Jason Manford: Pleasance Courtyard, Edinburgh, 2007
Best of the Fest 2007: Assembly Rooms, Edinburgh, 2007
Jason Manford: Bloomsbury Theatre, London, 2008
Live at The Apollo (TV Recording): Hammersmith Apollo, London, 2009
Al Murray’s Southbank Jukebox: Royal Festival Hall, London, 2010
Jason Manford: Off on Tour We Go: The Sands Centre, Carlisle, 2011
Jason Manford: First World Problems: Rose Theatre, Kingston, 2014
Jason Manford: Muddle Class (Work in Progress): Udderbelly, George Square, Edinburgh, 2017
Just The Tonic Working From Home: Online: 2020
Jason Manford Presents: The Weekly Stand Up: Online: 2020
Always Be Comedy Online (2 shows): Online: 2020
One of the great joys about attending comedy shows is watching a comedian mature. One such case in point is the very likeable Salford born Jason Manford who I have seen live on stage for over the last ten years.
I first saw him on stage at the Edinburgh Festival Fringe where his confidence shone as he cheerfully described his love of football, Manchester and food to an unsuspecting audience. By the end of the show there was a buzz from the exhausted from laughing crowd. All the time, comparisons were being made to fellow Northern comedian Peter Kay but Manford had a style all his own.
When I saw his solo show Off on Tour, We Go in Carlisle in 2011, he talked about the joy of becoming a parent (eventually to five children), family life and responsibility. The material was delivered with such wit and charm that the audience were endeared and gave him a standing ovation.
Manford’s show First World Problems in 2014 saw him have gripes about everything from dealing with automatic call centres to ironic comments on the 2011 London riots. Manford delivered the routines so naturally and was effortlessly likeable, normal and approachable with the crowd.
I saw his 2017 work in progress show Muddle Class at the Edinburgh Festival Fringe in 2017. The show was about him growing up working class then finding, over the years, that part of him had become middle class which caused him much confusion. After the show, I met him and told him how I had watched him developed over the years into a great comedian.
I had big problems logging the Just The Tonic: Working From Home online show that I watched in June 2020, some of which I unfortunately missed. However, I did catch the headliner Manford who proved once again he was an absolute master of his comedy craft. Trying out thirty minutes or so of new material his brilliant delivery included routines comparing symptoms of psychopathic behaviour in line with the behaviour of his own children and describing bizarre yet true newspaper headlines. Manford was such a warm, friendly, and enthusiastic personality that it is very hard not to like him.
The Northern comic also had jokes and razor-sharp stories as he hosted The Weekly Stand Up online, a new comedy show that I watched in June and July 2020. Manford was as ever very engaging with the ‘front row’ that could be seen and heard. The shows featured performances and acts from top comedians and was a joy to see.
The comedian was also the special mystery guest headliner that I saw for Always Be Comedy Online in July 2020. Once again, jokes and new stories of every-day life during the most testing of years were told with precision timing and delivery and with such warmth and enthusiasm. He appeared again for Always Be Comedy Online as a mystery guest headliner again in November 2020, this time warming up for hosting duties on the Royal Variety Show. Again, I couldn’t stop laughing out loud at the funny man and and he was a joy to see.
One of the very best, Manford is the most naturally gifted performer and he is one of the funniest comedians working today.