The Laugh Tract — Who's Bringing the Funny

Ranter-in-Chief Lewis Black heads the pack of comedians gracing stages this week.

  • Catch Lewis Black at The Straz Saturday night.

How do you like your comedy? Angry rants? Racial talk? Observational premises? A bit of magic? Whatever you enjoy, there's probably a version of it on stage this week. From famous names to local talent, from not-very-cheap tickets to absolutely free admission and from comedy clubs to bars, there's a lot of variety on tap.
Check out this lineup and catch a show:

Theaters and Special Events

CL Pick: Lewis Black at the Straz Center (Carol Morsani Hall). Black's angry rants have been seen on "The Daily Show" and his own Comedy Central television program, "Lewis Black's Root of All Evil," as well as several stand-up specials. Plus there are the books, CDs and DVDs. Through the different media he's a sarcastic crusader, with fingers to point and points to make. When fans aren't laughing, they're shaking their heads in agreement. His frustrations are theirs, even if he presents them in a funny way.
Showtime is Saturday at 8 p.m. $39.50-$65. 1010 N. MacInnes Place, Tampa. Info: StrazCenter.org or 813-229-7827.

Christine O' Leary at the Metro Wellness & Community Center. O' Leary's stand-up is kind of like a one-woman show. Instead of just using her persona to push jokes, she uses humor to make her points. gay issues and sexuality are definitely on the table, as well as other observations presented by a skilled (and funny) public speaker.
Showtime is Friday at 7:30 p.m. $15-$25. 3251 3rd Ave. N., St. Petersburg. Info: MetroTampaBay.org or 727-321-3854.

Jimmie Walker at The Club at Treasure Island. In the 1970s, Walker was the hot young comedian on television. "Good Times" was his calling card, as his character, "J.J.", became a focal point of the show, providing comic relief with his catchphrase "Dyn-O-Mite!" and insults toward his television sister.
Decades later, Walker is still known for that character, and it allows him to perform stand-up all over the country. He's in town for one show this Friday night.
Showtime is Friday at 9 p.m. $35. 400 Treasure Island Causeway, Treasure Island. Info: TheClubTI.com.

Comedy Clubs

  • Carlos Mencia is at The Improv on Wednesday night.

CL Pick: Carlos Mencia at Tampa Improv. Mencia's best known, of course, for his "Mind of Mencia" show on Comedy Central a few years back. It was a big hit for four seasons and gave him a calling card for the rest of his comedy career. That show also gives you an idea of what to expect on stage. He doesn't shy away from discussing race, politics and other controversial topics in a frank, observational way. One night only.
Showtime is Wednesday at 8 p.m. $25. 1600 E. Eighth Ave., Tampa. Info: ImprovTampa.com or 813-864-4000.

Faizon Love at Tampa Improv. Love covers topics you might have heard on stand-up stages — race, losing weight, and other everyday life situations. But it's his personality that really delivers, with a likable, straight-talk persona and an animated style that brings his funny stories to life.
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. $20. 1600 E. Eighth Ave., Tampa. Info: ImprovTampa.com or 813-864-4000.

Jon Reep at Side Splitters. Reep might be known to many people as the guy in the Dodge "Hemi" commercials. But he's also a "Last Comic Standing" winner, and he uses his down-home delivery to point out absurdities in an animated way.
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. $16-$18. 12938 N. Dale Mabry Highway, Tampa. Info: SideSplittersComedy.com or 813-960-1197.

Maurice Jovan at Side Splitters. Better known as "A Cat Named Mo" on The Bone, 102.5 FM, Jovan steps in front of a different kind of mic Saturday night. The same casual-but-clever demeanor that resonates with listeners is used to deliver punchlines in a live audience setting.
Showtime is Saturday at 6 p.m. $10. 12938 N. Dale Mabry Highway, Tampa. Info: SideSplittersComedy.com or 813-960-1197.

Angel Salazar at Snappers Grill & Comedy Club. How many comedians have been in "Scarface" and "Carlito's Way?" Here's your chance to see one in this run of special engagement shows. Salazar's also been doing stand-up for decades, and he'll bring his energetic set and catchphrases to Snappers this weekend, plus a special Thursday night performance.
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. Highway 19 N., Palm Harbor. Info: SnappersGrill.com or 727-938-2027.

Kortney Shane Williams at Coconuts Comedy Club (at MJ's). Williams delivers observational comedy with sharp timing and clever delivery. He looks comfortable on stage sharing his experiences in a relatable way.
Showtimes are Wednesday through Saturday at 9:30 p.m. $18-$22. 5501 Gulf Blvd., St. Pete Beach. Info: CoconutsComedyClubs.com or 727-360-5653.

Elliot Smith at 2 Palms Bar & Bistro. Smith is a comedy magician, so there are tricks, jokes, humor and illusion in his set. It's something different from the traditional setup-punchline format, so if you want some variety this could be a good option.
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

  • Local talent J.B. Ball is at New World Brewery for a free show Wednesday night.

CL Pick: Beer Soaked Comedy Show at New World Brewery (free show). This comedy show, hosted by popular local Steve Miller, features a variety of bay area talent. Headlining is J. B. Ball, who wins pretty much every comedy competition he enters with a likable stage presence and a critical eye for what's funny in everyday life. Law Smith and Kyle Ruse provide support at this free event.
Showtime is Wednesday at 7 p.m. Free. 1313 E. Eighth Ave., Tampa. Info: NewWorldBrewery.net or 813-248-4969.

Lou Angelwolf at Niagara Tap (free show). Angelwolf has seen just about everything in his decades of stand-up. But he still preaches a positive attitude with thoughtful material and a casual, confident delivery.
Showtime is Friday at 7 p.m. Free. 11950 Seminole Blvd. in Largo. Info: TheNiagaraTap.com 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 Friday and Saturday at 8:30 p.m. $20. 17093 Gulf Blvd., North Redington Beach. Info: 727-596-6725 or GDavidHoward.com.

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