The Laugh Tract — Who's Bringing the Funny

Jay Leno and John Witherspoon of Friday fame head the list of headliners on stage this weekend.

Comedy clubs are in full swing this week with a mix of local talent and nationally-touring headliners. But for those of you looking for an even bigger name, Sunday night will be your night to laugh. Jay Leno is in town for one show.
But there are plenty of other acts performing on both sides of the bay. Here's the lineup for this week:

Theaters and Special Events

Note: Jane Lynch's show at the Capitol Theatre this weekend has been rescheduled for January of next year.

CL Pick: Jay Leno at the Straz Center (Carol Morsani Hall). If you say you don't know who Jay Leno is, we don't believe you. The long-time host of "The Tonight Show" got his start in comedy, and he never really stopped. He would regularly head out for weekend shows after completing his host duties. Now that he's retired from that gig, he has more time to tour, and that includes a stop in Tampa on Sunday night. Showtime is Sunday at 7:30 p.m. $49-$125. 1010 N. MacInnes Place in Tampa. Info: StrazCenter.org or 813-229-7827.

Comedy Clubs

Tony Gaud at Tampa Improv. Gaud's cynical view of life is peppered with witty observations and a dash of self-deprecation. But it's his calm demeanor that provides the backdrop for his relatable premises.
Showtime is Wednesday at 8 p.m. $7. 1600 E. Eighth Ave., Tampa. Info: ImprovTampa.com or 813-864-4000.

CL Pick: John Witherspoon at Tampa Improv. Witherspoon might be best known for his roles in the "Friday" series, but the career actor has been a regular on comedy club stages for longer than many of his fans have been alive. He brings the same no-nonsense, adult content that you've seen in his characters to the stage, which means plenty of satisfied fans at these special engagement shows. 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. $22-$25. 1600 E. Eighth Ave., Tampa. Info: ImprovTampa.com or 813-864-4000.

Pedro Lima at Side Splitters. The "Rican Gorilla" is based out of Orlando, but Side Splitters is his home club here in Tampa. Here he headlines the weekend, offering his unique (and often adult) perspectives on family life and other observations. The Saturday early show is a fundraiser for Wiregrass Ranch High School baseball. Sunday's headliner is Renard Hirsch. 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 10:15 p.m. and Sunday at 7 p.m. $10-$16.50. 12938 N. Dale Mabry, Tampa. Info: SideSplittersComedy.com or 813-960-1197.

CL Pick: Keith Barany at Snappers Grill & Comedy Club. Barany is fast on his feet, pivoting effortlessly to different topics in his substantial collection of material. He also has good timing, a likable stage presence and a smart sense of humor working for him as well. Showtimes are Thursday at 7:30 p.m. and Friday and Saturday at 7 p.m. and 9:30 p.m. $15-$18. 36657 U.S. 19 N., Palm Harbor. Info: SnappersGrill.com or 727-938-2027.

Chris Gorges at Coconuts Comedy Club (at MJ's).
Gorges works a fast-paced set, with constant motion and a stream-of-consciousness delivery. His improvisational talents are on display when he performs a stand-up setShowtimes are Wednesday and Saturday at 9:30 p.m. $18-$20. 5501 Gulf Blvd., St. Pete Beach. Info: CoconutsComedyClubs.com or 727-360-5653.

Chris Barnes at Coconuts Comedy Club (at MJ's). Barnes has a likable stage presence and a casual delivery for his jokes. It's clear he knows what he's doing and can corral a crowd to his side with ease.
Showtimes are Thursday and Friday at 9:30 p.m. $20-$22. 5501 Gulf Blvd., St. Pete Beach. Info: CoconutsComedyClubs.com or 727-360-5653.

Traci Kanaan at 2 Palms Bar & Bistro. The Princess of Parodies brings along her trusty keyboard and a dirty mind, which she uses to warp your favorite songs into naughty — and funny— tunes. She does stand-up, too, but you'll find yourself singing along (and laughing) most of the evening.
sat 830 Showtime is Saturday at 8:30 p.m. $10. 2950 Gulf To Bay Blvd., Clearwater. Info: TampaBayComedy.com or 727-741-8014.

Steve Lazlow at The Joke Factory (at Dockside Sports). Lazlow and his sarcastic outlook takes the stage at the area's newest comedy club. From his observations of Pasco County to an uncomfortable encounter with his cat, his comedy might shock a little, but will keep you laughing. Showtime is Thursday at 7:30 p.m. $5-$7. 5015 US Highway 19, New Port Richey. Info: NPRJokeFactory.com or 727-807-6974.


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. By the way, there's a $5 coupon for this show on Howard's website under "special offers."  Note: This week's shows are on Wednesday and Thursday instead of the weekend.
Showtime is Wednesday and Thursday at 8:30 p.m. $20. 17093 Gulf Blvd., North Redington Beach. Info: 727-596-6725 or GDavidHoward.com.

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