The Tampa Bay area welcomes familiar faces from television this week, representing entertainment from the '70s, '80s, and just a couple of years ago. Theaters and clubs will offer a wide variety of comedians, and these are your strongest options:
Whoopi Goldberg at Ruth Eckerd Hall. Before the acting fame and long before The View, Goldberg was an expert storyteller on stage, weaving funny and serious pieces together in a popular one-woman show. She gets back to her comedic roots with a performance in Clearwater this Friday night. Showtime is Friday at 8:00 p.m. 1111 McMullen Booth Road, Clearwater. Info: rutheckerdhall.com or 727-791-7400.
Bob Newhart at Capitol Theatre. Were you even aware that Newhart, 84, is still performing? Those in the know recall his recent turn on television's Big Bang Theory, which showed that he's not only retained his comedy chops, but his deadpan delivery is just as funny as it was decades ago. The term "comedy legend" is sometimes thrown around too loosely. Newhart is a comedy legend. Showtime is Saturday at 7:30 p.m. 405 Cleveland St., Clearwater. Info: atthecap.com or 727-791-7400.
Todd Oliver & Friends at The Mahaffey Theater. Oliver's claim to fame is America's Got Talent, where he reached the semi-finals in 2012. Now he brings a full show with puppets, dogs, music and comedy. It's family-friendly fare served up in a matinee performance, which is uncommon among your usual comedy options. Showtime is Saturday at 4:00 p.m. 400 First St. South, St. Petersburg. Info: themahaffey.com or 727-893-7832.
Jon Lovitz at Tampa Improv. Lovitz is still best-known for his turn on Saturday Night Live, which ended more than 20 years ago. But the catch-phrases from his characters ("That's the ticket!") still resonate with fans, and with three decades in the business he should have no problem keeping the audience entertained. Showtimes are Friday at 8 p.m., Saturday at 7:30 p.m. and 10 p.m. and Sunday at 7 p.m. and 9:30 p.m. 1600 E. Eighth Ave., Tampa. Info: improvtampa.com or 813-864-4000.
Rich Vos at Side Splitters. Vos brings decades of stand-up experience and a Jersey attitude to the stage, where he talks about the rigors of family life and other observations. His no-nonsense style has made him a favorite of radio's Opie & Anthony, and you can expect similar humor on stage this weekend. 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. 12938 N. Dale Mabry Highway, Tampa. Info: sidesplitterscomedy.com or 813-960-1197.
Roy Haber at Snappers Grill & Comedy Club. Haber was raised in Kentucky via Israel. Yes, Israel. He's also 5' 2". The material almost writes itself, doesn't it? Actually, Haber does the writing, with a self-deprecating, clever style that shares his observations and experiences. He's known for having an honest outlook that audiences enjoy. Showtimes are Friday and Saturday at 7 p.m. and 9:30 p.m. 36657 U.S. 19 N., Palm Harbor. Info: snappersgrill.com or 727-938-2027.
Helen Keaney at Coconuts St. Pete Beach. Keaney's well known for her regular spots on the Home Shopping Network, but she's an accomplished comedian as well. On stage she offers her observations about life and relationships with a quick wit and the same likable personality that moves a lot of merchandise on television. Showtimes are Wednesday-Saturday at 9:30 p.m. 6200 Gulf Blvd. at the Beachcomber Resort, St. Pete Beach. Info: coconutscomedyclubs.com or 727-360-5653.
Chris Gorges at Jack's Joint. Local comedian Gorges is usually in motion during his set, talking and moving a notch faster than most people you see on stage. His improvisational background allows him to adapt to most surroundings, and interact with the audience in a creative way. Showtime is Saturday at 8:30 p.m. 2950 Gulf-to-Bay Blvd., Clearwater. Info: tampabaycomedy.com or 727-741-8014.
One-nighters and Independent Shows.
Comedy Showcase at 1933 (free show). Local comedians Paul Soleo, Kyle Ruse, John J, Jake Barsness, John Jacobs and Krishna Reddy perform adult material in front of a drinking audience. Expect some crude jokes, crowd interaction and a lot of laughs. Showtime is Saturday at 9 p.m. 2245 Nursery Road, Clearwater. Info: 727-532-1972.