Dom Woodward - the 5-star comedian...

Martin Cassidy Not quite as good as last night, but not far off.

First on, the likeable Martin Cassidy from Blackburn who was trying out some new material. Some of it is potentially pretty good but needs the delivery to be a bit more polished. Martin started off with a fairly decent gag about the Commonwealth games logo and then went on to some material about Carol Vorderman and the Better Homes program on TV, which seemed to be the weak point of the act.

As I said, a fair bit of the material has potential, an did get laughs, but the delivery needs to be speeded up a bit. Not bad, though.

Steve G Next up was Comedy Balloon regular Steve G.

Steve's set was much improved over the last time he played Malarkey's back in February, not least because this time we could actually hear him! The last time he held the microphone too far away and consequently most of the gags were lost on the audience.

This time, while not exactly booming, it was as least audible and worked better. He still needs to work on the delivery a bit (especially the "No? Oh well." when a gag fails - most off-putting) but some of the gags were brilliant, some perhaps a touch too clever for an audience not yet warmed up properly. On the whole, a big improvement though.

Dom Woodward Third up was another Ballooner, Dominic Woodward.

Dom had a storming set at Malarkey's and even though it was nearly all stuff I'd already heard, I still laughed purely because of the energy and enthusiasm that the cheeky young scamp put into it - it works well, Dom.

As I said much of the set was the older material, but Dom's coming back next week to try out some new stuff so hopefully it'll go down well enough for him to keep in the set.

Next on was sometime Comedy Balloon compere (and all-time Mirth on Monday compere), Des Sharples.

Des Sharples Des started with some new Commonwealth material which went down pretty well (liked the gag about the scallies banging out identical tracksuits). Then it was back to the older material. Have to say though, the pretending to forget the newspaper article was probably the best I've seen it! Been taking drama lessons Des?

The rest of the set (with a bit of new stuff about giving condoms to under-16's at school) went down pretty well with the crowd, the bit about his hard mate Barry probably getting the most laughs.

A decent set from Des, good response from the crowd, which was pretty good considering he went on after Dom stormed it. Oh, one small point Des, try to cut down on the phrase "You know what I mean?" Must be a Manc thing, I've seen Justin Moorhouse do it a couple of times.

Smug Roberts Headliner of the night was the Godfather of Moston, Smug Roberts.

Smug came on in his usual dramatic fashion accompanied by that Elvis remix, but the rest of the set seemed quiet and laid back by comparison. In fact there was feedback at one point when Adam had to boost the volume as he came across as unusually quiet.

Still, volume aside, the set was okay, but I've seen Smug do much better before now. I don't know if he'd been at the nitrous oxide before but he was laughing after almost every joke which I find particularly off-putting - a shame because a lot of the gags were good. Somehow reminiscent of the mainstream acts of the 80's.

We'll put it down to an off-day as I know Smug can do much better. Oh well.

See you next week!