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.
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.
Though entertainment fads come and go, movie theaters remain, tempting audiences with fantastical stories new and old. The film buffs behind the Tampa Pitcher Show understand this craving for narrative connection, filling their movie hall and bar space’s calendar with first-run films, alternative events, and live music that helped them take home the prize for Best Kept Secret in Creative Loafing's Best of the Bay 2011 Reader’s Poll. Within the theater, projectors hum to life with current hits and cult classics every night; weekends welcome special happenings that include Rocky Horror Picture Show shadow-casts, art bazaars, and comedy shows. The Take 2 Lounge dispenses a sprawling menu of bar fare, including burgers, pizzas, and beers such as Magic Hat #9, Southern Tier, and Florida Avenue Ale flowing from 13 tap lines.
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.
Gypsy Stage Repertory's troupe takes its name to heart. A traveling band of thespians, the company focuses on acting and directing, keeping the sets simple and mobile in order to travel from place to place without wasting time or having to reassemble a full-scale pyramid replica on each stage. The result is a collection of artists who draw the audience in with their concentrated performance, whether putting on a classic by Neil Simon, a new work from Amy and David Sedaris, or a piece by local writer and Gypsy artistic director Lil Barcaski.