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Turtle Time

Chris Flanagan headlining a packed show at one of South Florida's sneaky-good comedy venues is the Applause Planner Pick of the Week.

by Chuck king
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DELRAY BEACH – In many ways, comedy shows at Delray Beach’s Turtle Tavern defy expectations.

The venue isn’t really any different than most local strip mall bars.

It’s not fancy. There’s no stage to speak of. There are a couple of pool tables that convert via a piece of plywood and a table cloth to serving tables. The food is about what would be expected – which is in no way a slight. The tends to be empty as the 9 p.m. hour approaches.

Yet something inexplicable happens once a month. The Turtle Tavern becomes one of the best comedy venues in South Florida.

The shows are generally packed. Comics – both local and national – rave about the atmosphere. The crowd, which generally paid $5 apiece for entrance – is engaged and ready to have a good time.

That’s expected to be the setting again on Wednesday. The underrated Chris Flanagan headlines the January show. Matt Durndak is also in town and will be the feature comic – providing a strong 1-2 punch. And CJ Landry, gearing up for another run with the Dope City Comedy Tour, will also take the stage.

That trio alone makes for a great show. Fasil Malik is also expected to do a quick set, and local favorites Nadeem Awad and David Sadman will also be there.

There are a plethora of quality local shows this week – those looking for the biggest name comics will undoubtedly lean toward the Miami Comedy Festival – but if there is only one show to see this week, it’s Turtle Time.

Applause Planner – Plan On It

TUESDAY, JANUARY 11
Al Ernst – The Field, Fort Lauderdale
Jimmy Shubert was originally slated to headline this show, but when Shubert had a conflict, producer Brian Wright landed Al Ernst. Named Carnival Cruise Line’s “Entertainer of the Year,” Ernst has been entertaining by land and by see for decades. The show packs a strong local punch with Nadeem Awad Zach Bugarin and Fasil Malik also scheduled to perform, and Stephanie Wood serves as host. Tickets run from $10 obstructed view to $30 VIP (Ticket link in Events Calendar). Showtime is 8 p.m.

THURSDAY, JANUARY 13 – FRIDAY, JANUARY 14
Dope City Comedy Tour – Dania Improv, Dania Beach
Dope City rides again. Tim Hanlon and Matt Bellak are close to taking up residency at the Dania Improv. The duo is performing twice this week before departing on a mini-national tour that will take them to California and Texas. These guys are two of South Florida’s best – as the country is learning. Thursday’s show starts at 8 p.m. Friday’s show is scheduled for 10 p.m., Jon Lovitz headlines the early Friday show at the Dania Improv (and performs twice on Saturday and Sunday), so ambitious comedy fans could enjoy a deep Friday night of laughs, should they desire. Tickets for the Dope City shows are $20.

THURSDAY, JANUARY 13
Matt Durndak – Biergarten, Boca Raton
Matt Durndak follows Wednesday’s appearance a the Turtle Tavern with a co-headlining spot on Thursday at the Biergarten. He’s replacing Dexter Angry on the show, and will co-headline along with Christopher Robinson. Local favorite Nadeem Awad will feature, with show producer David Sadman serving as host. The free show starts at 8 p.m.

Gonzo Comedy Show with Esther Ku – Platinum Lounge, Sunrise
This show is the first in a new venture for Esther Ku and Joshua Kusnick. Ku herself headlines the opening night in the room. Mark Christopher will feature. Connie Fernandez and Kusnick will also perform, with Amber Joy Layne serving as host. The group intends to bring national acts to their twice-monthly shows. Tickets for this show are $10. Showtime is 8 p.m.

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FRIDAY, JANUARY 14 – SATURDAY, JANUARY 15
Miami Comedy Festival – Seminole Hard Rock, Hollywood
Two nights of laughter descend on the Hard Rock. Mike Epps headlines Friday night’s show, with Gary Owen and Marvin Dixon also among the night’s performers. Tommy Davidson is Saturday’s headliner, with Tony Rock, Lavell Crawford, Arnez J and Sommore also performing. That’s a strong collection of performers over two days. Tickets range from $65-$356. Friday’s show starts at 8:30 p.m., Saturday’s at 8 p.m.

SATURDAY, JANUARY 15
Spill The Beans – SteamWorks Coffee Bar, Port St. Lucie
Nadeem Awad caps a run of four shows in five days by headlining this Treasure Coast show produced by Fasil Malik. David Sadman is the feature comic with Steve Lamm also performing and Robb Kalert hosting. Ticket prices for the show begin at $20 and include a meal. Showtime is 7 p.m.

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