This is where you can read reviews of XS Malarkey (any which refer to Murphy's Malarkey are applicable as it's the same top club under a different name!) Just goes to show what a fantastic comedy club this is!

Click here to see a review of the very final comedy night of Murphy's Malarkey.

Click here to see a review of the very first comedy night of XS Malarkey.


"The most accessible comedy night in Manchester."
- The Metro

"An excellent line-up is par for the course at Malarkey."
- City Life

"The funniest men to come out of the country for less than the price of a kebab."
- News North West

"Two headliners are always better than one. And at the incredible price of £2 you wouldn’t even mind if the acts were really bad (which they weren’t). Especially when there are free chips and cheese hors d'ouevres, plus a stash of penny sweets behind the bar.

This is comedy heaven. Better known as XS Malarkey, Toby Hadoke’s regular Tuesday comic strip at Bar XS, Fallowfield.

Now in its fifth year and having moved from Scruffy Murphy’s, XS Malarkey has its own tribe, trained in stool stealing and bad limericks.

Unlike the sporadic Comedy Store crowds, the Bar XS audience is here to have fun rather than waste time making open mike spots so uncomfortable they wet themselves on the spot.

This week's open mike acts, however, Lee Grounds and Geoff Taylor were on form, so there was no need for nappies.

Grounds’ material kicked off with that topical contradiction in terms -, or rather Observational irony.

His delivery was nervous at times, but his material saw him through: "Don’t you hate those people who say, ‘guess who I’ve just seen?’ when it could be a million different answers. Then they narrow the odds down and say, ‘I’ll give you three guesses.’ "

When Geoff Taylor walked on stage it was like someone had put bounce into the wash. Taylor’s animated delivered his topical routine. Described on as a ‘cheeky chipmunk’ he didn’t take time bribing the audience with Milky Bars. He does happen to look like an overgrown version of that 80's ad.

From Afghanistan to the Manchester bomb he beamed: "At least they improved the Arndale."

Headliner Natalie Haynes couldn’t talk any faster. Think of a large monkey on speed - the amphetamine part is the important part - she says. She could probably have challenged the world record for the world’s fastest talker (which in case you didn’t know is 10.25 words per second or 637 words a minute).

Going off on tangents is Haynes speciality and a more-ish one at that. Her humour is going to strike a chorus of chords with many and alienate very few. Why aren’t all women as funny as her?

All the way from Canada was Stewart Francis. In spite of his Paul McCartney jokes falling on deaf ears his irony finally sunk in to a somewhat drunken audience. Overflowing with one-liners - such as "I was stood in the park wondering, ‘why do Frisbees get bigger the nearer they get?’ And then it hit me.’" - he was a rare treat.

XS Malarkey is on every Tuesday at Bar XS, Wilmslow Rd, Fallowfield. £4 (£2 for members). Check out the site for more information.
- Belinda Hanks, Manchester Evening News

"This thoroughly fine comedy club goes from strength to strength - and is still a bargain."
- Kevin Bourke, Manchester Evening News

"Situated in the heart of student-land, Murphy's Malarkey has become the most enduring new comedy night to hit the city in the past couple of years. The dingy atmosphere is everything a comedy club should be, small, smoky and full of beer. Forget the clinical atmosphere of bigger venues, this is where comedy is at its very best. Promoter, compere and self-styled sex god Toby Hadoke has overseen the smooth running of Murphy's and he puts the night's success down to two basics -

"We're cheap and friendly. Audiences like it because they get an evening of top live acts for a quid, and comedians like it because they always know it's going to be a friendly gig. At capacity, Murphy's can squeeze 150 people through its doors, with an even mix of students and locals, and the night's reputation has become so strong that it fills up early. Keep an eye on the listings because in the coming months we're promised a string of special events including Peter Kay, a special appearance by Canadian Stewart Francis and a fun filled Christmas special. With some comedy clubs hell bent on ripping off their customers and others full to the brim with nutters, why not get down to Murphy's?"
- Daniel Brocklehurst, City Life

"Last year Canadian comic Stewart Francis, who has his own TV show in his native country and appeared in films alongside the likes of Michael Keaton and Christopher Lloyd, played his only English gig at Murphy's Malarkey. Next week he's back, having apparently enjoyed its smoky intimacy so much last time.

"Compere Toby Hadoke gave me an hilariously self-deprecating introduction which meant that the audience were in stitches by the time I got on", he recalls. "From then on it was a terrifically friendly and intimate night. I loved it, so I'm more than happy to make a return appearance."

With such an established act headlining this cheap and cheerful venue, the night will be opening with a host of newer acts hoping to make their mark. Anyone who wants the chance of an open spot should contact Toby at the venue. "You won't miss me, I'm the one with the bad jacket, appalling beard and conspicuous lack of female company," admits hapless Toby."
- Kevin Bourke, Manchester Evening News

"The heartland of student Manchester, Fallowfield's reputation has long been intertwined with that of its young inhabitants - centring around noise, litter and the chemically-enhanced theft of roadsigns. But although there was perhaps once a time when the nearest you'd get to local humour was gratuitous highway obliteration, the district has in recent times also set out its stall as home to a respected comedy venue. For while Scruffy Murpphy's is by day a typical Oirish pub, on Tuesdays it plays host to Murphy's Malarkey, the non-pretentious stand-up evening now in its third year.

Tonight's headliners are gag-a-minute Sunderland comic Mark Rough (doing his last evert stand-up gig before retiring into a life of cabaret) and in-your-face absurdist Stan Vernon who, according to one Stan Vernon, is 'an absolutely amazing act who kills penguins in his spare time and did once iron his penis'.

Completing the bill this evening is new-arrival Dan Musson, who made his Malarkey debut as an audience member shouting down a hecklet but has since been persuaded to launch his observational humour from the other side of the microphone.

Which leaves compere Toby Hadoke the task of taking on the audience trouble-makers - a job he regards as his duty and, with the zeal of a true comedy enthusiast, really does seem to relish.
- Helen Duff, Manchester Metro

Click here to see the cutting of the above review!