The Laugh Tract — Who's Bringing the Funny

Is your mind on something other than comedy this week?

Maybe you have dreams of being a billionaire, so you're going all in on Powerball. Or maybe you're a football fan enjoying the slow run to the Super Bowl. Perhaps you're trying desperately to avoid the trickle of political advertising that will soon flood our swing state's airwaves.

Well, forget all that. You need to find some stand-up.

You're not going to win the lottery, there's still plenty of football to see and there isn't a thing you can do to prevent every other campaign commercial coming this summer.

There is, however a lot of stand-up comedy on tap this week. Famous performers, funny locals and a few puppets are part of the lineup. So find your favorite style and support a local venue.

We found your best bets:

Theaters and Special Events

Jane Lynch. The former Glee star is obviously no stranger to comedy or music, and she puts both elements to good use in her stage show. There are funny musicians, and there are comedic actors with some musical abilities. There are few as talented as Lynch in both disciplines, so it's sure to be a genuinely-entertaining (and funny) evening.
The Capitol Theatre (405 Cleveland St., Clearwater) Saturday at 8 p.m. 727-791-7400 or $45-$85. Read our interview with Jane Lynch.

Joe Rogan. Rogan's way more than a commentator for Ultimate Fighting Championship or the guy who hosted "Fear Factor." Those are side projects, really. He's a talented stand-up comedian, with biting social commentary and fast-paced wit. And when he gets challenged by an unfortunate audience member, the takedown is as brutal as anything you'll see in the octagon. That being said, hope you got your tickets already. This one is sold out.
Tampa Theatre (711 N. Franklin St., Tampa) Saturday at 8 p.m. 813-274-8286 or

Comedy Clubs

Ugly Sweater Show. Murv Seymour (a former news reporter) combines a strong stage presence and calm demeanor with clever material. Also performing is Nick Cantone, whose self-deprecating set is both disarming and exceptionally witty.
Note: Wear an ugly sweater or tie to the show and get in free.
Tampa Improv (1600 E. Eighth Ave., Tampa) Wednesday at 8 p.m. 813-864-4000 or $5.

Guy Torry. Torry's delivery is fast but casual, and confident but thoughtful. The well-known actor/comedian's animated set touches on race and other topics, punctuated with the emphatic tones and sharp timing of an experienced stage performer.
Tampa Improv (1600 E. Eighth Ave., Tampa) 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. 813-864-4000 or $15-$17.

You Off Work Tomorrow? It's called that because the next day is MLK Day, so you are off work if you're a federal employee. Goldiee and Sloan, both headliners in their own right, combine for a full evening of adult comedy.
Tampa Improv (1600 E. Eighth Ave., Tampa) Sunday at 9:30 p.m. 813-864-4000 or $7.

Jim Norton. Norton's built a second career for himself over the years in the co-host chair on Sirius XM Radio, taking on a more prominent role when Anthony Cumia was let go from the Opie & Anthony show. You probably know him for his acidic stand up and biting roast appearances as well. Whatever the format, Norton doesn't back down and is never lacking in thoughtful, funny material.
Side Splitters (12938 N. Dale Mabry Highway, Tampa) 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. 813-960-1197 or $35.

Sweet 16 Comedy Tournament. Side Splitters began their comedy tournament with 64 contestants and they've whittled them down to 16. There will only be eight left after this show, which has pairs of comedians facing off for the audience approval needed to advance.
Side Splitters (12938 N. Dale Mabry Highway, Tampa) Sunday at 7 p.m. 813-960-1197 or $10-$12.

Pete Michaels. Comedy ventriloquism is a different kind of show than traditional stand-up. With colorful characters and on-stage banter, Michaels' expressive comedy is delivered with variety and a sense of showmanship.
Snappers Grill & Comedy Club (36657 U.S. Highway 19 N., Palm Harbor) Thursday at 7:30 p.m.; Friday and Saturday at 7 p.m. and 9:30 p.m. 727-938-2027 or $12.

Mike McCarthy. The "Comedy Barbarian" comes to St. Pete Beach for one night. His high-energy show includes plenty of punchlines and the confident stage presence of a seasoned comedy vet.
Coconuts (5501 Gulf Blvd., St. Pete Beach) Wednesday at 9:30 p.m. 727-360-5653 or Call for ticket prices.

Terry Gillespie. Known as "Mr. Rubberface," Gillespie contorts his face into impressions, characters and caricatures to strong comedic effect. With decades of stand-up experience under his belt, he delivers a variety of material, with his malleable mug usually hogging the spotlight.
Coconuts (5501 Gulf Blvd., St. Pete Beach) Thursday – Saturday at 9:30 p.m. 727-360-5653 or $18-25.

John McClellan. McClellan's got a New York state of mind. That means plenty of attitude, no-nonsense comedy and a generous helping of comedic rants. Not for thin-skinned or easily-offended people.
2 Palms (2950 Gulf to Bay Blvd., Clearwater) Saturday at 8:30 p.m. 727-400-6920 or $10.

One-nighters and Special Events

Kava Komedy. 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 two experienced comedians, Carmen Vallone and Rio Paris.
Red Tiki (7361 46th Ave. N., St. Petersburg) Saturday at 8 p.m. 727-914-8928. Free.

Johnny B. A regular voice on 102.5 FM "The Bone," Johnny B. has been a stand-up comedian for more than a decade. His adult-oriented material made up of clever content that he could never, ever say on the radio.
Aviators Sports Pub (3535 Ulmerton Road, Clearwater) Friday at 8 p.m. 727-577-9100 or Call for ticket prices.

Shit Sandwich Comedy Showcase. Okay, the name makes you think this might not be a great show. But actually, it's a popular series in Orlando, and there's a lot of talent on tap at this new bi-weekly event in Brandon. This time out, a number of smaller sets will be followed by closer Nick Cantone, who's at the Tampa Improv the night before. So don't let the name fool you.
Fox and Hounds (229 E. Brandon Blvd., Brandon) Thursday at 9 p.m. 813-438-8913 or Free.

Comedy Night at the Elks. Rahn Hortman and his edgy, yet family-oriented comedy will anchor this show, which also features naughty material from Aniria and the smoke-filled wit of Johnny Oz. All three are accomplished locals will combine for an entertaining, diverse evening. And it's open to the public, too.
Tarpon Springs Elks Lodge (237 S. Pinellas Ave., Tarpon Springs) Sicaturday at 8 p.m. 727-934-7514. $10.


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