The Laugh Tract — who's bringing the funny

  • Jim Jefferies is at The Straz Friday night.

This week we have famous comedians, magicians, and dogs. Not together, mind you. It just means we have a lot of variety scheduled.

In any case, there should be something that appeals to anyone with a sense of humor. If that's you, take a look at what's on tap this week:

Theaters and Special Events

Jim Jefferies at The Straz Center (Ferguson Hall). Jefferies is a great storyteller, connecting with the audience like they're all sharing a beer at a local pub. Only this acclaimed comedian's stories, unlike what you hear at your local watering hole, are always sharp, clever and finish strong. Showtime is Friday at 8 p.m. $37.50. 1010 N. MacInnes Place in Tampa. Info: or 813-229-7827.

Popovich Comedy Pet Theater at The Mahaffey Theater. Comedy pet theater is pretty much what it sounds like: Pets (more than 30 in this case) engaging in comedic stunts and scenarios. It's not traditional stand-up, but who cares? It's family-friendly fun during the afternoon. If you're looking for something a little different to put a smile on your face, this could be it. Showtime is Sunday at 2 p.m. $22.50-$42.50. 400 1st St. S., St. Petersburg. Info: or 727-893-7832.

Comedy Clubs

Down 'N Dirty at Tampa Improv. Local favorites reveal very dirty minds in this adult-content show. This isn't the place for the easily-offended, but it is where you'll see the likes of Catherine Maloney, Johnny B, Kyle Ruse, John Jacobs and Matt Fernandez showcase their talents. Showtime is Wednesday at 8 p.m. $10. 1600 E. Eighth Ave., Tampa. Info: or 813-864-4000.

Felipe Esparza at Tampa Improv. The former “Last Comic Standing” winner has a likable demeanor and easy-going stage presence. He’ll touch on topics like family and his Mexican heritage in a way that will likely resonate with you in your own life and experiences. 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. $17-$20. 1600 E. Eighth Ave., Tampa. Info: or 813-864-4000.

Elite 8/Patrick Garrity at Side Splitters. The year-long Side Splitters comedy tournament started with 64 hopefuls, and they're now down to eight. They'll cut that number in half on Thursday, with the clever Patrick Garrity closing out the show. Showtime is Thursday at 8:30 p.m. $10-$12. 12938 N. Dale Mabry Highway, Tampa. Info: or 813-960-1197.

Patrick Garrity at Side Splitters. With an animated style, Garrity does a good job of skewering a variety of people from his own observations and experiences. And sometimes he’s the person being skewered, which is still very funny from the audience’s perspective. Note: The Sunday show is also a benefit for the Special Operations Warrior Foundation, which benefits the families of special operations personnel who have been killed or wounded in action.
Showtimes are Saturday at 6 p.m. and Sunday at 7 p.m. $10-$12. 12938 N. Dale Mabry Highway, Tampa. Info: or 813-960-1197.

Dom Irrera at Side Splitters. Being a fixture on comedy stages for decades, Irrera is a constant stand-up staple on the touring circuit. The accomplished comedian throws out casual barbs and funny stories with the ease of a veteran who always knows how to keep audiences entertained. Showtimes are Friday at 8 p.m. and 10:15 p.m. and Saturday at 8 p.m. and 10:15 p.m. $16-$18. 12938 N. Dale Mabry Highway, Tampa. Info: or 813-960-1197.

Darryl Rhoades at Snappers Grill & Comedy Club. Rhoades is both an accomplished comedian and musician. He can make you laugh with jokes or songs, and you might just get a bit of both this weekend.  Showtimes are Friday and Saturday at 7 p.m. and 9:30 p.m. $12. 36657 U.S. Highway 19 N., Palm Harbor. Info: or 727-938-2027.

Elliot Smith at 2 Palms Bar & Bistro. Comedy and magic go pretty well together, with laughter loosening up the mind, and sleight of hand challenging it at the same time. Smith puts his talents to the test on Saturday night. Showtime is Saturday at 8:30 p.m. $10. 2950 Gulf To Bay Blvd., Clearwater. Info: or 727-741-8014.

One-nighters and independent shows

G. David Howard at Sporty's On The Beach. Howard's weekly residence at Sporty's features the longtime comedian drawing from his decades of stage experience. He mixes his regular material with plenty of crowd work to provide the kind of set only a true stand-up veteran can provide. Showtime is Friday and Saturday at 8:30 p.m. $15. 17093 Gulf Blvd., North Redington Beach. Info: 727-596-6725.

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