The Laugh Tract: Lazy days and laughter in July

Comedy doesn't slow down in the summertime.

Ah, summertime.

Cookouts, the beach, long weekends. Things kind of slow down. In fact, many businesses experience a summer lag. There might be fewer events or things to do.

Comedy isn't one of those businesses.

Going out and seeing some stand-up comedy is one of the things that people like to do over the summer. And comedy clubs and theaters are more than willing to oblige, providing a steady stream of national talent with varying styles and a lot of experience.

Here are your best bets for July:


Doug Benson. Comedy at 4:20 in the afternoon? If that seems weird to you, you're probably not the target audience. The "420" crowd, on the other hand, will be eagerly-anticipating the return of Benson and his weed-friendly comedy. He's always debuting fresh material, too. So while the overall themes might be similar, the funny is often brand new.

$20. July 2, 4:20 p.m. Tampa Improv, 1600 E. Eighth Ave., Tampa. 813-864-4000.


Matt Bellassai. Most people have one of two reactions about this show: "Wow, Matt Bellassai is coming!" and "Who in the world is Matt Bellassai?"

Strangely, either response makes sense. Bellassai isn't known for a national commercial and he didn't play a wacky neighbor on a sitcom. He didn't win a comedy contest and he didn't come up the ranks by grinding away in comedy clubs around the country.

Instead, he's a bona fide online media star. His acclaimed web series, Whine About It, garnered him millions of fans. He has more than a million followers on Facebook, and that doesn't count all the other accounts (Twitter, Instagram, etc).

Why? Because he's funny. His drunken work rants captured life's frustrations in a unique and creative way, and he's displayed a good command of comedic timing with witty writing.

Now he's taking his humor on the road, and it appears his fans are eager to see him live. He has two shows scheduled for July 5, and the first one is already sold out. If you already know Bellassai's comedy, or want to see what all the fuss is about, you might want to get tickets now.

As you might expect, he has many clips on the Internet. And here's another sample.

$25-$45. July 5, 8 p.m. (sold out) and 10:15 p.m. Side Splitters, 12938 N. Dale Mabry Highway, Tampa. 813-960-1197.


Jeanne Robertson. Robertson is more humorist than comedian. It's a subtle distinction: One tells jokes with setups and punchlines, and the other uses anecdotal stories and personal philosophies to get their point across.

The end goal is the same, of course. Both want to make people laugh. And Roberston's been doing it for decades. She looks a bit more like a successful CEO than a comedian, but her expertise is funny, thought-provoking material that's appropriate for people of just about all ages.

Here's a clip of Robertson in action.

$36.25-$49.25. July 8, 7:30 p.m. The Capitol Theatre, 405 Cleveland St., Clearwater. 727-791-7400.


Jon Lovitz. That's the ticket! Lovitz is still regarded for his successful half-decade on "Saturday Night Live," even though that was more than 25 years ago. He's made steady movie and television appearances ever since, eventually getting into stand-up and hitting the road at regular intervals. His special engagement shows in Ybor will be filled with fans who still remember his iconic catch phrases and memorable characters, so expect plenty of callbacks and comedy.

$30. July 14, 8 p.m.; July 15, 8 p.m., July 16, 7:30 p.m. and 10 p.m. Tampa Improv, 1600 E. Eighth Ave., Tampa. 813-864-4000.


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