The Laugh Tract — Who's Bringing the Funny

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  • Tony Rocks takes up residence at Tampa Improv this weekend.

Summer might be a slow month for some events, but comedy is in full swing. The comedy clubs have talented touring comedians, and plenty of independent shows are popping up wherever you can put a mic and stage and audience. Some are low-cost and some are free, too. Just pick your location and comedy style and enjoy an evening out.
(There's air conditioning, too).

Here are your best bets:

Theaters and Special Events

One Night Stand at The Palladium Side Door. Local comedian Ward Smith brings back his Side Door comedy show with a trio of local talent. Former news anchor Frank Robertson shows off his growing comedic talents and Trish Keating puts her clever and cynical diva material on display. They'll provide support for Lou Angelwolf, whose decades-long career has been marked with witty storytelling, a touch of optimism and a casual-yet-engaging stage presence.
Showtime is Saturday at 8 p.m. $12-$24. 253 5th Ave. N., St. Petersburg. Info: 727-822-3590 or mypalladium.org.

Comedy Clubs

Tony Rock at Tampa Improv. When your older brother is comedy superstar Chris Rock, it might seem like a good idea to do anything but comedy for a living. But that would have been a bad decision for Tony, who belongs on stage with a mic in hand and a crowd to entertain. There's adult content and racial topics, but Rock has strong material and a casual, storytelling style that can be either laid back or more animated when necessary.
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. $15-$17. 1600 E. Eighth Ave., Tampa (Ybor City). Info: improvtampa.com or 813-864-4000.

Comedy Hypnosis at Tampa Improv. Gary Conrad takes volunteers from the audience and makes them the stars of the show. Once in a hypnotic state, they'll be receptive to his suggestions, which will put them in unusual situations, elicit bizarre reactions and might even have them running around the showroom. The unpredictability of their reactions only adds to the fun.
Showtime is Wednesday, July 22 at 8 p.m. $5. 1600 E. Eighth Ave., Tampa (Ybor City). Info: improvtampa.com or 813-864-4000.

Joe Machi at Side Splitters. Machi, a finalist on the most recent season of Last Comic Standing, has a quirky delivery. He looks a bit uncomfortable, out of place, and overwhelmed. But it's a perfect springboard for his smart material, making it clear that the guy delivering it is quite comfortable on stage and pretty smart himself.
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 Highway, Tampa. Info: sidesplitterscomedy.com or 813-960-1197.

Dave Goldstein at Snappers Grill & Comedy Club. Goldstein is a comedic storyteller with interesting perspectives on topics like relationships and his heritage, with plenty of punchlines and a likable personality.
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. Highway 19 N., Palm Harbor. Info: snappersgrill.com or 727-938-2027.

Rahn Hortman at 2 Palms. Hortman is a local comedian whose popularity is taking him to stages around the country. But he stays close to home Saturday, sharing personal family anecdotes and other observations with plenty of wit, but without the adult content and language you'll hear at most shows.
Showtime is Saturday at 8:30 p.m. $10. 2950 Gulf To Bay Blvd., Clearwater. Info: tampabaycomedy.com or 727-400-6920.

Chris Gorges at Coconuts Comedy Club (at MJ's). Gorges is a fast-paced performer, mixing improvisational comedy with traditional stand up. The result is a blur of punchlines and clever material from an established comedy vet.
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.

Artie Fletcher at Joke Factory (at Dockside Sports). The longtime New York comedian is on tour with Gallagher for the next year or so. But on Thursday, he stops in for a solo night of brash, adult comedy.
Showtime is Thursday at 7:30 p.m. $5-$7. 5015 US Highway 19, New Port Richey. Info: nprjokefactory.com or 727-807-6974.

One-nighters and Independent Shows

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 J.B. Ball, winner of the most recent Florida's Funniest Comedian contest.
Showtime is Thursday at 8:30 p.m. Free (donation). 223 S. Howard Ave., Tampa. Info: cigarcitycomedy.com.

Kava Komedy at Bula Cafe (free show). 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 Matt Fernandez, a local comedy club staple whose Twitter feed has been recognized on television shows such as Ellen and Jimmy Kimmel Live.
Showtime is Thursday at 9 p.m. Free. 2500 5th Ave N., St. Petersburg. Info: 727-498-8913.

Kava Komedy at Red Tiki Bar (free show). 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 Doug Canney, a regular at local clubs with fast-paced material.
Showtime is Saturday at 8 p.m. Free. 7361 46th Ave N., St. Petersburg. Info: 727-914-8928.

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 at 9:05 p.m. $20. 17093 Gulf Blvd., North Redington Beach. Info: 727-596-6725 or gdavidhoward.com.

G. David Howard at Gatsby's Comedy Cabaret. Located at the Early Bird Dinner Theatre in Clearwater, Howard will entertain the audience with his decades of experience, knack for crowd work and an arsenal of material.
Showtime is Saturday at 9 p.m. 13355 49th St N., Clearwater. Info: 727-596-6725.

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