The Laugh Tract — Who's Bringing the Funny

A rare visit from John Waters tops the list of Tampa Bay entertainment options this week.

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This is a good week to laugh.

Technically, every week is a good week to laugh, right? But this week is especially good. Not only is there a lot of variety on stages, but they have a full schedule. Next week will be a different story, with Christmas meaning more family and less funny (depending on your family, of course).

So find a show this week and enjoy some laughs. Here's the lineup:

Theaters and Special Events

John Waters at The Capitol Theatre. OK, maybe this isn't like the other stand-up acts, but it's bound to be as funny as most shows you'll see this weekend. As a filmmaker, Waters is known as the Pope of Trash, mainly for his infamous "Trash Trilogy." You either know these films or you don't.
What you should know is that Waters is an engaging speaker, colorful and funny, unapologetic and completely comfortable with his place in film history. If you're known as the "weird one" in your circle of friends, you probably have tickets for this Christmas-themed event already. If not, get them now.
Showtime is Wednesday at 8 p.m. $35-$45. 405 Cleveland St., Clearwater. Info: atthecap.com or 727-791-7400.

Comedy Clubs

Sloan-A-Claus at Tampa Improv. This annual holiday show features Improv-regular Sloan serving up his clever wordplay, along with a lineup of talented locals. 'Tis the season for adult humor.
Showtime is Wednesday at 8 p.m. $5. 1600 E. Eighth Ave., Tampa (Ybor City). Info: improvtampa.com or 813-864-4000.

Myq Kaplan at Tampa Improv. The Last Comic Standing finalist delivers plenty of smart material, normally from the standpoint of a casual ranter or amused observer. His lively stories are peppered with clever anecdotes and wordplay, or sometimes it's just a sarcastic deconstruction of an everyday situation.
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 (Ybor City). Info: improvtampa.com or 813-864-4000.

Rich Guzzi at Side Splitters. Comedy hypnosis is a different show every time out, with audience volunteers responding to Guzzi's comedic suggestions. The late shows on Friday and Saturday night are labeled "EXXXtreme Special Events," which leads us to believe they might be a little bit dirty.
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 10:30 p.m. and Sunday at 7 p.m. $10-$16.50. 12938 N. Dale Mabry Highway, Tampa. Info: sidesplitterscomedy.com or 813-960-1197.

Traci Kanaan at Snappers Grill & Comedy Club. The "Princess of Parodies" delivers her twisted takes on popular tunes, with some stand-up mixed in. You know the songs, but you haven't heard them quite like this.
Showtimes are Thursday at 7:30 p.m. and Friday and Saturday at 7 p.m. and 9:30 p.m. $12. 36657 U.S. Highway 19 N., Palm Harbor. Info: snappersgrill.com or 727-938-2027.

Ward Smith at 2 Palms. Smith's got decades of stand-up under his belt, and the easy stage presence of an accomplished stage actor (which is also part of his resume). Whether he's discussing family life or random observations, his material is delivered with confidence and sharp timing.
Showtime is Saturday at 8:30 p.m. $10. 2950 Gulf To Bay Blvd., Clearwater. Info: 2palmstampabay.com or 727-400-6920.

Tim Moffett at Coconuts Comedy Club (at MJ's). Moffett's known as “The Dairy Farmer,” and he brings his down-home humor to the beach this week. His southern accent and casual stage presence makes for a welcoming platform for his sometimes-silly but crowd-pleasing material.
Showtimes are Wednesday, Thursday and Saturday at 9:30 p.m. $20-$25. 5501 Gulf Blvd., St. Pete Beach. Info: coconutscomedyclubs.com or 727-360-5653.

Ben Hague at Coconuts Comedy Club (at MJ's). Hague has a youthful look, but don't be fooled. His observations about friendships and relationships reveal a relatable wit that keeps audiences laughing regardless of age. One night only.
Showtime is Friday at 9:30 p.m. 5501 Gulf Blvd., St. Pete Beach. Info: coconutscomedyclubs.com or 727-360-5653.

One-nighters and Special Events

The Roast of Artie Fletcher at Wild Willy's Bar and Nightclub (free show). Longtime comedian Artie Fletcher (on a break from his national tour with Gallagher) gets the roast treatment from his friends and entertainment buddies. Expect cruel, insulting, mean material in true roast fashion, and probably some payback from the roastee himself.
Showtime is Wednesday at 9 p.m. Free. 13355 S. Belcher Road, Largo. Info: 727-533-2203.


Holiday Comedy Explosion
at New World Brewery. This annual benefit show will send funds to Big Cat Rescue, Tampa's exotic feline animal sanctuary. In addition to organizer Robby Slowik, the bill includes local talents like J. B. Ball, Matt Fernandez, Law Smith and Mona Smith (yes, Mr. and Mrs. Smith are married. But they're both funny and often talk about each other on stage).
Showtime is Friday at 8 p.m. $10 suggested donation. 1313 E. 8th Ave., Tampa (Ybor City). Info: 813-248-4969 or newworldbrewery.net.

Kava Komedy at Bula Kafe. This regular show features local up-and-comers to warm up the crowd, and a more established closer to cap things off. This week it's Jeff Tinevez.
Showtime is Thursday at 9 p.m. Free. 2500 5th Ave N., St. Petersburg. Info: 727-498-8913.

Kava Komedy at Red Tiki Bar. This show follows the Kava formula of up-and-comers providing support to an experienced closer. For this one the audience will be entertained by Cam Bertrand.
Showtime is Saturday at 8 p.m. Free. 7361 46th Ave N., St. Petersburg. Info: 727-914-8928.

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.
By the way, there's a $5 coupon on Howard's website under "special offers."
Showtime is Friday and Saturday at 9:35 p.m. $20. 17093 Gulf Blvd., North Redington Beach. Info: 727-596-6725 or gdavidhoward.com.

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