This week, the National Comedy Center in Jamestown, New York will celebrate its grand opening with a series of special panels and events scheduled from Wednesday, August 1st through Saturday, August 4th. The opening will coincide with the annual Lucille Ball Comedy Festival.
Headliners for the event include comedians Amy Schumer and Lily Tomlin, original Saturday Night Live cast members Dan Aykroyd and Laraine Newman and writer Alan Zweibel, actress Fran Drescher and Lucie Arnaz, the daughter of Ball and Desi Arnaz. The long weekend’s worth of festivities will feature more than 50 separate events and 40 distinguished artists, including rising stand-up comedians, veteran comedy actors and more.
In years past, festival participants have included Jerry Seinfeld, Jay Leno, Ray Romano, Ellen DeGeneres, Bob Newhart, Jim Gaffigan, Lewis Black, Trevor Noah, W. Kamau Bell, Brian Regan, Kevin James, Joan and Melissa Rivers, Robert Klein, David Steinberg, Martin Short, Joy Behar and the Smothers Brothers, as well as the families of Lenny Bruce, Richard Pryor, Harold Ramis and George Carlin.
In a statement, the National Comedy Center’s executive director, Journey Gunderson explained, “There has never been a national cultural institution that provides comedy the opportunity for appreciation often afforded other art forms. Culture is preserved by meaningful storytelling. What these artists have done is important, and it should be both celebrated and contextualized, drawing connections that make the past relevant to the present. Lucille Ball understood the power of comedy, and had the vision for her hometown to become a destination for its celebration in a way that would educate, foster and inspire. That’s what we’ve set out to do here.”
Tickets and information for panels and performances are available here.