Traditional stand-up, puppets, music, even a podcast — however you like your comedy, there's probably a show that includes it this weekend. You could spend $70 or you could spend $5. It's up to you and who you want to see. Just make sure you get the in-demand tickets in advance, or you'll be inside with a nosebleed or stuck outside altogether.
Here's the rundown for this week:
Theaters and special events
Mike Birbiglia at The Mahaffey Theater. Birbiglia is an author, an actor and a one-man show in off-Broadway productions. But he's also a stand-up comedian, with an unassuming stage presence but a biting wit and likeable delivery. Showtime is Friday at 8 p.m. $37.50-$57.50. 400 1st St. S., St. Petersburg. Info: themahaffey.com or 727-893-7832.
Terry Fator at The Mahaffey Theater. Fator won "America's Got Talent" a few years ago, and the musician/ventriloquist has been busy ever since, traveling with his cast of characters and their offbeat personalities. If you like comedy ventriloquism, Fator is one of the best-known at the craft. Showtime is Sunday at 7 p.m. $49.50-$69.50. 400 1st St. S., St. Petersburg. Info: themahaffey.com or 727-893-7832.
Garfunkel and Oates at Straz Center (Ferguson Hall). Garfunkel and Oates aren't really the less-famous halves of popular musical duos. They're Riki Lindhome and Kate Micucci, comedians with real songwriting chops and stars of their own IFC series. Put those talents together and you have an entertaining evening of clever originals. Showtime is Friday at 8 p.m. $29.50. 1010 N. MacInnes Place in Tampa. Info: strazcenter.org or 813-229-7827.
Owen Benjamin at Tampa Improv. Benjamin has a way of boiling relationships down to the funniest common denominator. You'll recognize the premises (maybe you've lived some of them) and appreciate the way he finds something smart to say about the silliest interactions. Showtimes are Thursday at 7:30 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. $15-$17. 1600 E. Eighth Ave., Tampa. Info: improvtampa.com or 813-864-4000.
Doug Benson at Tampa Improv. Benson's clever style has earned him respect from both his fellow comedians and audiences around the country. Though he comes across as an out-of-it stoner, Benson is a prolific writer who will likely have new material for you no matter how many times you've seen him recently. Showtime is Thursday at 10 p.m. $18. 1600 E. Eighth Ave., Tampa. Info: improvtampa.com or 813-864-4000.
Doug Loves Movies at Tampa Improv. Benson's popular movie-themed podcast gets a live audience at Tampa Improv at 4:20 p.m. (get it?). Fans can catch the comedian and a guest do his show, and maybe win some prizes if they wear a movie-themed name tag. Showtime is Saturday at 4:20 p.m. $18. 1600 E. Eighth Ave., Tampa. Info: improvtampa.com or 813-864-4000.
David Nickerson at Tampa Improv. Nickerson usually looks like he's just on the edge of a rant. But he usually pulls himself back with a sharp punchline and another direction for his well-developed opinions. Showtime is Wednesday at 8 p.m. $7. 1600 E. Eighth Ave., Tampa. Info: improvtampa.com or 813-864-4000.
Sebastian Maniscalco at Side Splitters. Maniscalco's energetic, deliberate style has made him a favorite of comedy audiences. Whether he's talking about his heritage or sharing a slice-of-life story, his confident spin on the material makes it easy for audiences to identify with it. These are special engagement shows. Showtimes are Thursday at 8:30 p.m., Friday at 8 p.m. and 10:30 p.m. and Saturday at 6 p.m., 8 p.m. and 10:30 p.m. $20-$25. 12938 N. Dale Mabry, Tampa. Info: sidesplitterscomedy.com or 813-960-1197.
Comedy Competition at Side Splitters. The club's lengthy comedy competition continues, whittling down 64 competitors down to one winner at the end. At this event, eight comedians will battle it out, with half moving on and half going home. Showtime is Sunday at 7 p.m. $12-$14. 12938 N. Dale Mabry Highway, Tampa. Info: sidesplitterscomedy.com or 813-960-1197.
Pete Michaels at Snappers Grill & Comedy Club. Terry Fator isn't the only ventriloquist in town this week. Michaels brings his own unique characters and voices, providing an affordable option for those who enjoy puppets with their punchlines. Showtimes are Friday and Saturday at 7 p.m. and 9:30 p.m. $10. 36657 U.S. 19 N., Palm Harbor. Info: snappersgrill.com or 727-938-2027.
Carl Faulkenberry at Coconuts Comedy Club (at MJ's). At first glance, Faulkenberry looks kind of like an accountant or a policy analyst (whatever that is). But when he starts telling stories peppered with crazy premises and creative punchlines, you know he's in the right place. 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.
Ted Holum at 2 Palms. Holum has a self-deprecating style and a knack for acting out his punchlines. His casual style lets you know you're seeing a show featuring an experienced performer. Showtime is Saturday at 8:30 p.m. $10. 2950 Gulf To Bay Blvd., Clearwater. Info: tampabaycomedy.com or 727-741-8014.
Six Pack of Laughter at Antics Comedy (at the Holiday Inn). The area's newest comedy club is taking things slow, with one show on the schedule and future ones TBA. But the first lineup is a good one, with a number of local headliners taking the new stage on the same night. You might see Mike Rivera, Steve Arik, Catherine Maloney, Sloan, Chris Gorges or Murv Seymour close a show on their own. But you can see all of them on Saturday night.
Showtime is Saturday at 8:30 p.m. $10-$12. 3535 Ulmerton Road, Clearwater. Info: AntComedy.com or 727-278-5697.
One-nighters and independent shows
Mike Rivera at Beef O' Brady's (Lake Wilderness). ABC's "The View" named him America's Most Hilarious Teacher, and class will be in session for an adult course in clever punchlines and sharp comic timing. Showtime is Friday at 9 p.m. $10. 7040 Land O' Lakes Blvd. Info: 813-388-6893.
Comedy in a Comic Book Store at Anthem Games. This show has comics (the ones telling jokes) where they normally have comics (the books). Expect a bit of nerd-ish material (and some adult stuff) from local comedians Kyle Ruse, Chris Matson, Jonas Presendieu, Jake Barsness and Bob Bazer. Showtime is Saturday at 9 p.m. $5. 5380 W. Village Drive, Tampa. Info: Anthem-Games.com or 813-968-5380.