Bill Cosby (credit: Jemal Countess/Getty Images)

Timing is everything. These pros know how to deliver a joke, to make any story hilarious, to ridicule the monotonous and to make it all seem easy. Some seriously funny evenings are lined up in the East Bay, including none other than Bill Cosby himself. Bring a new meaning to having a few laughs when you’ve got a seat at one of the best stand-up comedy acts anywhere around.

Bill Cosby
Paramount Theatre
2025 Broadway
Oakland, CA 94612
(510) 465-6400

Date: April 12, 2014 at 8:00 p.m.

The legendary Bill Cosby is coming to town on his national tour. He is, after all, a name written large in the annals of comedy spanning decades of Americana. At age 76, his comedy is as robust as ever, although he’s no longer basing routines around life as a persnickety old man caught in a younger Cliff Huxtable-inspired ugly sweater-clad body. If you’re a fan of 80s television sitcoms, you won’t want to miss an evening with Bill Cosby. It’s bound to be a blast from the past.

Awkward Face and Liquid Mind
Pan Theater
2135 Broadway
Oakland, CA 94612
(415) 724-2433

Date: Every Friday and Saturday at 9 p.m. and 10 p.m.

Just one block from the 19th Street BART Station, Pan is all about comedy with an emphasis on improvisation. This theater teaches it, performs it and loves short-form and long-form improvisation. It will even invite play scripts for performances (hurry…2014 submissions for “Anything Can Happen” are open until February 22). Pop out to the early show or the late show any Friday or Saturday evening to chuckle through a live show that costs less than a movie ticket without the popcorn. The Pan is home to Awkward Face and Liquid Mind troupes. It’s improv, so go again; no two shows are ever the same.

John Witherspoon
Tommy T’s Comedy Steakhouse
5104 Hopyard Road
Pleasanton, CA 94566
(925) 227-1800

Date: Feb. 21-23, 2014

Funny man Witherspoon has performed with comic greats Eddie Murphy, Adam Sandler, Martin Lawrence and Tim Meadows on the big screen while David Letterman and Richard Pryor are among his small-screen credentials. Tommy T’s is on the standup comedian circuit right through the year with visiting comics every night. And if your friends have been telling you how truly funny you are — or even if you’re the only one who thinks it to be so — why not give it a whirl? Every Monday night at 7:30 p.m. there’s an open mic for the first 30 bravest wannabe comics to test-drive their talents onstage.

Geezer, Geoff Hoyle’s One-Man Comedy Hit
The Marsh
2120 Allston Way
Berkeley, CA 94710
(415) 282-3055

Date: Feb. 20 and 27 and March 1, 2014

Calling his own metier “a unique physical bravura comic style, a combination of the court jester, vaudeville and English music hall,” Hoyle picked up some early life pointers in Paris straight from Marcel Marceau’s teacher, Etienne Decroux. A rich and varied career has seen him as the Pickle Family Circus clow, Mr. Sniff, as well as the original Zazu in “The Lion King” on the Broadway stage. Now, here’s a one-man show that the performer has written himself.

Sinbad with Memphis Redand the Funk Stank Nasty Band –
A Night of Funk and Comedy

Yoshi’s Jazz Club
510 Embarcadero W.
Oakland, CA 94607
(510) 238-9200

Date: March 19-20, 2014

Being called one of the top 100 standup comedians of all time by Comedy Central is quite an accolade. Sinbad is the son of a preacher, who calls his own sense of humor “semi-dirty.” You’ve seen him at the cinema opposite Schwarzenegger in “Houseguest” with Phil Hartman and you’ve seen him in his own TV series, “The Sinbad Show,” and on NBC’s “Celebrity Apprentice.” Those who want to shake hands with the bad man himself can buy tickets for a come-early meet-and-greet option with two front row seatings.

Laurie JM Farr is a freelance writer covering all things in her adopted San Francisco. A dedicated urbanite, she’s a transplanted New Yorker by way of a couple of decades in London as a hotel sales and marketing manager. Follow her work on @ReferencePlease, USA Today, Yahoo! and on