JAMESTOWN — The Lucy Desi Center for Comedy has announced that comedians Jay Leno and Tom Cotter will headline the 2014 Lucille Ball Comedy Festival, Aug. 6-10.
Additionally, this year’s Lucille Ball Comedy Festival will feature the return of Emmy Award-winning Lucie Arnaz, a “Comics to Watch” showcase hosted by comedian Caroline Rhea featuring some of the hottest rising comedians in the industry, three nights of Late-Night Comedy in the Tropicana Room with a live album recording co-produced by Rooftop Comedy, renowned “I Love Lucy” impersonators from Universal Studios, Lucille Ball’s five-time Emmy-award-winning costume designer Ret Turner, hometown bus tours, cemetery tours, Chautauqua Lake cruises, comedy workshops, an attempt to break the world record for most people stomping grapes in one location and more.
Presale tickets for the Lucille Ball Comedy Festival will begin going on sale to museum members, sponsors, and supporters Friday, April 11 at noon EST, and can be purchased by visiting www.lucycomedyfest.com or calling the Lucy Desi Center for Comedy box office at (716) 484-0800. Public on-sale begins April 18 at noon EST.
Jay Leno, just stepping down this year from two decades of ratings domination as host of “The Tonight Show,” will be performing in Jamestown on Aug. 9. Leno is an acclaimed TV late night show host, admired stand-up comedian, best-selling children’s book author, pioneering car builder and mechanic, and philanthropist … it’s no wonder that Jay Leno is widely characterized as “the hardest working man in show business.”
Lucie Arnaz will return to the Lucille Ball Comedy Festival as the featured musical guest during Jay Leno’s performance on Aug. 9. Arnaz has had an extremely diversified career spanning over 45 years in show business, and has achieved success wearing the hats of producer, singer, actor and director. In 2012, Arnaz performed at the Lucille Ball Comedy Festival as a musical guest during the “Comics to Watch” showcase featuring Baron Vaughn, Tony Deyo and Tammy Pescatelli.
Tom Cotter, who will be performing at the Reg Lenna Center for the Arts on Aug. 8, recently became the first comedian to ever reach the finals of NBC’s “America’s Got Talent” and his runner-up finish on the show has catapulted him to the comedic stratosphere. Before “America’s Got Talent,” Tom won the Seattle International Comedy Competition, the grand prize at the Boston Comedy Festival and was voted “Best Stand-Up” at the Las Vegas Comedy Festival.
The Lucy Desi Museum & Center for Comedy has also announced that it will attempt to break the world record for most people stomping grapes in one location at this summer’s Lucille Ball Comedy Festival on Saturday, Aug. 9. During the 2011 Lucille Ball Comedy Festival, Lucy-lovers gathered in Jamestown’s Tracy Plaza to set a Guinness World Record of 916 people dressed as Lucy Ricardo.
On the evening of Aug. 7, the Lucy Desi Museum & Center for Comedy will bring back the popular “Comics to Watch” stand-up showcase back to the Reg Lenna Center for the Arts, featuring some of the hottest rising comedians in the industry. Comedian Caroline Rhea, who starred in “Sabrina, the Teenage Witch” and is also a former host of “The Biggest Loser,” will host and perform during the showcase. Past festivals have featured then-rising comedians such as Ellen DeGeneres, Ray Romano, and Lewis Black, and this showcase aims to catch comics on a similar rise to the top.
Rooftop Comedy, who has co-produced late-night comedy shows in the Tropicana Room in previous years, will be recording a live comedy album again for this year’s late-night shows. In 2013, Rooftop Comedy recorded their first live album from the Lucille Ball Comedy Festival that will be available for purchase in stores and on iTunes, Spotify, SoundCloud and more with a release date of May 6. Rooftop Comedy produces original event programming, from local comedy festivals to national comedy events and tours. Comedians featured in the 2013 album record include Harrison Greenbaum, Keith Alberstadt, Joe Machi, Jackie Kashian, Myq Kaplan, Kelly Collette and more.
To hear a free sample track, visit the Lucille Ball Comedy Festival SoundCloud page at www.soundcloud.com/lucilleballcomedyfestival.
Ret Turner, one of Lucille Ball’s favorite costume designers, will visit Jamestown to share about his experiences working with the legendary comedienne and participate in exhibit unveilings at the Lucy Desi Museum. Turner has won five Emmy awards and been nominated for 21 Emmys. His work includes “The Jim Nabors Show,” “The Andy Williams Show,” “Sonny and Cher Comedy Hour,” “Donny and Marie Show,” and “Mama’s Family,” to name a few. He headed NBC Studios’ wardrobe department for 20 years before entering into a partnership with Bob Mackie and Ray Aghayan for Elizabeth Courtney Costumes. His works have been worn by Lucille Ball, Carol Burnett, Billy Crystal, Barry Manilow, Neil Diamond, Shirley Booth, Jean Stapleton, and scores of others.
In 2013, the Lucy Desi Museum & Center for Comedy completed the master-planning stage of development of the first National Comedy Center with the help of world-renowned design firm Jack Rouse Associates (jackrouse.com) and leisure economics firm AECOM. JRA has produced attraction experiences for clients including Universal Studios, LEGOLAND California, Ferrari World Abu Dhabi, the NCAA Hall of Champions, Warner Brothers, Ripley’s Believe It or Not in London, Curious George Goes to Town, and countless other museums and themed attractions around the globe.
The Lucille Ball Comedy Festival is the first pillar in a four-pillar Legacy of Laughter vision for the Lucy Desi Museum & Center for Comedy, including a comedic arts education program, a comedy film festival and the establishment of the first National Comedy Center. In 2013, the festival featured Bill Engvall, Kathleen Madigan, and a “Comics to Watch” showcase of comedians presented by Pandora Internet Radio™, and past festivals have featured Ray Romano, Ellen DeGeneres, Lewis Black, Billy Gardell, Joan Rivers, Paula Poundstone, Tammy Pescatelli, and many more.
According to an economic impact study conducted by Buffalo firm Paradigm Economics and commissioned by the Lucy Desi Center for Comedy and the Chautauqua Region Community Foundation, the 2011 five-day festival saw 13,000 in attendance and had a direct impact of $3.6 million on Chautauqua County. In 2013, the festival saw visitors from 29 different states and four countries.
Lucille Ball’s hometown of Jamestown, N.Y., honors the legacy of “The First Couple of Comedy” with the Lucy Desi Museum & Center for Comedy. The museum attraction is open seven days a week, and features replica sets, Lucille Ball’s Emmy awards, costumes, rare memorabilia, and much more.
Tripling in size in 2006, the mission of the museum and center for comedy is to preserve the legacy of Lucille Ball and Desi Arnaz and enrich the world through the healing powers of love and laughter through its commitment to the development of the comedic arts. For additional information on the Lucy Desi Museum & Center for Comedy, as well as its online gift shop, visit www.lucy-desi.com.