Part of the thrill of going to a comedy club in New York or Los Angeles is that you never know who's going to hop up on stage for an unannounced set. Dane Cook might drop by the Laugh Factory to test new material, or Louie C.K. could pop into the Comedy Cellar and do a quick 15 minutes.
Obviously, here in Tampa, those sort of pop-ins don't really happen. But in a couple of weeks, you might see something similar at the Improv in Ybor City.
Aisha Tyler is headlining the Improv from Sept. 2 to 4, and she's a pretty big name in her own right. But on Friday, Sept. 3, after Tyler does her usual two sets, the Improv is selling tickets to a special show by an even bigger name: Carlos Mencia.
Yes, the superstar standup is apparently dropping by the Improv in Ybor City to do a quick set at 11:45 p.m. Sept. 3 as part of a "30 shows in 30 days" tour. He's arguably the biggest name on the Improv's upcoming calendar, which already includes comics like Kevin Nealon, Eddie Griffin and Greg Behrendt.
"The last time he played the club was 2004," said Improv general manager Bob Joyce. "I'd be pretty confident in saying he's going to do at least an hour. He's got a reputation for doing some long shows, but he hasn't toured the circuit in six years."
Speaking of comics …
Calling Jeffrey Ross the meanest man in comedy is unfair. Sure, he's the undisputed king of the celebrity roast, and he dished out some pretty good lines during Sunday night's Comedy Central Roast of David Hasselhoff.
Truth be told, we found him during an interview a few years ago to be thoroughly pleasant, thoughtful, even soft-spoken. You just won't notice that on stage, and that's where the Roastmaster General will be when he comes to Tampa for a weekend at the Improv in Ybor City. Ross is performing Oct. 8-10 in Tampa; tickets are just $20. Show up early, and maybe Ross will insult you. It's his way of telling you he loves you.
Big Boi cancels show
Another major artist has canceled a big-time concert at Jannus Live. Outkast's Big Boi has called off his concert that was scheduled for Sept. 3 at Jannus Live in St. Petersburg. This follows cancellations of shows by Grupo Mania on July 31 and Sean Paul on July 10.
No rescheduling is planned at the moment, according to the promoter. Refunds are available at point of purchase.
• The Glitch Mob also has apparently canceled its Aug. 29 show at Jannus Live.
• On the bright side, Xiu Xiu is coming to Crowbar on Oct. 22. Survey says this qualifies as another official Hip October Concert.
• The semireclusive Mary Chapin Carpenter will come to Ruth Eckerd Hall on Oct. 7 for the first time in seven years.
Read more Tampa Bay concert news and reviews at tampabay.com/blogs/soundcheck.