it's in the heart of Oldham

it's in the heart of Oldham

It’s Plane to See you were meant for me

Did you hear the one about the stand up comedian and the travel agent who met in an online pub? No? Well you’re about to…

Lorraine Robinson and Colin Manford met during lockdown in an online tavern aimed at relieving the boredom and monotony, a way to stay connected and inspired through one of the weirdest times in modern history. Lorraine, who is a travel agent, started the online group with a former business partner (that story didn’t end so well so we’ll just leave it at that) and it’s fair to say that the success and strength of the online community took her somewhat by surprise.

It was in this virtual world that she met Colin, a stand up comedian from a family of stand up comedians. Colin’s brother is popular TV comedian, Jason Manford, so it’s clear that a talent to make others laugh runs in the family.

Having met Lorraine and Colin, it’s fair to say that although they are not siblings themselves, something about their relationship means you wouldn’t be surprised if someone told you they were. There’s an obvious chemistry and lighthearted mockery between them (although to be honest, most of that is aimed from Lorraine towards Colin!) which is charming and endearing.

When the online pub was no-longer a part of their lives, Colin and Lorraine decided that they ought to combine their talents and start an entertainment company. The name Plane Comedy is a combination of the travel and comedy skills they both bring to the table. With Colin’s connections in the world of comedy and Lorraine’s business skills, they set off on an adventure to book comedy nights at various venues across the north, supported by a podcast, where you can hear the relationship between the pair and some of the great guests they have lined up for their live shows.

The podcasts are on hiatus at the moment, but a highlight from the previous series was a trip to record with Phoenix Nights star Dave Spikey at his home. I heard this and other stories first hand when I interviewed the pair for my own podcast. I learned how they learned that it really is important to make sure that they select the right venue and the right audience when booking Plane Comedy events. One night at a golf club in front of what’s best described as a rather conservative audience helped them learn that lesson!

The content of the nights is definitely for adults who aren’t easily offended and Colin told me of a number of occasions where it takes all of his skills and experience to navigate his way through the evening with the minimum of damage! It’s horses for courses as the old adage goes.

Both Colin and Lorraine understand how important selecting the right venue is. They are always on the lookout for unique and interesting spaces, which is what led them to Billingtons. Oldham hasn’t hosted a night like this in the town centre on a regular basis for a long time, although Plane Comedy did run successfully for a while at Boundary Park’s Oldham Event Centre.

Billingtons wants to bring variety and entertainment back to the town centre and this is something that Lorraine and Colin, who are both local to the area, are equally passionate about. It’s going to be fantastic for everyone involved to hear the sound of laughter ringing out from inside the newly decorated ballroom and we can’t wait.

So who is it that will be providing the laughs? Every Plane Comedy event is hosted by Colin, who is the MC for the night. He gets the audience warmed up for the first act and links the night together. There will be three other performers to enjoy. First on the bill is Martin Mor, who is currently on tour Down Under. He’s followed by George Lewis who is a hoot on TikTok and finally Steve Shanyaski who as well as being a comedian is also a dance music producer, so no doubt he’ll be right at home working the crowd on the Billingtons dance floor.

You can hear the interview that I did at my podcast studio for my new show KUPODCAST, which is a podcast about people who make podcasts, here from 5th March. There’s more detail about the origins of Plane Comedy, what happend at the golf club gig and why Colin won’t be moving back to Fitton Hill in a hurry.

Plane Comedy are hosting their first show at Billingtons Oldham on Saturday 18th March. Get your tickets here for what is sure to be a sell out event.

By Matt Dean

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It’s Plane to See you were meant for me