This week we have puppets, local headliners, nationally-touring comedians and an all-girl show in town. Some are energetic while others are casual, but they all aim to make you laugh. Here are the best bets for this weekend:
TheatersGirls Night Out at Carrollwood Cultural Center. This annual comedy show isn't strictly for women only, but most of the crowd and all the performers are serious about having a girls night out. But that's about it for "serious," as local talents Mary Tischbein and Catherine Maloney will set things up for Traci Kanaan, whose song parodies (and crowd participation segments) keep audiences laughing. Read about them here. Showtime is Friday at 8 p.m. 4537 Lowell Road, Carrollwood. Info: carrollwoodcenter.org or 813-269-1310.
Mark Viera at Tampa Improv. Viera is a high-energy comedian, with animated storytelling and a voice that changes based on which family member he's discussing. His infectious laugh draws the same out of audiences as well. 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. 1600 E. Eighth Ave., Tampa. Info: improvtampa.com or 813-864-4000.
Tone Bell at Side Splitters. Bell has plenty of television credits, but on stage it's his casual, almost mellow stage demeanor that keeps audiences laughing. He uses it to full effect, sharing funny opinions and personal stories. 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, Tampa. Info: sidesplitterscomedy.com or 813-960-1197.
Tony Boswell at Snappers. Boswell isn't the wackiest comedian you'll see. He has an understated presence that keeps you focusing on the material. But that's a good thing, because the longtime comedian is a sharp writer with great timing. 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.
Peter Hefty at Coconuts Comedy Clubs (St. Pete Beach). Hefty's a popular character in the bay area; the ventriloquist plays comedy clubs with regularity. But Justin, his sidekick, is an even bigger character. Audiences will see Justin and Hefty's other puppets on stage this week. 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.
Steve Netta at Two Palms Bar & Bistro. Netta looks like your neighbor who likes to complain about random things, only his complaints are clever, self-deprecating and very funny. Expect plenty of punchlines (with witty tags) from this local headliner. Showtime is Saturday at 8:30 p.m. 2950 Gulf-to-Bay Blvd., Clearwater. Info: tampabaycomedy.com or 727-741-8014.