A complete guide to Comedy Clubs

By Kristine Hughes

Next time you're looking for a night out, consider comedy. The Florida comedy clubs are some of the best in the nation, and many have acts from elsewhere. In Florida you'll find a wide range of comedy venues, whether you prefer cozy venues or outrageous improv shows.

Bonkerz, Daytona Beach

You can enjoy traditional stand-up at Bonkerz Comedy Club. In the past three decades, this Orlando-based outfit has hosted Rita Rudner, Jerry Seinfeld, and Paula Poundstone. The company has been around since 1968 and has won several "Best Comedy Club" awards, including ones in Orlando and Las Vegas. It is easy to see why it is the best comedy club in Florida.

As I said I traveled to Daytona Beach to enjoy the Penthouse Lounge at LaPlaya Resort. It offers panoramic views of the beach and strip from both table and bar seating in the spacious room. Intimate setting suitable for a dinner. Great shows can always be found on Showtime, Comedy Central, Letterman and Leno.

Off the Hook Comedy Club in Naples

Another great traditional stand-up venue in Marco Island is Off The Hook Comedy Club at Captain Brien's Seafood and Raw Bar (offthehookcomedy.com). Over the weekend, top Michigan comedians toured Florida clubs at the club, which is on the Improv comedy circuit. Pauly Shore, Andrea Dice Clay, Gallagher, Jackie Mason and Jimmie J.J. Walker was among the performers in the past. You can eat at the restaurant before the show and then yuk it up with your friends before the show begins.

Coconuts, St. Pete Beach

Visit Coconuts Comedy Club in St. Pete Beach (coconutscomedyclubs.com) if you're in town. Despite the smaller space (read: size) in this venue, it is known for hosting high-end acts. Nick Gaza is among the club's oldest comedians. He has appeared on "Drew Carey," "Malcolm in the Middle," and "Becker." He combines true stories with audience participation (read: poking fun at both the audience and at himself).

A comedy theater in Sarasota, McCurdy's

A stand-up and improv comedy theater that first opened its doors more than 22 years ago, McCurdy's Comedy Theater and Humor Institute is now open to all. A large, specially-designed Vegas Comedy Clubs in Florida offers seats no more than 40 feet from the stage anywhere in its 4,000-square-foot room. There have been performances by Jeff Foxworthy, Chris Rock, Elayne Boosler, Soupy Sales, Judy Tenuta, Pat Paulsen, Larry "the Cable Guy," Kevin Pollack, Ron White, David Brenner, Bobcat Goldthwait for the Comedy Festival. It's not hard to see what I mean. A surprising number of big names attend this venue, despite its unassuming location.

Its monthly humor lectures are complemented by live comedy performances. Studies show that providing employees with new information through humor increases retention. In addition to improvisation, the Bermuda Mavericks perform sketches to reduce stress and increase productivity in the workplace. The idea is great.

Sak Comedy Lab, Orlando

Check out SAK Comedy Lab (sak.com) for some improv in downtown Orlando. In place of stand-up comedy, there is a fun comedy theater (bad language is strictly prohibited) that is geared towards the whole family and is reminiscent of Who's Line Is It Anyway?.  

Also available through SAK is an excellent improv program. The success they have had over the past 30 years is evident in their alumni. 

Jacksonville's Comedy Zone

Throughout the north, Chong has appeared at Comedy Zone with Ralphie May. If you are interested in becoming a stand up comedian, attend a Comedy Zone Workshop in Jacksonville. Try this eight-week course if you want to tell jokes without making people laugh or if you are a comedian.

Hollywood's SoFlo Comedy Showcase

Miami's Funniest and Ultimate Miami Comedian semifinalists own and operate this club downtown Hollywood. In addition to Brian Coronado, Minda Minda, Timothy Kirby, Deborah Anne, Perry Sak, and Angela Bellonio Nacca, the event has included numerous other performers.

Comedy clubs in Florida should have everything you need, no matter what kind of comedian you would like to be or what type of show you would like to see. In the sun you can enjoy yourself by laughing, so get outside and take advantage of this.

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