Here are the best bets for this week:
Sinbad at Ruth Eckerd Hall. Sinbad might be the other comedian performing at Ruth Eckerd Hall this week, but don't discount the 25-year comedy vet. He's been making audiences laugh on television and comedy club stages since before some current stars were even talking. His animated stage presence and considerable experience draws crowds around the country.
Showtime is Saturday at 7:30 p.m. 1111 McMullen Booth Road, Clearwater. Info: rutheckerdhall.com or 727-791-7400.
Paul Mecurio at Tampa Improv. A regular on political talk shows and cable news channels, Mecurio delivers intelligent observations with a funny twist. Fans of lowbrow humor might be disappointed, but those who want some thought behind their comedy will have fun this weekend.
Showtimes are Thursday at 8 p.m., Friday at 8 p.m. and 10:30 p.m., Saturday at 7:30 p.m. and 10 p.m. and Sunday at 7 p.m. 1600 E. Eighth Ave., Tampa. Info: improvtampa.com or 813-864-4000.
Steve Byrne at Side Splitters. Known for his hit TBS show Sullivan & Son, Byrne is also has a long resume of comedy specials and television and radio appearances. Byrne touches on his Asian heritage in his act, but delivers a wide variety of material with a confident style and a touch of self-deprecation.
Showtimes are Thursday at 8:30 p.m., Friday at 8 p.m. and 10:15 p.m. and Saturday at 6 p.m., 8 p.m. and 10:15 p.m. 12938 N. Dale Mabry Highway, Tampa. Info: sidesplitterscomedy.com or 813-960-1197.
Jack Wilhite at Snappers Grill & Comedy Club. Wilhite isn't just a musical comedy act. He's armed with props, wigs and costumes designed to reinvent your favorite artists with parodies of their most famous songs. If you're looking for a standard mic-and-comedian act, this isn't it. But music fans should enjoy the mix of hits and humor.
Showtimes are Friday and Saturday at 7 p.m. and 9:30 p.m. 36657 U.S. Highway 19 N., Palm Harbor. Info: snappersgrill.com or 727-938-2027.
Chris Gorges at Coconuts Comedy Club (St. Pete Beach). Gorges is in constant motion on stage, going from set material to stream-of-conscious monologues in the blink of an eye. But since he's a long-time comedy vet, odds are you'll be out of breath before he will.
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.
Joe Beddia (as George Carlin) at Jack's Joint. Beddia is a man of many voices, but on this night he'll be performing a tribute to legendary comedian George Carlin. Considering Carlin's been dead for more than five years, Beddia's use of his material and mannerisms is as close as you'll get to seeing him live.
Showtime is Saturday at 8:30 p.m. 2950 Gulf To Bay Blvd., Clearwater. Info: tampabaycomedy.com or 727-741-8014.
One-nighters and Independent Shows
Cowhead Christmas Spectacular with Bert Kreischer at the Seminole Hard Rock Hotel & Casino (free show). The evening includes a screening of Kreischer's latest documentary, followed by a live taping of his podcast with popular radio personality Cowhead as his guest. Cowhead's band Pitbull Toddler closes out the evening. It's not a traditional stand-up comedy show, but it's a variety of entertainment featuring a funny, nationally-known headliner and it's free.
Showtime is Friday at 8:30 p.m. 5223 N. Orient Road, Tampa. Info: seminolehardrocktampa.com or 1-866-502-7529.
4th Annual Holiday Explosion at New World Brewery. This annual charity show features a pair of former Tampa comedians who now work in Los Angeles (event organizer Robby Slowik, pictured, left, and Sandro Iocolano) as well as local talent J.B. Ball, Matt Fernandez and Law Smith. Expect plenty of adult-oriented comedy to benefit Ronald McDonald House and FAAST (Florida Alliance For Assistive Services Technology).
Doors open Thursday at 8 p.m. 1313 E. 8th Ave., Tampa. Info: newworldbrewery.net or 813-248-4969.
Hawk and Wayne’s It’s a Living at the CL Space. Here’s a show for fans of Office Space, The Office or just folks who would prefer to laugh at the American workplace. As audience members offer up suggestions of an office of other work setting, improv-isarios Gavin Hawk and Ricky Wayne will take you through an unscripted, improvised stream of consciousness — a show they perform the first Sunday of the month at American Stage. Equipped with bizarre employees, workplace politics, witty corporate shenanigans and a touch surrealism, the show offers laughs for just about everyone who’s trying to make a living. $8 suggested at door. Showtime is 8 p.m., Sat., Dec. 21, 1911 N 13th St Suite W200, Ybor City (above the Spaghetti Warehouse). facebook.com/hawkandwayne. (Text contributed by Julie Garisto)