Lucille Ball Comedy Festival to feature Jay Leno

JAMESTOWN – What better way to honor Lucille Ball’s legacy than by hosting an annual celebration that features a top-notch comedian such as Jay Leno, and by developing the gateway to her hometown.

More than 100 area residents gathered at the renewed Gateway Train Station on Wednesday to witness the unveiling of the lineup for Western New York’s largest annual comedy festival.

In addition to announcing Leno’s Aug. 9 performance at the Jamestown Savings Bank Arena and Tom Cotter’s Aug. 8, appearance at The Reg Lenna Center for the Arts, the event also featured a nearly complete listing of the many reasons why the 2014 Lucille Ball Comedy festival will be a can’t-miss event.

Adults who venture into Jamestown during the festival will be presented with a variety of entertaining opportunities such as: Lucie Arnaz’s return to the festival as a musical guest during Leno’s performance, a “Comics to Watch” showcase hosted by Caroline Rhea at the Reg Lenna Center for the Arts, three nights of “Comedy Late Night” in the Tropicana Room, a vintage ball, as well as an appearance by Lucille Ball’s Emmy award-winning costume designer, Ret Turner.

The festival will also provide families with much to do too, including: an attempt at breaking the grape-stomping world record, a Kids Comedy Show featuring Nels Ross, and Universal Studios renowned “I Love Lucy” impersonators at the Willow Bay Theater. Bus tours, cemetery tours, Chautauqua Lake cruises, comedy workshops at Infinity Visual and Performing Arts, art classes with outdoor mural artist Gary Peters, conga workshops, movie showings and much more will also take place during the five-day festival.

The 2014 Lucille Ball Festival Comedy Festival is scheduled for Aug. 6-10 in downtown Jamestown. Tickets to the festival enter presale mode at noon on Friday, which means they are only available to sponsors, supporters and museum members. Tickets will be made available to the general public at noon on Friday, April 18. For more information, call 484-0800 or visit www.lucycomedyfest.com.

One of the major facets of hosting an annual comedy festival in Jamestown is to honor Lucille Ball and Desi Arnaz as the “First Couple of Comedy,” as well as their mission of enriching the world through the healing power of love and laughter.

After serving for two decades as the host of NBC’s “The Tonight Show,” Leno has become regarded by his peers as one of the hardest working men in show business. He’s also a stand-up comedian, best-selling children’s book author, car collector, mechanic and philanthropist. Leno will perform at the Jamestown Savings Bank Arena, 319 W. Third St. in Jamestown, on Saturday, Aug. 9. at 8 p.m. Tickets start at $47.50.

Arnaz, who performed as a musical guest during the 2012 “Comics to Watch” showcase, will return to this year’s festival as a featured guest during Leno’s performance. Arnaz’s career is diversified, and includes more than 45 years in show business. She is a successful producer, singer, actor and director.

Tom Cotter, the first comedian to ever reach the finals of NBC’s “America’s Got Talent,” will serve as the second headliner of the festival. In addition to his television appearances, Cotter is also winner of the annual Seattle International Comedy Competition, grand-prize winner of the Boston Comedy Festival and was voted “Best Stand-Up” at the Las Vegas Comedy Festival. Cotter will appear at 8 p.m. on Aug. 8, at the Reg Lenna Center for the Arts, 116 E. Third St. in Jamestown.

Caroline Rhea, a star of ABC’s “Sabrina, the Teenage Witch” and a former host of NBC’s “The Biggest Loser” will serve as host and performer for the “Comics to Watch” showcase. The event aims to feature a variety of comedians who are on the rise to the top. Tickets to the showcase are $30, and the event will be held at the Reg Lenna Center for the Arts.

Ret Turner, the winner of five Emmy awards and one of Lucille Ball’s favorite costume designers, will visit Jamestown during the festival to share his stories about Ball, as well as participate in exhibit unveilings at the Lucy Desi Museum.

Turner will host a Tropicana Room lunch at noon on Aug. 7. Tickets are $35.

Rooftop Comedy’s “Comedy Late Night” is set to feature a variety of comedians who will provide adult-only material. A live album recording of this year’s events will be co-produced by Rooftop Comedy.

The organization also co-produced an album based on 2013’s festival, which will become available on May 6.

For more information about “Live From Jamestown: The 2013 Lucille Ball Comedy Festival,” visit www.soundcloud.com/lucilleballcomedyfestival.

The three late nights of comedy are set for 10:30 p.m. on Aug. 7, Aug. 8, and Aug. 9.

The events will be held at the Tropicana Room, which is located at the Lucille Ball Desi Arnaz Center for Comedy, 2 W. Third St. in Jamestown. Tickets are $15 a night.