More than 40 comics take their turns splitting sides at the Funniest Person in Akron contest, a two-month competition starting Monday at Akron's Spaghetti Warehouse. The creation of professional funnyman Bill Arrundale, the contest awards its top honors based on the hoots and hollers of the audience. "It's a positive experience that gives you exposure, motivation, and confidence," says Matt Heldman, a finalist in last year's competition. "I knew my stuff was going to be funny. I didn't care who went in front of me or after me." The hilarity happens every Monday at 8 p.m. through March 1 at the Spaghetti Warehouse, 510 South Main Street in Akron. Admission is $5. Call 330-794-0029 for more information. -- Melody Caraballo
Raw comedy at Bassa Vita.
Wednesdays at Bassa Vita are becoming a habit for Cleveland's top comics. Ryan Dalton, Mike Farrell, and Pee Wee D' can be found there regularly, trying out new material at Grimey Ninety, a 90-minute gagfest of uncensored jokes and unexpected pratfalls that's attracted standing-room-only crowds since its November debut. "Everybody is just looking for a good laugh," says promoter Tyler Lombardo, an aficionado of raunchy humor. He credits the high quality of comics for the show's success, but he's offering the stage to unknowns too: If your original material rates on the Crude-O-Meter, call the club for booking details. "Now if, like, Drew Carey would come down without being booked, I don't think we would have a problem with him performing." Grimey Ninety is at 8:30 p.m. Wednesdays at Bassa Vita (below Bottom's Up), 1572 West 117th Street in Lakewood. Admission is free; call 216-521-4386. -- Cris Glaser
You think we've got a clumsy government? Take a look at the mess Brazil makes of a hostage situation in Bus 147, a documentary about the 2000 hijacking of a passenger bus. The four-hour standoff, broadcast live to the nation, culminated in some major blunders by police and the local SWAT team (let's just say law officials did more damage than the troubled gunman did). It's more riveting than any action film Hollywood produced in 2003. Bus 147 is at the Cleveland Cinematheque (11141 East Boulevard) at 9:20 p.m. Friday and 5:10 p.m. Saturday. Admission is $8. Call 216-421-7450 for more information. -- Michael Gallucci