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This week on Tampa Bay stages: Steve Martin, Martin Short, more

Beyond a busy week in comedy, there’s opera in St. Pete, a new play at American Stage and a ‘Golden Girls’ puppet parody in Tampa.


Is it possible to laugh too much? This would be the week to figure it out. A slew of big-name comics are in Tampa Bay over the next few days, including a couple of prime Hollywood double bills. Here’s a roundup.

Steve Martin and Martin Short: Credit Martin Short for getting Steve Martin back on the road. Or maybe it’s the other way around. Either way, we should be thankful the two comic legends have been good friends and mutual admirers for so long. Their years-in-development duo show was documented in the Emmy-nominated Netflix special Steve Martin and Martin Short: An Evening You Will Forget for the Rest of Your Life. The Martins bring lots of music and gentle, friendly barbs back to town this weekend. $103.25 and up. 8 p.m. Friday. Ruth Eckerd Hall, 1111 N McMullen-Booth Road, Clearwater. (727) 791-7400.

Louie Anderson and Rita Rudner: Speaking of Emmys, Louie Anderson has one, for playing Zach Galifianakis’ mom on the sitcom Baskets. And Rita Rudner could probably buy a basket of them thanks to her mega-successful Vegas residencies, which have reportedly netted her more than $100 million. The two comics have been peers dating back to their early specials and appearances on Carson, so it’s only fitting they’re touring together today. $36 and up. 7:30 p.m. Jan. 29. Nancy and David Bilheimer Capitol Theatre, 405 Cleveland St., Clearwater. (727) 791-7400.

Louie Anderson will perform with Rita Rudner at the Bilheimer Capitol Theatre in Clearwater on Jan. 29. [ Courtesy of Louie Anderson ]

Russell Peters: Few and far between are the comics who can jet to almost any country on earth and instantly headline major venues. And rare are the occasions when those comics tour smaller clubs. But that’s what’ll happen this weekend when Russell Peters hits Tampa’s Ybor City. The Canadian superstar won Emmy and Peabody awards for producing the documentary series Hip Hop Evolution, but it’s his standup that has continued to captivate fans the world over. $45 and up. 7:30 and 10:30 p.m. Friday, 7 and 10 p.m. Saturday. Improv, 1600 E Eighth Ave., Tampa. (813) 864-4000.

Russell Peters in a still from his Netflix special "Russell Peters: Almost Famous." [ TOM PANDI | Netflix ]

Iliza Shlesinger: There isn’t much that Iliza Shlesinger is afraid to talk about. And there aren’t many mediums — standup, podcasts, radio, TV, books — that she’s afraid to work in. She’s started adding film to her resume; later this year she’ll star opposite Mark Wahlberg in a Netflix film, Spenser Confidential. And she’s probably got some more comedy specials up her sleeve, too. $35 and up. 7 p.m. Friday. David A. Straz Jr. Center for the Performing Arts, 1010 N MacInnes Place, Tampa. (813) 229-7827.

Iliza Shlesinger in a scene from her Netflix special "Iliza Shlesinger: Unveiled." [ Courtesy of Koury Angelo ]

Dom Irrera: You can’t miss Dom Irrera’s hangdog mug, whether he’s popping up as a driver in The Big Lebowski or tossing jabs at Edward Norton and Kevin Pollak during the Comedy Central roast of Bruce Willis. The veteran comic has presence, which has kept him in demand as a character actor since the ’80s. 8 and 10:15 p.m. Friday, 6 and 8 p.m. Saturday. $20 and up. Side Splitters, 12938 N Dale Mabry Highway, Tampa. (813) 960–1197.

Shane Mauss: Though he’s been on Conan and Kimmel, Shane Mauss may still be best known for podcasts, both others’ and his own, Here We Are. There, he can let his thoughts breathe and get especially deep on topics like science and philosophy. Now he’s doing that on his Stand Up Science tour, which hits Tampa next week. At each stop, Mauss invites local academics on stage to both educate and entertain; his Tampa guests include University of Tampa professors Benjamin Marsh and Heather Masonjones. Learn a little, will you? $18 and up. 7:30 p.m. Jan. 29. Side Splitters, 12938 N Dale Mabry Highway, Tampa. (813) 960–1197.

Shane Mauss will host "Stand Up Science" at Side Splitters Comedy Club in Tampa on Jan. 29. [ Courtesy of Bruce Smith ]


Playwright Dominique Morrisseau’s third play in her Detroit Projects cycle, Skeleton Crew, opens at American Stage on Friday. It’s set in the Great Recession of 2008, in one of the last auto plants in Detroit. It’s on shaky ground, too, affecting the lives of its workers. As things get more dire, the lines between blue collar and white collar are blurred. Last year, the theater produced Morrisseau’s Pipeline to critical acclaim. Pipeline director L. Peter Callender returns for this production. Friday’s opening night gala is sold out. $44-$50. 163 Third St. N, St. Petersburg. (727) 823-7529. For showtimes, visit


St. Petersburg Opera Company presents Giuseppe Verdi’s tale of trickery and tragedy, Rigoletto. Known for its famous aria “la donna é mobile,” the story follows the promiscuous Duke of Mantua as he tries to seduce Gilda, the daughter of the hunchbacked court jester, Rigoletto. $15-$95. 8 p.m. Friday, 2 p.m. Sunday, 7:30 p.m. Tuesday. Palladium Theater, 253 Fifth Ave. N, St. Petersburg. (727) 823-2040.


Since Betty White is the only living cast member of the iconic comedy The Golden Girls, there’s no chance of a live reunion. But their legacy of harsh one-liners, sexual innuendos and love of cheesecake has been preserved through puppetry. That Golden Girls Show, a puppet parody, comes to the Straz Center on Sunday. And if you want to revel in the camp of it all, there is a Golden Girls Drag Diva Brunch hosted by Miss McGee at Maestro’s at the Straz at 11:30 a.m. It’s $45 in addition to the ticket price. $35.50 and up. 2 p.m. Ferguson Hall, Straz Center, 1010 N MacInnes Place, Tampa. (813) 229-7827.

"That Golden Girls Show" will come to the Straz Center in Tampa on Jan. 26. [ Courtesy of the Straz Center ]