It's a good week for smart comedy.
If you like zany, aggressive stage characters (and there's nothing wrong with that) there aren't as many options as you might find in a typical week. Instead, you'll find an abundance of comedians who let the material do the talking, with sharp writing and creative premises.
There are other choices, of course. Comedy hypnosis, comedy competitions and local performers will also hit area stages to provide a variety of laughs. So there should be something for everyone.
Here are your best bets.
Gary Conrad. Conrad's comedy hypnosis show puts volunteers into unusual situations, to the delight of the audience. Then the power of suggestion and Conrad's creativity starts producing plenty of laughs.
Tampa Improv (1600 E. Eighth Ave., Tampa) Wednesday and Thursday at 8 p.m. 813-864-4000 or improvtampa.com. $5-$10.
Corey Holcomb. Fresh off of Valentine's Day is a comedian who can tell you exactly what you're doing wrong. Holcomb's no-nonsense relationship advice is brash, politically-incorrect and relatable to just about anyone who has a significant other. Holcomb dispenses his funny, popular perspectives during a weekend of special engagement shows.
Tampa Improv (1600 E. Eighth Ave., Tampa) 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. 813-864-4000 or improvtampa.com. $22.
Tommy Johnagin. Johnagin has built a reputation as a crowd favorite with his sharp wit and funny story-telling that's not as crude as you might find from a typical headliner. As a result, he's become popular on the late-night talk show circuit and comedy clubs around the country.
Side Splitters (12938 N. Dale Mabry Highway, Tampa) 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 10:30 p.m. 813-960-1197 or sidesplitterscomedy.com. $10-$16.50.
Elite 8. Side Splitters' annual comedy contest continues as the remaining eight competitors get whittled down to four. On this evening, four comedians will vie for two spots in the next round.
Side Splitters (12938 N. Dale Mabry Highway, Tampa) Sunday at 7 p.m. 813-960-1197 or sidesplitterscomedy.com. $10-$12.
Gary Vider. Vider's understated presence was a hit on America's Got Talent. He'll bring the same self-deprecating wit to Palm Harbor for a run of special engagement shows.
Snappers Grill & Comedy Club (36657 U.S. Highway 19 N., Palm Harbor) Thursday at 7:30 p.m.; Friday and Saturday at 7 p.m. and 9:30 p.m. 727-938-2027 or snappersgrill.com. $15.
Murv Seymour. Seymour won awards when he was a broadcaster, and he uses that calm presence to deliver rich, humorous stories. Expect thoughtful material from an experienced media and comedy veteran.
2 Palms (2950 Gulf to Bay Blvd., Clearwater) Saturday at 8:30 p.m. 727-400-6920 or 2palmstampabay.com. $10.
Larry Myles. At first glance, Myles doesn't seem like a politically-correct guy. And that first impression is the right one. He uses his no-nonsense wit to share his opinions on a variety of topics.
Coconuts (5501 Gulf Blvd., St. Pete Beach) Wednesday and Thursday at 9:30 p.m. 727-360-5653 or coconutscomedyclubs.com. $18-20.
Chris Barnes. Barnes is an expressive comedian with nearly 35 years of stage experience. He uses that veteran presence to showcase his view of the world in a lively, animated way.
Coconuts (5501 Gulf Blvd., St. Pete Beach) Friday and Saturday at 9:30 p.m. 727-360-5653 or coconutscomedyclubs.com. $25.
One-nighters and Independent Shows
Kava Komedy. 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 Michael Murillo.
Bula Kafe (2500 5th Ave N., St. Petersburg) Thursday at 9 p.m. Bula-Kafe.com or 727-498-8913. Free.
G. David Howard. 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.
Sporty's On The Beach (17093 Gulf Blvd., North Redington Beach) Friday and Saturday at 9:35 p.m. 727-596-6725 or gdavidhoward.com. $20.