JAMESTOWN, NY – July 27th, 2012 – The Lucy Desi Center for Comedy has announced the final line-up of The Lucille Ball Comedy Festival, August 1st-5th. The five-day festival will feature nationally-recognized comedians and rising stars, as well as one-of-a-kind events that any Lucy fan couldn’t miss, all in Lucille Ball’s hometown of Jamestown, NY.
“Our goal last year was to honor Lucille Ball the best way we know how: through laughter,” said Journey Gunderson, executive director. “We hope to continue that success this year with top-notch comedy programming and really prove that Jamestown is ready to become the Cooperstown of comedy.”
- This year’s top headliner is Billy Gardell, from CBS’s hit show Mike & Molly. The Pittsburgh native is known to more than 12 million TV viewers each week, appeared in his own hour-long Comedy Central Special in 2011, and will be performing to a house of 1,260 seats, The Reg Lenna Civic Center, in Jamestown Saturday, August 4th.
- Lucie Arnaz, Emmy-winning singer, producer and actress, will be the musical guest and host of the Stand-Up Showcase on Friday, August 3rd. Tammy Pescatelli, winner of Comedy Central’s 2010 Stand-Up Showdown and a finalist on NBC’s Last Comic Standing 2, will be the featured comedian and joined byTony Deyo and Baron Vaughn. Lucy Fest has featured performances by then-rising stars Ray Romano, Lewis Black and Ellen DeGeneres, and aims to catch comics on a similar rise to the top with this showcase.
- Paula Poundstone, one of Comedy Central’s 100 Greatest Comedians of All-Time and panelist on NPR’s Wait, Wait, Don’t Tell Me will headline the Thursday, August 2nd evening.
- Kid’s comedy includes the critically-acclaimed comedy troupe, Story Pirates, seen on CNN’s Larry King, NBC’s Today, and recently live on stage with Conan O’Brien. This non-profit creative writing organization made up of professional actors and comedians performs a show based on stories written by children. As a special treat, the Story Pirates have chosen four different stories written by Jamestown children, and will be performing each one at the Reg Lenna on August 4th.
- Gregg Oppenheimer, son of I Love Lucy creator Jess Oppenheimer, returns to Jamestown to direct a Live “Lucy” Radio Show on Saturday, August 4th. This year’s show features the world premiere of Finding Fred and Ethel, a side-splitting episode of Jess Oppenheimer’s first sitcom Baby Snooks, and another hilarious episode of Lucille Ball’s radio sitcom My Favorite Husband: Valentine’s Day.
- Late Night Comedy will be held in the Tropicana Room at the Lucy Desi Center on August 3rd and 4th at 10:30pm. Some of the hottest rising comedians from across the country will converge in Jamestown for a night of new, and sometimes blue, material. Contains adult content. Comedians that will be performing include Mark Normand, Adam Newman, Kyle Grooms, Nick Peine, Bethany Van Delft, Mike Brown, Phoebe Robinson, Joe Machi, and Chet Wild. Beer and wine will be served.
LUCY WORLD GAMES
Opening Ceremonies at 6pm Friday, Aug. 3 feature rock band “Party of Nine” & more kicking off the first-ever Lucy World Games, making Jamestown 2012: Host City of Comedy. Opening ceremonies will be hosted by Tammy Pescatelli. Closing ceremonies will be at 6pm Saturday, Aug. 4. The Lucy World Gamesare at Tracy Plaza from 11am-8pm Fri and Sat, and are a collection of Lucy-inspired events where anyone who can stomp grapes or wrap candy. Additional events include a Lucy costume contest, a 1.5k Lucy Loop race, the largest I Love Lucy trivia contest ever held, a even a corn hole tournament.
The Party on the Plaza returns this year to Jamestown, all day, during the World Games. The party will feature days of fun, food, beer and wine, vendors, free live music, and more.
OTHER HIGHLIGHTED SHOWS AND EVENTS
- Museum, Town & Cemetery Tours – Enjoy a two-hour bus tour with a step-on guide featuring places of significance in Lucille Ball’s life, visit the resting places of Lucille Ball and family members on a horse-drawn trolley through Lakeview Cemetery, and an opportunity to tour the Lucille Ball Desi Arnaz Museum & Desilu Studios dual attraction with it’s new audio guide tour. Tours will be available throughout the week.
- Dinner Theater with the Ricardos & Mertzs – Brunch, lunch and dinner shows featuring the four friends from I Love Lucy, including professional impersonators from Universal Studios Florida, and “Fred Mertz” from the LA sensation Lucy LIVE on Stage.
- Author Book Signings - Attending this year’s festival for book signings will be Elisabeth Edwards, author of “I Love Lucy: A Celebration of All Things Lucy: Inside the World of Television’s First Great Sitcom” and numerous otherLucy titles, James Sheridan, author of “Lucille Ball: Q&A”, and Gregg Oppenheimer, co-author of his father’s memoir, “Laughs, Luck…and Lucy: How I Came to Create the Most Popular Sitcom of All Time”.
- Lucy Under the Stars: Outdoor film screenings at Winter Garden Terrace at 9pm on August 3rd and 4th.
- Celoron Amusement Park through Lucy’s Eyes – Visit the Lucille Ball Memorial Park on Sunday, August 5th for a presentation on Lucille Balls’ time at the Celeron Amusement Park, once the “Coney Island” of the region.
- Boat Cruise on Chautauqua Lake – Enjoy a refreshing two-hour cruise aboard the rain-or-shine-safe Summer Wind, departing from Lucille Ball Memorial Celoron Park and featuring a NEWLY discovered audio interview with Lucille Ball courtesy of Jim Roselli on Sunday, August 5th.
- Members-Only Archive Event – Have your picture taken with never-before-seen items from our archive collection of memorabilia from the estates of Lucille Ball and Desi Arnaz on Friday, August 3rd.
- Lucy’s Tea Party at the historic Athenaeum Hotel in Chautauqua Institution – On Sunday, August 5th, join friends for a traditional afternoon tea, with a Lucy twist, served overlooking Chautauqua Lake from a historic structure built in 1881.
- For a complete, detailed schedule of events, visit www.LucyComedyFest.com
ABOUT THE LUCILLE BALL COMEDY FESTIVAL
The Lucille Ball Comedy Festival, or “Lucy Fest,” embodies Ball’s vision for her hometown legacy: a celebration of the comedic arts held annually on the weekend closest to her birth date, August 6th. This year’s festival runs August 1st-5th and features performances by Paula Poundstone, Lucie Arnaz, Tammy Pescatelli, Tony Deyo, Story Pirates, Billy Gardell from CBS’s Mike & Molly, and much, much more! This year’s festival is brought to you in part by YNN, the TV media sponsor of Lucy Fest 2012. Visit www.LucyComedyFest.com for more information and tickets.
The Lucille Ball Comedy Festival is the first pillar in a four-pillar Legacy of Laughter vision for the organization, including a comedic arts education program, comedy film festival and the establishment of the first national comedy museum and hall of fame.
The mission of the Lucy Desi Center for Comedy, a 501(c)(3) non-profit, 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.
LUCY FEST 2011
Lucy Fest 2011 commemorated Lucille Ball’s 100th birthday, set an attendance high at 13,000 attendees, featured more than ten comedians from NYC, Boston, Atlanta, San Francisco and Los Angeles performing over five days, and made international news with the setting of a Guinness World Record for “Most People Dressed as Lucy Ricardo” with 916.