SMASH HIT: Monster Jam
The muscular trucks of Monster Jam have a celebrity following of their own. Grave Digger is so famous a gaggle of drivers pilot the trucks at multiple simultaneous events. That crazy bull El Toro Loco is a distinctly eye-catching machine with horns sticking out of the sides of its cab. And Monster Jam is so popular in Tampa, the motorsport event returns Feb. 6 if you miss this weekend's fun. These strange vehicles with ginormous wheels are the motor version of professional wrestling, and the family-friendly scene eats it up as they crush lesser cars and even school buses in competition. Go early to tailgate and get pictures up close with the trucks and drivers at a Party in the Pits from 1:30 to 5 p.m. Then head to Raymond James Stadium for the 7 p.m. show Saturday where they have brought in truckloads of dirt to create racing and freestyle competition arenas. $15-$125. MonsterJam.com.
GLEEK OUT: Jane Lynch
Don't head into Jane Lynch's concert at the Capitol Theatre expecting a pep-squad mash-up of her biggest Glee hits, such as Madonna's Vogue or Olivia Newton-John's Physical. The erstwhile Sue Sylvester is more of a cabaret gal, peppering her live concerts with jazz standards and show tunes, all infused with the crackling personality and wit that's made her one of the most in-demand comic actors around. "I like music of all forms," Lynch said in a recent phone interview. "I love pop songs. I love musical theater. I do a song from the 1930s that we do in a really tight three-part harmony. I have a 'Songs That Made Us Cry When We Were Kids' medley, and we sing them, so people can have the experience of bursting into tears like we did." How the three-time Emmy winner even has time for a tour is a mystery — she's starring in two network series, NBC's Hollywood Game Night and CBS's Angel From Hell, and she just hosted the People's Choice Awards. But we're lucky she's squeezing this Clearwater show — originally scheduled for March 2015 — into her jam-packed schedule. It's at 8 p.m. Saturday at the Capitol Theatre, 405 Cleveland St. $45 and up. (727) 791-7400. rutheckerdhall.com.
For more of pop music/culture critic Jay Cridlin's interview with Jane Lynch, see tampabay.com/soundcheck.
COMIC EDGE: Not for the squeamish
For fans of oh-no-he-didn't kind of humor, there's some good choices from the bad boys and girls of comedy this weekend. The "queen of mean" Lisa Lampanelli, best known for her acid quips on Comedy Central roasts, performs on Friday in Sarasota ($35-$50 at Van Wezel Performing Arts Hall). Fear Factor's Joe Rogan's show at the Tampa Theatre Saturday is sold out, and no wonder. He has built a huge following based on his reputation as a bad boy of comedy, a podcast master with more than 16 million downloads per month and a comedy mind that questions anything we all are sure is true. Profanely funny author and actor Jim Norton, co-host of The Opie with Jim Norton Show on Sirius XM Radio, performs today through Saturday at Side Splitters Comedy Club in Tampa. His humor is topical, sometimes political, always self-deprecating and most of all filthy, which is why he's a favorite of fellow comics. Shows are for 18 and older. $35. sidesplitterscomedy.com.
THE FUTURIST: Adam Trent
Described as Justin Timberlake meets David Copperfield, Adam Trent starred in the hit Broadway show The Illusionists. His interactive show at Ruth Eckerd Hall promises to be is part magic, part concert and part stand–up comedy. 1 p.m. Sunday. $18-$35. rutheckerdhall.com.