It’s almost time for the 26th annual Lucille Ball Comedy Festival in Jamestown, New York. Each year, the small town and home of the late Lucille Ball, plays host to a slate of hilarious comedians, writers and panel discussions in an effort to pay homage to Ball and her love of all things comedy. The festival is currently partnered with Jamestown’s upcoming National Comedy Center, and the two entities (along with the Chautauqua Institution) are looking to up the ante of their comedy offerings for this year’s event.
This year’s festival has a robust lineup of comics, with a little something for everyone. Attendees will be able to see performers like Lisa Lampanelli, Kevin James, Robert Klein, Matteo Lane, Emma Willmann, Rondell Sheridan and many more take to the stage across three days, from August 3rd — 5th. In addition to the regular festival performers, however, the National Comedy Center plans to offer a full week’s worth of performances and panels that they’re calling Comedy and the Human Condition. During the week-long lecture series, taking place from July 31st — August 6th, comedians and commentators like W. Kamau Bell, Kelly Carlin, Lewis Black, Kitty Bruce and David Steinberg will sit down in the Chautauqua Institution’s 4,000 seat amphitheater to discuss the world of comedy. That conversation will cover topics such as free speech and when a joke has gone “too far”, whether there’s such a thing as “universally funny,” and the role of comedy and political satire in today’s world.
While the lecture series promises to be both interesting and entertaining, one of the most exciting bits of news to come out of this announcement is that the National Comedy Center, whose $50 million museum and grounds is still under construction (with a summer 2018 opening goal), is planning to open one of its highly-anticipated exhibits to festival/discussion series attendees for one week only. That exhibit is the George Carlin Archives, a collection of personal items that belonged to the legendary comic, such as script notes, scribbled jokes, and even the title to his first car. Carlin’s daughter, Kelly Carlin, made headlines last year when she donated the entirety of her father’s archives to the NCC so that they could be seen by the world, and now the general public will get their first chance at a glimpse of the intimate collection.
For a full list of performers, dates, and other festival offerings, check out the Lucille Ball Comedy Festival’s website.