By Tony Sokol
Some of the craziest red hot comedians will celebrate the legendary comic redhead at the upcoming annual Lucille Ball Comedy Festival. To commemorate what would be Desi Arnaz’s 100th birthday, the National Comedy Center will present a week of comedy performances and dialogues during its and partnering with world-renowned Chautauqua Institution on a week titled “Comedy and the Human Condition,” July 31st – August 6th.
Jim Gaffigan, Kevin James, Robert Klein, Lisa Lampanelli and more than twenty others will perform in Lucille Ball’s hometown of Jamestown, NY while Lewis Black, David Steinberg, W. Kamau Bell, Kelly Carlin and more engage in dialogues in the 4,000 seat amphitheater series that has welcomed nine U.S. presidents, three supreme court justices and the world’s most significant thought-leaders in history at the Chautauqua Institution, which is among the oldest and most respected lecture platforms in the nation.
The National Comedy Center, the first national-scale, non-profit cultural institution and visitor experience dedicated to comedy, will also present a week-long sneak preview exhibit of the George Carlin Archives it acquired in 2016, as it works toward opening its major visitor experience featuring more than 70 exhibits on comedy, targeted for summer of 2018.
The Center recently announced completion of its capital budget in what is a $50 million endeavor, funded by federal, state and private philanthropic support. The Center celebrates comedy in all of its forms, educating and engendering in visitors an appreciation for the art form and its artists. Design of the immersive experience has been provided by some of the most prominent cultural and interactive design firms in the world, whose portfolios collectively include the 9/11 Memorial Museum, the National Underground Railroad Freedom Center, the College Football Hall of Fame, SNL: The Experience, Universal Studios, and more.
The week’s programming also includes the nationally and critically-acclaimed children’s comedy troupe, The Story Pirates, late-night comedy and a stand-up showcase free to members of the U.S. Military past and present. Additional National Comedy Center dialogues include “A Conversation with Alan Zweibel,” original Saturday Night Live writer, best-selling author, and Broadway playwright; a comedy master class taught by Kliph Nesteroff, author of “The Comedians: Drunks, Thieves, Scoundrels and the History of American Comedy;” and “Comedy and the First Amendment,” featuring Kitty Bruce, daughter of Lenny Bruce, presented in partnership with a legal scholar from the Robert H. Jackson Center.
Tours will be available at the Lucille Ball Desi Arnaz Museum during the festival, which this year features a 100th birthday celebration of visionary and entertainment mogul, Desi Arnaz.
The festival and the forthcoming National Comedy Center embody Lucille Ball’s vision for her hometown to become a destination for the celebration of the comedic arts. For the past 26 years, Jamestown has hosted the Lucille Ball Comedy Festival, which annually attracts 13,000 plus attendees from more than 40 states. Past performers have included Jerry Seinfeld, Jay Leno, Trevor Noah, Brian Regan, Joan Rivers, Lewis Black, Ellen DeGeneres, Paula Poundstone, Nick Offerman, Ray Romano, Bob Newhart, The Smothers Brothers and more.
For tickets and additional show information, visit www.lucycomedyfest.com. Tickets may also be purchased by calling 716-484-0800, or by visiting the festival box office located at 2 W. 3rd Street, Jamestown, NY 14701
For more information on the National Comedy Center, including its support from I LOVE NY™, visit www.NationalComedyCenter.org.