Leno Performs in Jamestown as National Comedy Center Phase One Breaks Ground


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Lucy Desi Museum & Center for Comedy

The 2014 Lucille Ball Comedy Festival continued its upward trend of annually attracting more visitors to Jamestown, NY, highlighted by a sold-out performance by Jay Leno. The 2014 festival featured 25 performers including headline comedians Tom Cotter and Caroline Rhea, as well as three nights of late night comedy with rising talent from across the country.
“The festival saw 13,000 attendees including visitors from 37 States and Canada,” said Journey Gunderson, National Comedy Center Inc. executive director. “Gross sales were up 45.2 percent and Jamestown presented the best in both legendary and rising talent, from Jay Leno to Joe Machi.”
Over 50 additional events took place over the five-day festival that celebrates Ball’s vision for Jamestown as a community that celebrates the comedic arts.
The continued growth of the festival and comedy in Jamestown was a key topic during a Comedy Center Park groundbreaking ceremony outside the Jamestown Gateway Train Station – The first phase in the building of the complex that will be the National Comedy Center. Featured officials at the ceremony, including Emmy-award winning Lucie Arnaz, NYS Senator Cathy Young and a representative on behalf of Governor Andrew Cuomo, offered their support and indicated how development of the park signals the next phase of growing comedy in Jamestown and celebrating the comedic arts. Funding is being provided by public and private donations, including ticket sales during the Lucille Ball Comedy Festival and year-round at the Lucy Desi Museum & Center for Comedy.
Comedy Center Park will be located along Jamestown’s Chadakoin River and is expected to be completed by the end of October.
Those appearing at the 2014 Lucille Ball Comedy Festival included:
Jay Leno, world-renowned for two decades of ratings domination as host of The Tonight Show.
Lucie Arnaz returned to the Lucille Ball Comedy Festival as the featured musical guest during Jay Leno’s performance on August 9th.
Tom Cotter, who recently became the first comedian to reach the finals of NBC’s America’s Got Talent and Comedian Kerri Louise, who has appeared on Last Comic Standing and The Oprah Winfrey Show, joined her husband as the opening act during the headline show.
A Stand-Up Showcase headlined by Caroline Rhea and featuring Moody McCarthy, Carmen Lynch and Andrew Norelli. Comedians’ TV credits include Leno, Letterman, Ferguson, Conan and more. In celebration of the healing powers of laughter, this performance was free for all U.S. military past & present for their service to our country.
Three nights of Late-Night Comedy took place and a live comedy album was recorded by San Francisco-based Rooftop Comedy for a second consecutive year. Featured comedians performing at night and during free comedy happy hours include Sean Donnelly, Chet Wild, Rick Matthews, Jarwan Nelson, Emma Willmann, Mike Brody, Pete Lee, Mike Cody, and Tony Deyo. Last year’s comedy album (recorded in 2013), Live From Jamestown: Late Night @ Lucy Comedy Fest, is available at www.shop.lucy-desi.com and anywhere comedy content is sold.
A FREE Lucy Fashion Show with Emmy-Award winning costume designer Ret Turner, sponsored by the Dykeman Young Gallery & Vintage Emporium, featured 10 new Lucy-inspired dresses and the launch of a brand new Vintage Boutique fashion line available online at www.shop.lucy-desi.com.
Additional events taking place during the five-day festival brought thousands to Jamestown to enjoy Lucy and Desi inspired events as well as some of the best in contemporary comedy.
The Lucille Ball Comedy Festival is the first in a four-pillar 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. Past festivals have featured Ray Romano, Ellen DeGeneres, Lewis Black, Bill Engvall, Kathleen Madigan, Billy Gardell, Joan Rivers, Paula Poundstone, George Wallace and more.
The National Comedy Center in Jamestown is planned 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. Projected to open in 2016, the national attraction is being designed by Jack Rouse Associates and Manhattan-based Local Projects, who just completed the 9/11 Memorial Museum that opened on May 14, 2014.
For more information on the Lucille Ball Comedy Festival 2014 visit http://www.lucycomedyfest.com . For more information on the Lucy Desi Museum & Center for Comedy or the National Comedy Center, Inc., visit http://www.lucy-desi.com.