedian of the Year 2013 and a Chortle Award for best newcomer earlier this year. The show will be compered by Kerry Leigh.

Laughing Cows comedy club began its long-running reign in London, when founder Hazel O’Keefe took up a challenge set by a well-established club promoter after he confessed that the reason he wouldn’t book two female acts to play the same bill was that, ‘I wouldn’t take that risk’.

O’Keefe then set out to prove that female comedians aren’t some kind of bizarre specialist act or, the other common misconception, that all perform the same kind of material but in actual fact are as varied and as myriad performers as any comedian – regardless of gender.

Sixteen years later, there are Laughing Cows club nights all over the country including Edinburgh, Cardiff, Shrewsbury, Liverpool, Uttoxeter and Todmodern as well as in Berlin and Belgium.

Operating an inclusive policy, Laughing Cows also invites transgender and gender queer comedians who identify as female to perform and men are more than welcome in the audiences.

  • Laughing Cows Glossop, feat. Jo Enright and Kerry Leigh, The Globe Inn, 144 High Street West, 29 November 2014, 8pm, £12, 07958 642090.
  • Laughing Cows Lancaster, feat. Jo Enright, Lesley Kershaw, Sarah Profit and Sheelagh Houlihan, The Gregson Centre, 33 Moor Gate, 29 November 2014, 9pm, £10, 07958 642090.
  • Laughing Cows Manchester, feat. Hayley Ellis, Kiri Pritchard McLean, Amy Vreeke, Sophie Willan, Jo Smiles, Lesley Kershaw and Kerry Leigh, The Frog and Bucket, 102 Oldham Street, 30 November 2014, 8pm, £7, 07958 642090.
  • Comix Live, feat. Sofie Hagen and Kerry Leigh, The Frog and Bucket, 102 Oldham Street, 8pm, 9 December 2014 £4/£3 students, 07958 642090.