Remember when HBO had the inside track on comedy specials? They had them all the time, and in the beginning they all seemed to feature Gallagher.
Yes, Gallagher, the watermelon-smashing phenomenon, was a regular comedic staple in cable households. And he's in town this weekend. There are also Last Comic Standing winners, musical comedians, church-appropriate stand-up, hypnotists and an Amish character to be found. There are plenty of talented locals as well. There's plenty of ways to laugh this week, so pick your favorite genre and enjoy.
Theaters and Special Events
Gallagher at the Pinellas Park Performing Arts Center. Gallagher, the godfather of the cable comedy special, brings his stand-up and sledgehammer to Pinellas County on Friday night. Longtime comedy vets Bob Nelson and Artie Fletcher provide support for the comedy legend, who is known for smashing things to casual fans — and biting social commentary with clever observations to more dedicated followers. Expect plenty of both at this show. Showtime is Friday at 8 p.m. $40. 4981 78th Ave. N., Pinellas Park. Info: 727-369-5746 or pinellas-park.com.
David Mann at Tampa Theatre. Mann's well known to Tyler Perry fans for his role in "Meet The Browns," but the comedian is also a popular draw on the stand-up circuit. That includes churches, where he pulls off the kind of humorous observations, pop culture references and even some crowd interaction that you might see at a comedy club. Without the adult material, of course. Showtime is Friday at 8 p.m. $28.50-$48.50. 711 N. Franklin St., Tampa. Info: 813-274-8286 or tampatheatre.org.
Michael C. Anthony at Tampa Improv. Comedy hypnotism relies on two elements: Willing volunteers, and a skilled hypnotist to entertain everyone else. You can have fun on stage bending to outside suggestions, or you can sit back and watch a group of others do it. Either way, it's a break from the traditional stand-up set. Showtimes are Thursday at 8 p.m. and Saturday at 10:30 p.m. $10. 1600 E. Eighth Ave., Tampa. Info: improvtampa.com or 813-864-4000.
J Chris Newburg at Tampa Improv. Newburg comes to the stage armed with a guitar and a creative mind. Together they provide musically-charged laughter with clever material and songs on the fly. Showtimes are Friday at 8 p.m., Saturday at 7:30 p.m. and 10 p.m. and Sunday at 7 p.m. $18. 1600 E. Eighth Ave., Tampa. Info: improvtampa.com or 813-864-4000.
Alonzo Bodden at Side Splitters. Bodden has been both a winner and judge on Last Comic Standing. Needless to say, he knows funny. His sharp observations and confident stage persona will show audiences why he's had so much success behind the mic. Showtimes are Thursday at 8:30 p.m., Friday at 8 p.m. and 10:15 p.m., Saturday at 8 p.m. and 10:15 p.m. and Sunday at 7 p.m. $10-$16.50. 12938 N. Dale Mabry Highway, Tampa. Info: sidesplitterscomedy.com or 813-960-1197.
Steve Miller at Side Splitters. Local funnyman Miller's set is a torrent of rants and self-deprecating humor. The punchlines are clever and the comedian himself is a likable guy, even when he's saying something extremely inappropriate. Showtime is Saturday at 6 p.m. $10. 12938 N. Dale Mabry, Tampa. Info: sidesplitterscomedy.com or 813-960-1197.
One Mic Stand at Side Splitters. Produced by J. B. Ball, the most recent winner of the Florida's Funniest Comedian contest, this showcase features a number of talented locals and out-of-towners on the Side Splitters main stage. In addition to Ball, this edition includes Mitch Burrow, Chris Matson and Nick Pupo. The admission price includes a drink, too. Showtime is Wednesday, June 24 at 8:30 p.m. $15. 12938 N. Dale Mabry, Tampa. Info: sidesplitterscomedy.com or 813-960-1197.
Martin Montana at Coconuts. Montana likes to share family tales, punching them up with animated storytelling and the critical eye of a stage vet. You might recognize some of these folks in your own circle, which only makes his relatable humor stronger. Showtimes are Wednesday through Saturday at 9:30 p.m. 5501 Gulf Blvd., St. Pete Beach. Info: coconutscomedyclubs.com or 727-360-5653.
Philly Plowden at Snappers. Plowden has good energy on stage, using voices and exaggerated mannerisms to bring his stories to life, keeping audiences engaged with over-the-top observations. 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: snappersgrill.com or 727-938-2027.
Eric Dasilva at 2 Palms Bar & Bistro. Dasilva's comedy often revolves around misdirection, taking inappropriate (but funny) detours on the way to the punchline. Even when he says mean things, he says them in a likable way. Showtime is Saturday at 8:30 p.m. $10. 2950 Gulf To Bay Blvd., Clearwater. Info: tampabaycomedy.com or 727-741-8014.
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." Showtime is Friday and Saturday at 9:05 p.m. $20. 17093 Gulf Blvd., North Redington Beach. Info: 727-596-6725 or gdavidhoward.com.
Cigar City Comedy at Wicked 'Wiches (free show). This weekly free show highlights local talent and includes a few shorter sets followed by a featured closer, usually delivering adult material. This week's closer is Ragel Thys.
Showtime is Thursday at 8:30 p.m. Free. 223 S. Howard Ave., Tampa. Info: cigarcitycomedy.com.