No laughing matter: Iconic comedy club Frog & Bucket rejected for arts funding as it’s “not culturally significant”

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“This is total bullshit. Every comic worth their salt in the last 30 years has played there.”

Ross Noble is not mincing his words.

The comedian is one of dozens rushing to defend Manchester’s iconic comedy club Frog & Bucket, which received some devastating news earlier this month.

The venue has provided a stage for local standups for over quarter of a century, serving as the launchpad for stars like Peter Kay, John Bishop, Caroline Ahern, Johnny Vegas, Jack Whitehall and Lee Mack. 

But apparently, it’s not “culturally significant” enough to qualify for financial support. 

Earlier this month, the government distributed money to arts venues across the country as part of the Culture Recovery Fund – which was set up to support arts organisations in the pandemic.

Frog & Bucket asked for £60,000 from the £257 million available.

They got nothing. 

Now, the biggest comedy club outside London is, bewilderingly, hanging by a thread.

How the Arts Council could fail to fund a club that has nurtured some of the greatest talent the UK comedy circuit has ever seen is something of a mystery. 

But at a time when the north – and Manchester in particular – is feeling neglected, perhaps it shouldn’t come as such a huge surprise. 

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In lieu of government money – which the venue was heavily relying on to stay afloat – a fundraiser entitled ‘Save The Frog & Bucket Comedy Club’ has been launched to try and raise the cash required to “stay open on reduced capacity.”

The first target was £5,000. But now the bar has been raised after so many fans queued to throw money in the pot.

At the time of writing, over £13,000 has flooded in so far. 

“We believe we are essential to the Live Comedy Circuit and Manchester’s cultural offering,” the petition reads. 

“Now we need to crowdfund in the short term to stay open on reduced capacity and keep comics in work and audiences laughing.” 

Between the tier debacle and warnings of a dreadful winter on the horizon, Manchester needs comedy more than ever right now. 

Frog & Bucket, despite what the government has decreed, is indeed a significant venue. 

Head over to the fundraising page to offer your support and please give whatever you can. 

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