Thursday, March 13, 2014

The Laugh Tract — who's bringing the funny

Posted By on Thu, Mar 13, 2014 at 11:34 AM

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If you can't find a stand-up comedy show to see this week, you're probably not looking very hard. There are comedy legends, rising stars, local favorites and plenty of free shows. For those looking to laugh, these are your options:

Theaters

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Joan Rivers at Ruth Eckerd Hall. Your favorite female stand-up comedian owes Rivers a debt of gratitude. She was a trail-blazer at a time when stand-up was normally reserved for one gender. And she's still doing it at 80, with plenty of dirty punchlines and witty barbs to remind everyone that she can still trade comic punches with the best of them. Showtime is Friday at 7:30 p.m. 1111 McMullen Booth Road, Clearwater. Info: rutheckerdhall.com or 727-791-7400.

The Not So Newlywed Game at Ruth Eckerd Hall. This isn't stand-up comedy, but The Newlywed Game has been making television audiences laugh off and on for nearly 50 years. Now it comes to the stage for a live presentation with Bob Eubanks, the show's iconic host during its most popular TV run. Couples from the audience will compete, trying to predict each other's answers to a variety of questions. If you liked it on TV, seeing Eubanks running the show again should bring back some fond memories. Showtime is Sunday at 2 p.m. 1111 McMullen Booth Road, Clearwater. Info: rutheckerdhall.com or 727-791-7400.

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Aziz Ansari at The Mahaffey Theater. Ansari, pictured above, is best known from Parks and Recreation, which has a very loyal, if not very large, following. But Ansari is also known for his stand-up, which often focuses on personal stories and observations. Those who love the show will be happy to see him in this format, and plenty of those who haven't discovered it should find his clever comedy appealing. A second show has now been added. Showtimes are Sunday at 7 p.m. and 10 p.m. 400 First St. S., St. Petersburg. (7 p.m. show is sold out.) Info: themahaffey.com or 727-893-7832.

Suzanne Westenhoefer at The Palladium. Westenhoefer was the first openly-gay comedian to appear on television. Today that isn't a big deal, but in the 90s it was still considered shocking and not easily-accepted. Today, her material is as unapologetic and clever as it was two decades ago. Showtime is Monday at 7:30 p.m. 253 5th Ave. N., St. Petersburg. Info: mypalladium.org or 727-822-3590.


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Katt Williams at the USF Sun Dome. After some bizarre behavior in 2012, Williams seems to be back doing what he does best: Making people laugh. His energetic performances leave him drenched in sweat, and his unapologetic style and adult storytelling leaves audiences catching their breath between laughs. Showtime is Saturday at 8 p.m. 4202 E. Fowler Ave., Tampa. Info: sundomearena.com or 813-974-3004.

Comedy Clubs

Jo Koy at Tampa Improv. Koy is well-known from his regular spots on Chelsea Lately, and his material on stage doesn't deviate from his witty barbs on that show. He touches on race, relationships, and anything that deserves analysis. You'll probably see a few impressions to add emphasis to the premises as well. Showtimes are Thursday at 8 p.m., Friday at 8 p.m. and 10:30 p.m. and Saturday at 7:30 p.m. and 10 p.m. 1600 E. Eighth Ave., Tampa. Info: improvtampa.com or 813-864-4000.

Tony Gaud at Tampa Improv. Local comedian Gaud has toured the country and appeared at several comedy festivals. His laid-back presence is a perfect launching pad for witty observations, honest introspection and more than a little sarcasm. Showtime is Wednesday at 8 p.m. 1600 E. Eighth Ave., Tampa. Info: improvtampa.com or 813-864-4000.

Steve Marshall at Snappers Grill & Comedy Club. Marshall's mantra is "Don't Behave," and he takes it seriously while not being serious on stage. His energetic set has few boundaries but plenty of punchlines. Showtimes are Friday and Saturday at 7 p.m. and 9:30 p.m. 36657 U.S. 19 N., Palm Harbor. Info: snappersgrill.com or 727-938-2027.

Martin Montana at Coconuts (St. Pete Beach). Montana is a relatively young performer, but he's a veteran of several comedy festivals. He uses an energetic stage presence and a slew of voices that imitate music, sports and other familiar pop culture figures to entertain audiences. If you're looking for something to complement the traditional setup/punchline format, this could be a good option for you.  Showtimes are Wednesday-Saturday at 9:30 p.m. 6200 Gulf Blvd. at the Beachcomber Resort, St. Pete Beach. Info: coconutscomedyclubs.com or 727-360-5653.

Kevin Deady at Jack's Joint. Local comedian Deady makes another stop at Jack's, which is usually the best place to catch him performing in the area. One night only. Showtime is Saturday at 8:30 p.m. 2950 Gulf-to-Bay Blvd., Clearwater. Info: tampabaycomedy.com or 727-741-8014.

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Jim Florentine at Side Splitters. Remember Special Ed from Crank Yankers, the puppets/prank calls show that aired on Comedy Central? Many stand-up comedians lent their voices to the show's characters, with Florentine's perhaps the best-known puppet. The comedic mastermind (right) has been involved with pranks for more than a decade, and brings a similar mischievous cruelty to his popular comedy. Showtimes are Thursday at 8:30 p.m., Friday at 8 p.m. and 10:15 p.m., Saturday at 6 p.m., 8 p.m. and 10:15 p.m. and Sunday at 7 p.m. 12938 N. Dale Mabry, Tampa. Info: sidesplitterscomedy.com or 813-960-1197.

One-nighters and Independent Shows

Cigar City Comedy Dale 1891 March 13. Local comedians John Jacobs, Johnny B, J.B. Ball, Michael Murillo, Mona Chiarizio and Tarik Lewis serve up adult comedy at this free monthly event. Showtime is Thursday at 8 p.m. 11742 N. Dale Mabry, Tampa. Info: 813-961-2121.

Steve Netta at Niagara Tap. Netta is a fast-talking performer with a sharp wit and plenty of stories. His Italian background serves as a springboard for his no-nonsense style of comedy which has kept audiences laughing for more than 20 years. Local performer Chris Matson opens. Showtime is Friday at 7 p.m. Niagara Tap is located at 11950 Seminole Blvd. in Largo. For more information, visit theniagaratap.com or call 727-581-5331.

Steve Arik at Oldsmar Tap House. Arik has a quarter-century of stage experience under his belt, and enough dirty jokes to tame any crowd. It's a good chance to see a talented local comedy vet for free.  Showtime is Saturday at 8:30 p.m. 300 State St. E., Oldsmar. Info: 813-475-5996.


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