After the serious speeches this week, loosen your ties and take in some of the offbeat and fun Republican National Convention events, including politicians taking a leap as stand-up comics, a zombie visit, a gay conservative disco party and an Oscar winner.
One of the few events that the public can get a ticket to is a competition by journalists, politicians and lobbyists to be named the Funniest Celebrity in Washington.
Anti-tax crusader Grover Norquist will headline this comedy night at the Improv in Centro Ybor on Tuesday. The conservative firebrand turns out to be a fan of comedy and has gotten good reviews for his wit in his past attempts at winning this D.C. contest that has been won by Mike Huckabee and Arianna Huffington.
Other scheduled performers include Matt Cooper of National Journal, Jamie Weinstein of the Daily Caller, James Lucier of Alpha Capital, Laurie Forster of The Wine Coach and Rep. Billy Long (R-Mo.), whom POLITICO has seen perform and wrote, "Believe it, he's hilarious." No fewer than seven presidential impersonators are also slated to attend.
Tickets are $10, $14 at the door Improv Comedy Theater, 1600 E Eighth Ave., Tampa.
Some other offbeat RNC events this week:
• Zombie Convention: This is a publicity stunt for AMC Networks, home of AMC's The Walking Dead, but it sounds fun to find a massive "Zombie Convention Within a Convention" at Stumps Supper Club in the Channelside district. It's a rare opportunity to "press the flesh" with an undead presidential candidate and hordes of followers. The zombies invade from 1:30 to 4:30 p.m. Sunday at Stumps, 615 Channelside Drive.
• Homocon 2012: After Tuesday night's RNC action, the gay conservative group GOProud will host this gathering at the Honeypot in Ybor City. The first Homocon in 2010 in New York City featured Ann Coulter. Confirmed guests this year include Mary Matalin, author, CNN contributor and long-time GOP operative. Go to goproud.org to try to score a ticket.
• Wonkette "Drinky Thing:" This meetup at MacDinton's in SoHo for fans of the political snark site Wonkette is subtitled, "We might let some Republicans into our Tampa Wonkette Drinky Thing but only if they are shirtless." So you've been warned. It's 6 p.m. Tuesday at 405 S Howard Ave.
• Jeff Bridges: The Oscar winner will be in Tampa on Tuesday for the nonpartisan Impact Film Festival at Channelside Cinemas. True Grit's Rooster Cogburn will introduce Hunger Hits Home, a childhood hunger documentary he narrated, at 12:30 p.m. See a schedule and get free tickets at Impactartsandfilmfund.org.
Sharon Kennedy Wynne, Times staff writer