The Laugh Tract — Who's Bringing the Funny

Where to go to make the laughter happen.

OK, so you didn't win a billion dollars. The winners probably won't even be happy. The money will ruin their lives.

It's a curse, really.

At least, that's what we'll keep telling ourselves while we tear up our tickets.

In any case, you don't need to be a billionaire to afford some good comedy this week. The shows are reasonably priced, and the shows are packed with strong talent. Whether you like dirty sing-alongs, improvisational audience interactions or just some good, old-fashioned stand-up, there are plenty of options on the schedule.

Here are your best bets:

Comedy Clubs

Down N' Dirty. This show appeals to anyone who likes their comedy rude, crude, inappropriate and filthy. Catherine Maloney and John Jacobs provide support for headliner Johnny B., who mans the mic at 102.5 FM "The Bone." On stage, he'll serve up dirty jokes that would get him kicked off the air if he tried them on the radio.
Tampa Improv (1600 E. Eighth Ave., Tampa) Wednesday at 8 p.m. 813-864-4000 or $5.

Mike McCarthy. McCarthy's energetic set has plenty of funny material whether he's wearing his kilt or not. But you want him to be wearing it, obviously. Either way, expect a fast-paced show from the "Comedy Barbarian."
Tampa Improv (1600 E. Eighth Ave., Tampa) Thursday at 8 p.m. 813-864-4000 or $10.

Carly Aqulino. The "Girl Code" celeb is on the cutting edge of pop culture with her conversational stand-up. Expect plenty of relationship advice and opinions with no television content limitations.
Note: The Saturday shows are special engagements, so no passes accepted.
Tampa Improv (1600 E. Eighth Ave., Tampa) 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 $20.

Poetry and Punchlines. Like the name implies, this show is a mix of spoken-word poetry and stand-up comedy. Atlanta-based Mario Tory anchors the funny side of the evening, which offers a little balance between social commentary and comedic opinions.
Tampa Improv (1600 E. Eighth Ave., Tampa) Sunday at 9:30 p.m. 813-864-4000 or $15.

John Valby. You might know Valby as "Dr. Dirty." And if you do, you also know that you're in a for a full evening of raunchy sing-alongs, straight from his twisted, comedic mind. His fans — both new and old — wouldn't have it any other way.
Side Splitters (12938 N. Dale Mabry Highway, Tampa) Thursday at 8:30 p.m. 813-960-1197 or $18-$20.

Dom Irrera. Irrera has more than a quarter-century of stage experience, but his jokes, stories and observations still come straight from his Italian-American background. The accomplished comedian throws out casual barbs and funny stories with the ease of a veteran who always knows how to keep audiences entertained.
Side Splitters (12938 N. Dale Mabry Highway, Tampa) Friday at 8 p.m. and 10:15 p.m.; Saturday at 8 p.m. and 10:15 p.m. 813-960-1197 or $18-$20.

Crumpled Napkin. Technically, it's a competition to see which comedian comes up with the most creative, off-the-cuff material. But really, it's just an excuse for them to crack each other up, entertain the audience and try something a little more interactive than traditional stand-up comedy. Using the crowd's suggestions, each comedian riffs on random topics, with the best going head-to-head at the end of the night.
Side Splitters (12938 N. Dale Mabry Highway, Tampa) Saturday at 6 p.m. 813-960-1197 or $10.

Steve Miller. Miller's a master of witty self-deprecation. But it's really a ploy to get you to laugh along with the local comedian's cynical perspectives. The punchlines are clever and the comedian himself is a likable guy, even when he's saying something extremely inappropriate.
Side Splitters (12938 N. Dale Mabry Highway, Tampa) Sunday at 7 p.m. 813-960-1197 or $10-$12.

Mike Marino. Marino is known as “New Jersey’s Bad Boy,” and once he opens his mouth, there’s no question where he calls home. But Marino’s a witty guy, not a wise guy. Expect plenty of unfiltered, unapologetic premises designed with laughter in mind.
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 $15.

Quevaughn Bryant. Bryant's funny observations are amplified by his good stage energy and animated personality. His show is full of lively, no-nonsense material.
Coconuts (5501 Gulf Blvd., St. Pete Beach) Wednesday – Saturday at 9:30 p.m. 727-360-5653 or $18-25.

Aniria/Susan Saiger at 2 Palms. Aniria is a local performer who headlines across the state. Her buddy Saiger keeps crowds laughing in her native Los Angeles. Together they offer an adult-oriented show that uses comedy to cover taboo subjects.
2 Palms (2950 Gulf to Bay Blvd., Clearwater) Saturday at 8:30 p.m. 727-400-6920 or $10.

One-nighters and Independent Shows

Helen Keaney. Keaney's a regular on HSN, but it's her stand up that keeps crowds entertained when she's not on television. With decades of experience, she's as comfortable in front of the mic as she is a camera, sharing her life stories and observations with a comfortable stage presence, sharp wit and strong comic timing.
Firehouse Cultural Center (101 1st Ave. NE, Ruskin) Friday at 7:30 p.m. 813-645-7651 or $15-$25.

Rahn Hortman. Local talent Hortman, who performs across the country, headlines this family-friendly show with his family stories and clever comedy. Local comedian and author Robin Savage provides support. A pre-show wine mix and mingle begins at 7:30.
Octagon Arts Center (2470 nursery road, Clearwater) Saturday at 8 p.m. 727-531-7704. $15 adults/$7.50 children.

Synth. We assume it's called Synth because of the synthesis of many artistic expressions happening in one evening. The audience will experience poetry, vocals, live art creation and (of course) comedy. Comedian/emcee Natasha Samreny will kick things off, with additional stand-up from Florida-base Max Mosquito and Chicago comedian Adam Burke.
Kymatic Studios (2436 Emerson Ave. S., St. Petersburg) Friday at 8 p.m. 727-519-8981. $7 or two for $10 (cash only).

Gutterballs Comedy Cabaret. This regular show features a showcase of up-and-comers with a professional performing in the middle and another to close out the show. Stage veterans Ken Fowler and Marcus Crespo provide the experienced material on Friday night.
The Alley at Southshore (10221 Big Bend Road, Riverview) Friday at 8 p.m. 813-672-8353 or $6.27. 

G. David Howard. 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.
Sporty's On The Beach (17093 Gulf Blvd., North Redington Beach) Saturday at 9:35 p.m. 727-596-6725 or $20. (Look for a $5 coupon under "Special Offers." )

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