Comedy Festival Recap

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The National Comedy Center presented the 30th Annual Lucille Ball Comedy Festival August 3-7, 2022, in honor of Lucille Ball’s vision of her hometown, to be a destination to celebrate comedy. The festival line-up was star-studded with talents like Margaret Cho, Jeff Foxworthy, Legends of SNL Rob Schneider, David Spade, and Kevin Nealon, and hilarious up-and-coming comedians in the industry, and they did not deprive anyone of laughter. And for the Lucy fans, worry not, the festival encapsulated her humor and honored her legacy through various Lucy-inspired events- a perfect way to celebrate her 111th birthday.

The five-day comedy celebration kicked off with a Stand-Up Showcase which featured comedians from around the nation whose credits include Last Comic Standing, Conan, Fallon, Colbert, and more. Each comedian brought a different variation of comedy to the stage and left the audience in fits of laughter! For those that enjoyed the Showcase and were looking for something a little bluer, the festival provided Comedy Late Night on Thursday, Friday, and Saturday night.

The first headliner of the festival was the talented Margaret Cho. The trailblazing comedian, actress, musician, and activist sent ripples of laughter through the audience and left them with a night they wouldn’t soon forget. Cho was able to take the audience on a journey with her as she related her real-life woes and triumphs into her comedy and made people feel okay about finding ways to laugh through their struggles.

Jeff Foxworthy took the Northwest Arena stage twice on Friday night and brought the audience together, whether they identified as liking blue-collar comedy or not. Foxworthy put on a relatable and funny set telling jokes and stories of his personal life, getting through the pandemic, and even unforgettable stories of his time on tour with Larry the Cable Guy!

To round-out the headliners for the festival, the Legends of SNL Kevin Nealon, Rob Schneider, and David Spade were reunited on stage. Each comedian had a different take on connecting with the audience with their witty one-liners and brought a sense of humor and nostalgia to the audience.

The festival presented a variety of different Lucy-inspired events, and it was incredible to see the different generations enjoying them and recalling the sense of joy that Ball and I Love Lucy has brought to their lives. Guests traveled from coast to coast to celebrate the historic festival and the woman who inspired it. The festival included viewings of classic I Love Lucy episodes, themed meals, a Lucille Ball Trivia Contest, river cruises exploring Lucy’s hometown, Lucy and Ethel impersonators and more! It was remarkable to see people wearing their best Lucy attire, ready to celebrate such a beloved character and woman during the Lucille Ball Comedy Festival and her 111th birthday.

The National Comedy Center is thrilled with how the festival turned out and we are excited to begin planning for next year’s festival! We thank everyone involved who made the festival happen, we truly could not do it without you.