Laugh Tract: The NYE edition

Laugh away 2016.

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There are many reasons why 2016 needs to go.

An overdose of politics, dead celebrities and Pokemon GO (that's over, right?) have us wanting a fresh start and a new year. And if you felt like crying in 2016, say farewell with a few laughs. New Year's Eve is a popular night for comedy clubs.

Not only are they open, but they have special shows that often include party favors and a champagne toast at the end of the evening. Or, if you have other plans, catch the early show and then head out to a party. The shows might cost a little more, but it's a special evening. We're kicking the old year to the curb and starting things new, and the best way to do that is with a smile on your face. 

Here's the roundup of New Year's Eve comedy shows (all shows take place on, well, New Year's Eve):

Christian Finnegan. Finnegan (seen on Chappelle's Show and the long-running Best Week Ever) has a dry, sharp wit and a relaxed stage demeanor. There's an intelligence to his material, but it's not safe comedy. Shocking and smart go hand-in-hand when he's on stage.

Here's a bit of Finnegan's comedy.

Tampa Improv, 1600 E. Eighth Ave.Tampa7:30 p.m.: $25 or $45 with dinner; 10:30 p.m.: $25 or $35 with snacks, champagne and party favors. 813-864-4000. improvtampa.com. 

Ralphie May. May's been a comedy heavyweight since he was runner-up on the first season of Last Comic Standing. Since then, very little of what he says can be put on television. Brash and outspoken, May dominates the stage with a casual presence but a no-nonsense perspective on race and other sensitive subjects. And every time you see him he's got plenty of new material for you.

Here's a taste of May on stage (NSFW, of course).

Side Splitters, 12938 N. Dale Mabry HighwayTampa5:30 p.m., $35; 7:45 p.m., $35; and 10:30 p.m., $35-$90. 813-960-1197. sidesplitterscomedy.com 

Gemini. Gemini's show is certainly comedy, but it's not limited to stand-up. There's some illusion, some ventriloquism and some performance humor. And, of course, plenty of jokes. A seasoned performer, Gemini has no problem navigating back and forth through a variety of styles. it's all funny, but this show is for people who want some diversity in their comedy delivery.

Snappers Grill & Comedy Club, 36657 U.S. Highway 19 N., Palm Harbor7 p.m. and 10 p.m.: $20 online; $25 door. 727-938-2027. snappersgrill.com.

Chris Barnes. With decades of stage experience, Barnes' storytelling is comfortable, entertaining and impeccably timed. Both casual and expressive, he keeps audiences laughing with a great sense of what's funny and a delivery to match. Long-time local comedian Danny Bevins (a headliner in his own right) is also part of the show.

Coconuts, 5501 Gulf Blvd.St. Pete Beach. 7 p.m.: $35; 9:30 p.m., $49. 727-360-5653. coconutscomedyclubs.com.


Michael Murillo takes comedy seriously. Follow him on Twitter and watch for his monthly Laugh Tract rundown of how to laugh in the Tampa Bay are.

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