JAMESTOWN, NY – August 10, 2016 – National Comedy Center, Inc., the cultural institution developing the first national visitor experience dedicated entirely to the celebration of comedy, drew attendance from 41 states to Jamestown for its 2016 Lucille Ball Comedy Festival.
The weekend included performances by “Daily Show” host Trevor Noah, the “king of the rant” Lewis Black, and one of this country’s premiere comedians, Brian Regan, in addition to National Comedy Center dialogues with comedy writer-director Peter Farrelly, and Kitty Bruce, Rain Pryor and Kelly Carlin, daughters of comedy legends Lenny Bruce, Richard Pryor and George Carlin.
“The crowd was absolutely phenomenal,” said Noah. “Congratulations on an amazing comedy festival, and I hope to come back when the Comedy Center is open. I’m really excited to see that, and explore the world of comedy.”
“It’s important that a National Comedy Center exists so a ten-year old kid with an affection for comedy has a place to go,” said Lewis Black.
While comedians visited Ball’s hometown of Jamestown, NY, many of them, including Black, went on a private hard-hat tour of the future site of the National Comedy Center currently under construction, led by members of the design teams from Local Projects and Jack Rouse Associates.
“Comedy is one of the most overlooked of all the arts–it’s usually the dramatic stuff that gets all the attention & recognition,” said Peter Farrelly. “So to have a place that will celebrate comedy and the comics of the past is a great thing.”
“I’m sure rock and roll bands that have been around for years, it must make them feel good when somebody says ‘we want to put you in the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. ‘ ‘Maybe we did some good stuff for a while.’ Maybe it would be nice for that, for comedians to feel like ‘hey, your body of work is respected’,” said Brian Regan.
The festival featured more than 50 events at a dozen venues throughout Jamestown, with highlights including the critically-acclaimed Story Pirates kids-comedy troupe, an appearance by the “Mutt Cutts Van” from the film Dumb and Dumber, four stand-up showcases and a special exhibition in honor of the 65th anniversary of I Love Lucy.
“If there’s any question whether people will come to Jamestown for the National Comedy Center, the fact that we had people from nearly all 50 states over just four days speaks volumes. Jamestown is already a destination for great comedy,” said National Comedy Center Executive Director Journey Gunderson.
The National Comedy Center, Inc. embodies Lucille Ball’s original vision for her hometown of Jamestown to become a destination for the celebration all of the comedic arts, not just a celebration of her own legacy. The organization also operates the Lucille Ball Desi Arnaz Museum, and for the last 25 years has produced the Lucille Ball Comedy Festival with performers including Jerry Seinfeld, Jay Leno, Joan Rivers, Ray Romano, Ellen DeGeneres, Bob Newhart, Paula Poundstone, The Smothers Brothers and more than 100 other comedic artists.
The non-profit cultural institution recently announced the acquisition of the George Carlin archives for its forthcoming museum experience. The Center is a $50 million project funded by public-private partnership and to date has been awarded more than $3.5 million from New York State, Empire State Development and I Love NY™. Design of the immersive, interactive visitor experience has been provided by renowned creative firm Jack Rouse Associates and interactive specialist Local Projects, who was recently awarded a Cannes International Creativity award for its work on the National September 11 Memorial & Museum.