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Lured by Laughs to Tampa's Side Splitters Comedy Club

By Elizabeth R. Elstien

Come for a night out. Stay for the laughs. With everyone from Larry the Cable Guy to Daniel Tosh on their stage, you get a feel for why Side Splitters Comedy Club is such a hit. "We've been bringing some of the best comedians in the world to the Tampa Bay area since 1992," says General Manager Brian Thompson. "What sets us apart from other venues is the excellent service we provide and the talent we bring to our stage."

Side Splitters has a full bar with wine by the glass or bottle, domestic or imported beers by the bottle or bucket (beer of the month anyone?) and fancy frozen alcoholic drinks. Everything is served up tableside with a two-item minimum while you enjoy the show. Especially intriguing is the icy cold yet warming Banana Splitter made with Crème de Banana, dark Crème de Cacao, vodka, vanilla and strawberry ice cream. Martinis are always an option, if you can choose between the many on their list. Are you the designated driver? Never fear, as there is an extensive list of non-alcoholic drinks, including the frozen kind, along with desserts and munchies.

Much talent has graced their stage in the last 24 years, but how does the Club choose who to book? Thompson tells us, "When choosing who to book, it's not always about who we think is funny, but rather who our fans would like to see. We like to do a combination of new talent and returning favorites." Their VIP club gives you exclusive offers to upcoming shows, alerting you of jokesters to come and saving you some cash too.

Side Splitters hosts fun improvisation sessions, where you know to expect the unexpected. Thompson tells us, "We have recently done a series of improv shows with Cigar City Comedy called The Crumpled Napkin Show where the audience picks the topics for the comics to riff on."

Thompson proudly notes the fundraisers, aptly called 'funraisers', the Club does for the community, "We do several each year, and it's a great way to support a charity and also bring some new people into our club." Recently, national comedian and HBO comedy festival performer Joe List did a fundraiser for Bishop McLaughlin High School. Now there's a show that's funny and fulfilling.

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