Venues are making it easy to see comedy this week. No matter how broke you might be, there's a show you can afford. Quite a few are free. A few others are less than ten bucks. There are regularly-priced shows with some great talent, too. But if you're saying you're too poor to laugh, you're not trying hard enough. About the laughing part, we mean. We know you're trying your best to get your act together. We believe in you!
Anyway, here's the upcoming comedy roster:
Theaters and special events
One Man Breaking Bad at The Straz Center (Jaeb Theater). It's just what you think it would be. Like the One Man Star Wars Trilogy show that played here earlier, it's one guy taking on all the roles and fusing it into one performance. Okay, it's not technically stand-up comedy. But it has the potential to be pretty funny so we had to mention it. Showtime is Thursday, Friday and Saturday at 7:30 p.m. $39. 1010 N. MacInnes Place, Tampa. Info: strazcenter.org or 813-229-7827.
Girls Night Out at Firehouse Cultural Center. This regular show at the center (named Firehouse because it's a converted fire station) features a round-up of funny ladies sharing thoughtful observations and a few dirty jokes. This time around Robin Savage, Catherine Maloney and Trish Keating share the bill, but you can't see it unless you already have a ticket: It's been sold out for a while now. Showtime is Friday at 7:30 p.m. 101 1st Ave. N.E., Ruskin. Info: firehouseculturalcenter.org or 813-645-7651.
Steven Lolli at Carrollwood Cultural Center. Lolli, a Gaither High School graduate who moved to Los Angeles to find comedic fortune, was dubbed the "Urban Jew" by his mentor, Katt Williams. The same biting wit and sharp stage presence that entertains crowds of all races in L.A. will be on display in Carrollwood.
Showtime is Friday at 8 p.m. $17-$23. 4537 Lowell Road, Tampa. Info: carrollwoodcenter.org or 813-269-1310.
Bill Blank and friends at Tampa Improv. Blank has a casual comedic approach, but a wit that shines in his punchlines. With a no-nonsense delivery, he'll provide thoughtful, unapologetic material at this Thursday night show. Showtime is Thursday at 8 p.m. $7. 1600 E. Eighth Ave., Tampa (Ybor City). Info: improvtampa.com or 813-864-4000.
Brad Williams at Tampa Improv. Williams is small in stature, but big on laughs. His adult-oriented punchlines hold nothing back when he's making fun of something or someone, including himself. 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 (Ybor City). Info: improvtampa.com or 813-864-4000.
A Joke Off at Tampa Improv. This free-wheeling competition pits comedians against each other with off-the-cuff material based on topics chosen by the audience. By the end of the night, only one will be left standing but a lot of improvisational laughs will be had. Showtime is Wednesday, Sept. 23 at 8 p.m. $5. 1600 E. Eighth Ave., Tampa (Ybor City). Info: improvtampa.com or 813-864-4000.
Frankie Paul at Side Splitters. Paul's animated personality is the engine he uses to deliver his premises and punchlines. The longtime performer has good command of the stage and the comic timing you'd expect from 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-$16.50. 12938 N. Dale Mabry, Tampa. Info: sidesplitterscomedy.com or 813-960-1197.
Earl David Reed at Snappers Grill & Comedy Club. Reed's an accomplished radio personality, and it comes out in his set. He has an authoritative voice that keep audiences listening, but it's his wit, improvisational observations and established material that keeps them laughing.
Showtimes are Thursday at 7:30 p.m. and Friday and Saturday at 7 p.m. and 9:30 p.m. $15. 36657 U.S. 19 N., Palm Harbor. Info: snappersgrill.com or 727-938-2027.
Tony Gaud at 2 Palms. Local comedian Gaud's laid-back presence is a perfect launching pad for witty observations, honest introspection and more than a little sarcasm. It's all peppered with a dash of self-deprecation and plenty of punchlines. Showtime is Saturday at 8:30 p.m. $10. 2950 Gulf To Bay Blvd., Clearwater. Info: 2palmstampabay.com or 727-400-6920.
Steve Lazlow at The Joke Factory (at Dockside Sports). Lazlow has plenty of clever adult material. But sometimes the best parts of the show are when something catches his eye and he goes off on a tangent, riffing with the audience and mining the comedy out of an impromptu interaction. Showtime is Thursday at 7:30 p.m. $5-$7. 5015 US Highway 19, New Port Richey. Info: nprjokefactory.com or 727-807-6974.
Danny Bevins at Coconuts Comedy Club (at MJ's). If you think your crazy family would make a good story, Bevis has made a career out of his, revealing the characters that made his childhood memorable. And what it was — when seen through the mind an experienced stand-up comedian— was funny stuff. It's all delivered with the calm, yet still enthusiastic, demeanor of a stage pro. 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.
One-nighters and Special Events
Cigar City Comedy at Wicked 'Wiches.
This weekly free show (donations accepted) includes a few shorter sets followed by a featured closer, usually delivering adult material. This week's closer is John J. Murray. Showtime is Thursday at 8:30 p.m. Free (donation). 223 S. Howard Ave., Tampa. Info: cigarcitycomedy.com.
Kava Komedy at Bula Cafe. This regular show features local up-and-comers to warm up the crowd, and a more established closer to cap things off. This week it's Jonas Presendieu. Showtime is Thursday at 9 p.m. Free. 2500 5th Ave N., St. Petersburg. Info: 727-498-8913.
Kava Komedy at Red Tiki Bar. This show follows the Kava formula of up-and-comers providing support to an experienced closer. For this one the audience will be entertained by Kojo Prince. Showtime is Saturday at 8 p.m. Free. 7361 46th Ave N., St. Petersburg. Info: 727-914-8928.
Mike Rivera at Fishhawk Tavern (free show). Rivera, dubbed "America's Most Hilarious Teacher" by ABC's "The View," delivers a high-energy set. It's an adults-only course, with plenty of life lessons peppered with clever punchlines. Showtime is Saturday at 8 p.m. Free. 16144 Churchview Drive, Lithia. Info: 813-728-3528 or e-mail [email protected]