The Laugh Tract — Who's Bringing the Funny

  • All eyes (thousands of them, anyway) will be on Kevin Hart Friday night.

Last week there was Jerry Seinfeld, and everybody else.

This week it's Kevin Hart, and more Kevin Hart.

In his two shows on Friday, Hart will perform to more people than a comedy club will seat in a couple of months. His shows are events, like music concerts. So it's fitting he'll perform at the same place where The Who just played last month (and they only did one show).

There are other great acts performing this weekend, of course. Their shows cost less (a couple are free) and you'll actually get a good view of the comedian. So no matter your budget or preference, there's someone for you to laugh with this week.

Here's the lineup:

Theaters and Special Events

Kevin Hart at Amalie Arena. When a comedian gets really popular, they get to tour the best comedy clubs every weekend. But if they reach another level of success, they move up to theaters. And if they're really big, they perform multiple shows there, like Jerry Seinfeld and Dave Chappelle did recently. Then there's Kevin Hart. Hart's doing two shows on Friday night. That's not unusual in comedy, but the venue is: Amalie Arena, where the Tampa Bay Lightning play. Thousands will pack the arena to hear his energetic, story-driven "What Now?" tour in the style of his "Laugh at My Pain" and "Let Me Explain" performances. As a rule, comedians won't even try to do one show at a venue that size. Occasionally a tour with several performers will try to make one show viable. Hart's doing two on his name alone. And if you want to go, you pretty much have to choose the late show.  Of course, you can always catch one of his many movies, like "Ride Along" with Ice Cube (a sequel will be out next year) and "Get Hard" with Will Ferrell. But if you want to hear him tell jokes live, it's going to be in a concert-like atmosphere. Showtimes are Friday at 7 p.m. and 10:30 p.m. $56.25-$127.25. 401 Channelside Drive, Tampa. Info: 813-301-6500 or

Comedy Clubs

Married with Attitude (James Yon and Kevin White) at Tampa Improv. It's pretty clear what the main topic will be, but Yon and White have been doing comedy for quite a while. They also work together quite a bit, so there should be a variety of material on tap in Ybor City. Showtime is Wednesday at 8 p.m. $8. 1600 E. Eighth Ave., Tampa. Info: or 813-864-4000.

Poking the Bear at Tampa Improv (Myke Herlihy, Charlie Bowie, Ryan Holmes). This show features the hosts of the Central Florida podcast "Poking The Bear." In Tampa they'll show off their stand-up talents as well. Showtime is Thursday at 8 p.m. $11. 1600 E. Eighth Ave., Tampa. Info: or 813-864-4000.

Bobby Lee at Tampa Improv. Lee's one of the more popular "MADtv" alums, and his appeal hasn't waned with stand-up crowds over the years. His Korean background is am effective springboard for his energetic material. Showtimes are 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. $20. 1600 E. Eighth Ave., Tampa. Info: or 813-864-4000.

Jim Florentine at Side Splitters. You might know Florentine when you see him, but you'd probably recognize Special Ed in a second. The best-known puppet on "Crank Yankers" was voiced by Florentine. He's also known for his work on "That Metal Show." But let's not shortchange his stand-up. Opinionated and analytical, Florentine's able to dissect obnoxious everyday occurrences with the skill of a talented writer and deliver it with the stage presence of an experienced stand-up vet.  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-$18.50. 12938 N. Dale Mabry, Tampa. Info: or 813-960-1197.

Mike McCarthy at Snappers Grill & Comedy Club. McCarthy's known as The Comedy Barbarian, but he doesn't strong-arm audience members into laughing at his jokes. He doesn't have to. In reality, it's his high-energy approach to clever material that wins crowds over. Showtimes are Thursday at 7:30 p.m. and Friday and Saturday at 7 p.m. and 9:30 p.m. $12. 36657 U.S. 19 N., Palm Harbor. Info: or 727-938-2027.

Chris Jones at Joke Factory (at Dockside Sports). Jones is a comedy hypnotist, which means audience volunteers drive the show. The power of suggestion provides the punchlines, and the scenarios he puts them in entertains everyone else in the crowd. Showtime is Thursday at 7:30 p.m. $5-$7. 5015 US Highway 19, New Port Richey. Info: or 727-807-6974.

Mike McCarthy at Coconuts Comedy Club (at MJ's). McCarthy's everywhere this weekend! Not really, but he is at a couple of clubs, and he's bringing his energetic set to crowds at the beach on Wednesday night. Showtime is Wednesday at 9:30 p.m. 5501 Gulf Blvd., St. Pete Beach. Info: or 727-360-5653.

Dougie Almeida at Coconuts Comedy Club (at MJ's). Almeida's straight-forward style is a good vehicle for his direct comedy. It's honest without being too brash, and clever enough to keep audiences entertained.  Showtimes are Wednesday through Saturday at 9:30 p.m. 5501 Gulf Blvd., St. Pete Beach. Info: or 727-360-5653.

Mike Rivera at 2 Palms. Rivera, named America's Most Hilarious Teacher by ABC's "The View," puts the audeince through its paces in a high-energy set. Expect a little back-and-forth dialogue with his "class" and an adult lesson plan that wouldn't be approved by any school board.  Showtime is Saturday at 7 p.m. $10. 2950 Gulf to Bay Blvd., Clearwater. Info: or 727-741-8014.

Juanita Lolita at 2 Palms. Lolita's southern-tinged set is cleaner than most comedians you'll see this weekend. If you don't like your comedy off-color, she has you covered with a full set of non-offensive material. Showtime is Saturday at 9 p.m. 2950 Gulf To Bay Blvd., Clearwater. Info: or 727-741-8014.

One-nighters and Independent shows

Comedy Night on the Rooftop at Visconti Luxury Apartments (free show). Cigar City Comedy has already done a couple of these rooftop shows, which provides a unique backdrop for a stand-up showcase. For their third go-round, J.B. Ball, Chris Matson, Ragel Thys, Mona Chiarizio, David Weingarten and Law Smith provide the punchlines, while the audience brings folding chairs and and a desire to laugh. Showtime is Thursday at 8 p.m. Free. 2021 N. Lemans Blvd., Tampa. Info:

Carmen Ciricillo at Niagara Tap (free show). Ciricillo's comedy is relatable to anyone who's ever held a tough job or has a family. That's everyone, right? The local performer has decades of experience and a knack for finding the funny in situations where others find frustration. Showtime is Friday at 7 p.m. Free. 11950 Seminole Blvd. in Largo. Info: or 727-581-5331.

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."  Showtime is Saturday at 9:05 p.m. $20. 17093 Gulf Blvd., North Redington Beach. Info: 727-596-6725 or

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