There’s going to be some extra laughter in Land O’ Lakes.
Beef O’Brady’s, 7040 Land O’ Lakes Blvd., is hosting another comedy night on Nov. 21. The now-regular event, which features a different professional headliner each month, is part of a continuing series after a couple successful trial runs in September and October.
The restaurant already offers trivia nights and music acts, but restaurant general manager Mike Connor wanted to offer an additional unique entertainment option to his patrons.
“There’s nobody else who has a comedy show in the area,” he said. “We just thought this was something different.”
After being contacted by a comedy club that also books local shows, the Beef O’Brady’s started featuring the comedy nights in their outside patio area, which seats around 60. Good initial reactions from customers at the first two shows — featuring comedians Pete Dearaujo and Pat Duax — have led to continuing the event on a regular basis.
The show begins at 9 p.m., and a later start means the topics can be more adult-oriented. But Connor is making sure it won’t be dirty — the comedians are told to avoid the most offensive words, and not curse just for shock value.
“Dropping an f-bomb every other word is not funny,” he said.
His own preferences lean toward the style of Jerry Seinfeld or Robin Williams, and thinks the audience will appreciate adult humor that isn’t vulgar.
Mike Rivera, November’s headliner, fits that mold. A teacher in Pinellas County with more than 25 years of stand-up comedy experience, Rivera was recognized in 2013 by ABC’s “The View” as the winner of its America’s Most Hilarious Teacher contest. His energetic style and comfortable stage presence impressed the show’s hosts, and he beat competitors from around the country to claim the title.
Previously, he was a regional winner of Showtime’s Funniest Person in America contest.
Rivera travels most weekends to different comedy clubs, and regularly tells jokes in front of large groups of people. But he enjoys performing for local crowds, and is happy to headline a smaller venue close to home.
“I find local shows to have audiences that are really appreciative. They don’t have to drive as far to the big locations and spend a ton of money,” Rivera said. “I find myself making good friends at local venues and wanting to come back.”
Connor had considered having a comedy night in the past, but only recently decided to give it a shot. Now he hopes the crowd keeps coming back and makes comedy night a successful staple for the restaurant, and he wants the casual format to be part of the appeal.
Whatever way the crowd wants to enjoy the atmosphere, there’s a seat at the table and jokes on the stage.
“There are people who bought dinner, and there are people who just sat and listened to comedy and had a couple of beers,” Connor said about the previous comedy nights. ”That’s what it’s about. It’s a relaxing evening.”
Tickets are $10. For more information, call (813) 388-6893.
Published November 19, 2014
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