The Laugh Tract — who's bringing the funny

  • He's so unusual: Demetri Martin is at The Straz on Saturday night.

It's the holiday season, but you still have plenty of time to do your shopping. Why not hit up a comedy club for some laughs instead? There's a lot of variety for audiences, and there's never a bad time of year to laugh. So avoid the malls and check out the current list of acts in town to make you laugh:

Theaters and Special Events

Demetri Martin at The Straz Center (Ferguson Hall). It's a good thing that Martin's popularity has him working theaters, because his comedy is less like actual stand-up and more like a one-man show. His quirky style includes music and visual aides, and are designed to get his unconventional (but very clever) points across.  Showtime is Saturday at 8 p.m. $39.50. 1010 N. MacInnes Place in Tampa. Info: StrazCenter.org or 813-229-7827.

Damon Wayans Sr. and Damon Wayans Jr. at the Seminole Hard Rock Hotel and Casino. Wayans, Sr. has been a comedy staple since the "In Living Color" days, and his son is following in his father's footsteps with his own television and movie roles. They'll share the stand-up stage at the Hard Rock for two shows, and provide the kind of outrageous comedy you'd expect from the popular Wayans clan.
Showtimes are Saturday at 6 p.m. and 9 p.m. $50. 5223 N. Orient Road, Tampa. Info: 813-627-7625 or SeminoleHardRockTampa.com.

Comedy Clubs

Al Romas at Tampa Improv. Romas, a Creative Loafing "Best of the Bay" stand-up comedy winner, has decades of experience and plenty of funny premises. But it's his banter with the crowd that really stands out, creating spontaneous comedy in a way only a true stage veteran can. Showtime is Wednesday at 8 p.m. $10. 1600 E. Eighth Ave., Tampa. Info: ImprovTampa.com or 813-864-4000.

Dean Edwards at Tampa Improv. Edwards always has a pop culture reference handy, and isn't afraid to break out in a spot-on impression when the situation calls for it. You'll recognize a lot of the people he references, even when they're put in absurd scenarios. 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. $14-$18. 1600 E. Eighth Ave., Tampa. Info: ImprovTampa.com or 813-864-4000.

Davell Taylor at Tampa Improv. Taylor was a Tampa comedian until he moved out to Los Angeles in search of fame and fortune. Now he's back — on tour — with animated storytelling brought out by colorful characters and voices that amplify the realism (and the humor).  Showtime is Sunday at 9:30 p.m. $15. 1600 E. Eighth Ave., Tampa. Info: ImprovTampa.com or 813-864-4000.

John Valby at Side Splitters. "Dr. Dirty" is known for his sing-a-longs. And they're dirty, of course. They're also funny, creative and quick to turn a comedy club into a bizarre piano bar where all the choruses would make your grandmother blush. Showtime is Thursday at 8:30 p.m. $15-$20. 12938 N. Dale Mabry Highway, Tampa. Info: SideSplittersComedy.com or 813-960-1197.

Dan Soder at Side Splitters. Soder is a young guy with good observational skills. That's a good trait in a comedian, because it allows him to turn simple topics into funny stories with the use of his creative perspective. Showtimes are Friday at 8 p.m. and 10:15 p.m. and Saturday at 6 p.m., 8 p.m. and 10:15 p.m. $10-$16.50. 12938 N. Dale Mabry, Tampa. Info: SideSplittersComedy.com or 813-960-1197.

Comedy Competition at Side Splitters. Eight contestants remain in a competition that began with 64 hopefuls. The winner will receive two weeks of work at the club, an entry into the Laughing Skull Comedy Festival in Atlanta and $500 cash. On this night four comedians will battle for two spots, with the casual-but-clever Ricky Reyes closing the show.

Showtime is Sunday at 7 p.m. $10-$12. 12938 N. Dale Mabry Highway, Tampa. Info: SideSplittersComedy.com or 813-960-1197.

Dave Goldstein at Snappers Grill & Comedy Club. Goldstein is a comfortable story-teller. He doesn't have a flashy style on stage, but he has plenty of punchlines and can engage the audience at a moment's notice to make a good encounter even funnier. Showtimes are Friday and Saturday at 7 p.m. and 9:30 p.m. $10. 36657 U.S. Highway 19 N., Palm Harbor. Info: SnappersGrill.com or 727-938-2027.

Mike Rivera at Coconuts Comedy Club (at MJ's). Rivera is a local staple on the comedy circuit, with more than a quarter-century in the business and the title of "America's Most Hilarious Teacher," which he won on ABC's The View. His fast-paced set features adult-oriented topics woven into sharp-witted premises. Showtimes are Wednesday through Saturday at 9:30 p.m. $18-$20. 5501 Gulf Blvd., St. Pete Beach. Info: CoconutsComedyClubs.com or 727-360-5653.

Bull at 2 Palms Bar & Bistro. Bull looks kind of mean, but don't let the exterior fool you. He's a family man at heart. He's also a funny comedian, with a comfortable, self-deprecating style. Showtime is Saturday at 8:30 p.m. 2950 Gulf To Bay Blvd., Clearwater. $10. Info: TampaBayComedy.com or 727-741-8014.

One-nighters and Independent Shows

Tony Gaud at Niagara Tap (free show). Gaud is a mellow observer and a sarcastic orator. His jokes are sharp, sometimes self-deprecating and designed to make you think a little while you're laughing.

Showtime is Friday at 7 p.m. 11950 Seminole Blvd. in Largo. Info: TheNiagaraTap.com or 727-581-5331.

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