The annual Lucille Ball Comedy Festival is returning to Ball’s hometown of Jamestown, N.Y., on Aug. 6-10, having started in the early ‘90s with the likes of Ellen DeGeneres, Ray Romano and Lewis Black. The festival will feature 25 performers including headline comedians Jay Leno, Tom Cotter and Caroline Rhea. More than 50 events will take place during the five-day festival, which celebrates Ball’s vision for Jamestown as a community that fosters, supports and highlights contemporary comedy.
For information on all festival events, or to purchase ticket visit www.lucycomedyfest.com or call Festival box office (716)484-0800.
Jay Leno, world-renowned for his ratings domination as host of “The Tonight Show,” will be performing in front of a sold-out audience in Jamestown on Aug. 9. Leno is an acclaimed TV late night show host, beloved stand-up comedian, best-selling children’s book author, pioneering car builder and mechanic, philanthropist, and has been 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 addition to her performance, a meet-and-greet cocktail reception will be held at the Lucille Ball Desi Arnaz Museum (2 W. 3rd St.) immediately following the show.
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,” Cotter 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. Comedian Kerri Louise, who has appeared on “Last Comic Standing” and The Oprah Winfrey Show, will be the opening performance prior to husband Tom.
On the evening of Aug. 7, a Stand-Up Showcase headlined by Caroline Rhea and featuring Moody McCarthy, Carmen Lynch and Andrew Norelli will take place at the Reg Lenna Center for the Arts. In celebration of the healing powers of laughter, this performance is free for all U.S. military past and present for their service to our country. Rhea, who starred in “Sabrina, the Teenage Witch” and is a former host of “The Biggest Loser” and “The Caroline Rhea Show,” will headline the showcase and be joined by three rising comedians whose credentials include performances on Leno, Letterman, Conan and more.
Three nights of Late-Night Comedy will take place at the Lucille Ball Desi Arnaz Museum from Aug. 7-9, featuring rising young talent from across the country. A live comedy album will be recorded by San Francisco-based Rooftop Comedy for a second consecutive year, and featured performers include Sean Donnelly, Chet Wild, Rick Matthews, Jarwan Nelson, Emma Willmann, Mike Brody, Pete Lee, Mike Cody and Tony Deyo.
A Lucy Fashion Show with Emmy-Award winning costume designer Ret Turner, sponsored by the Dykeman Young Gallery & Vintage Emporium, will take place on Aug. 9. Turner, one of Lucille Ball’s favorite costume designers, headed the NBC Studios’ wardrobe department for 20 years, and his work has been worn by Lucille Ball, Carol Burnett, Billy Crystal, Neil Diamond, Jean Stapleton and scores of others. This free fashion show will showcase 10 new Lucy-inspired dresses and the launch of a brand new Vintage Boutique fashion line.
Additional events taking place during the five-day festival include hometown bus tours, candy wrapping, lunch and dinner shows with the world’s premier I Love Lucy impersonators, comedy workshops, free family comedy with comedian Nels Ross, museum artifact unveilings, Lucy outdoor viewing parties, free comedy happy hours, block parties before and after headline shows and more.
The National Comedy Center in Jamestown, projected to open in 2016, is envisioned as a multi-media complex providing a personalized celebration of all forms of comedy. A place where people laugh, play and learn about the craft and its enormous contributions to the American culture and the world.