Opened in 1994 the Frog and Bucket club is crucial part of not just the Manchester’s comedy scene but that of the entire country’s.
It was the site of John Bishop’s first gig, and helped hone the skills of Johnny Vegas, Peter Kay and Sarah Millican.
Caroline Aherne was a regular visitor back in the day and Steve Coogan played the club to warm up to his tour.
Though it managed to reopen for two months last autumn, like most comedy venues, The Frog has been closed now for the best part of the past year.
Incredibly the club was turned down for funding from the government’s Cultural Recovery Fund by the Arts Council last year, due to being considered ‘not culturally significant’ enough – despite having played host to and developed the careers of many notable acts over the years.
But folk showed their love for the Manchester comedy club by donating to a Go Fund Me.
Now the club is finally fully equipped with all the tech to provide quality visuals and sound for streaming new online shows thanks to the kindness of its friends and fans and a sizable chunk of National Lottery match funding.
The list of donors to the club, which celebrated its 27th birthday last week, included comedian Jack Whitehall.
Jack, who honed his stand up skills at the club and still returns to warm up for his tours, gave a substantial amount of cash.
Other famous folk who donated include The Last Leg’s Adam Hills, the acclaimed Richard Herring who used to stop by with his solo show each year at the club, Britain’s Got Talent winner Lost Voice Guy Lee Ridley, All Killa No Filla podcast legends and Frog regulars Kiri Pritchard McLean and Rachel Fairburn, plus Peep Show’s Isy Suttie.
As well as many of the club’s supporters and fans, of course.
At the moment, the club will be live streaming the Monday night new act competition Beat the Frog and their flagship weekend show Barrel of Laughs every Saturday.
Beat the Frog is the club’s long running (since 2003) amateur night where acts attempt to stay on stage to deliver a five-minute set. But three audience members, participating via Zoom, will have the power to ‘croak’ off the act.
The hopefuls will be appearing from the club or from their homes via Zoom.
Barrel of Laughs will showcase the best of the country’s headline acts largely filmed from the Frog’s stage.
There will also be limited number of a live audience tickets who will log in via Zoom and be able to interact with the acts.
On Monday 8th March the line up will be an entirely female one for International Women’s Day.