Located on Jacksonville’s south side, The Comedy Zone has been hosting some of the nation’s finest standup comedians for decades. Tucked away inside the Ramada Conference Center and Hotel, the Comedy Zone is a quaint, dim, charming nightclub venue filled with cozy tables and chairs. The thick carpet underfoot cushions the space further and keeps noisy shoes and squeaky chairs to a minimum. The small, gleaming wood stage is back-dropped by a large brick wall, reminiscent of so many other famous comedy clubs. Over the years, the stage has played host to a variety of national touring comedians and lots of local Florida talent. A full bar and a variety of burgers, sandwiches and appetizers are available to order, and can count toward the room’s industry-standard one drink or item minimum. Of course, that means comedy fans must be at least 21 years of age to enter the Zone.
When it opened in 1927, the Florida Theatre was the largest of 15 cinemas in downtown Jacksonville. Today, it's the city's last surviving vestige of that era's iconic architecture. Designed by New Yorker R.E. Hall and Jacksonvillian Roy Benjamin, the venue is a prime example of the Mediterranean Revival style, with a ceiling covered in glittering stars and a six-story proscenium arch. And even as the entertainment industry shifted towards television, the Florida Theatre survived by hosting interactive game nights and concerts from underground artists, including Elvis Presley. The space was renovated In the early 1980s, and today it returns to its entertaining roots by hosting live events and classic film screenings.
Every morning at Gigi's Restaurant, the kitchen gets busy scrambling eggs, frying potatoes, and simmering gravy for its weeklong breakfast buffet. On Sundays at 11 a.m., the Blue Jean Brunch—where people are welcome to wear jeans, not put them in their salads—witness diners grazing on made-to-order omelets, fluffy belgian waffles, fried chicken and waffles, and ice-cream sundaes of their own creation. For those who want to stuff themselves in the evening, the chef emerges from his cave underneath the kitchen on Friday and Saturday nights to carve slices of fresh prime rib, which pair well with steamed crab legs and a vast dessert selection.
Tired of the vulgar material found at most venues, the owners of the Comedy Club of Jacksonville open their stage to comedians without mile-long blue streaks. The club rates each standup on a G–R scale, with most comics falling under PG-13 language or soft-R content. This thoughtfulness even extends to the kitchen, where the proprietors try to avoid fried foods in favor of a char-broiler that fires up tasty kabobs and provides ashes for applying funny fake mustaches.
Packing the Deland Artisan Inn on the last Saturday of every month, Red Dog Comedy puts national and local comedians in front of the mike for a night of laughter and libations. Past shows have featured Vishaun Roberts, Matthew Lalanne, and TV-veteran Dean Napolitano, who many may recognize from his roles on Passions and The Shield.