With its plush couch and bookcase stocked with esoteric objects, the stage at Side Splitters Comedy Club might make audiences feel as though they’re watching the evening’s comedian in their own living room, right down to the emcee who keeps announcing what’s about to happen. The homey stage’s brick walls and off-kilter neon sign have played host to numerous local comedians, as well as talents such as Tom Arnold and Gilbert Gottfried.
For nearly 50 years, the Improv chain has incubated standup talent—notable alumni such as Jerry Seinfeld, Adam Sandler, and Robin Williams all conquered their stage fright there before their big breaks. The Tampa location carries on the Improv’s tradition of catching rising stars before they turn into supernovas spewing dangerous molten punch lines with a calendar of up-and-comers and nationally touring talent.
In support of her high-decibel new album, Rihanna kicks off her hotly anticipated LOUD tour with emphatic gusto and a sizzling roster of special guests. Like an art show at a sundae bar, the LOUD tour floods the senses, enchanting audiences with lavishly designed sets, myriad costume changes, move-busting dancers, and Rihanna's songbook of Grammy magnets. Crooner Cee Lo Green augments the songful offerings with his own vocal talents, and Roc Nation rapper and rhythm scientist J. Cole further helps resuscitate ear drums traumatized by the outside world's blaring car horns and shrill howler monkeys.
The King of Rock and Roll never relinquishes his throne as four of the country’s top Elvis impersonators team together for Elvis Lives, a multimedia musical tribute to one of music’s premier icons. Endorsed by Elvis Presley Enterprises, which holds the copyright on blue suede shoes, Elvis Lives stars a quartet of bona fide dead ringers, all of whom are winners of the Ultimate Elvis Tribute Artist Contest and pay homage to four memorable eras of the pompadour-sporting legend’s career. Fans can swoon and shout as they catch a glimpse of tadpole Elvis and his centrifugal pelvis, movie-era Elvis, leather-jacket “comeback” Elvis, and shimmering, sequined-jumpsuit “Vegas” Elvis. The lavishly-produced show quantum leaps across a memorable career with classic songs sung spot-on, delighting fans and warming the heart of the real Elvis as he watches from the rafters.
Coconuts Comedy Club, located in Jack’s Joint since 1998, has been luring in chuckle-seekers for more than two decades with a glittering stage filled with nationally touring comedians. To keep growling stomachs from heckling comedians out of frustration, visitors can mute tummy rumbles with a full menu bursting at the seams with saucy wings, 14-inch hand-tossed pizzas, and brawny steaks.
The State Theatre was saved, as its website states, from "the ravages of time." Built in 1921 as a vaudeville and silent-film palace, the venue fell on hard times in the 1970s when disco balls replaced light fixtures and complex hand-slaps were substituted for tickets. In 2003, however, a $3 million renovation restored the State Theatre to much of its original glory, as crews painstakingly rehabbed the ornamental plaster and terracotta exterior. Inside the theater, a stunning chandelier sparkles more brightly than ever below the venue's signature dome.