Partnering with San Francisco-based company Rooftop Comedy, the Lucille Ball-Desi Arnaz Center is presenting a festival of national comedic talent in honor of Ball's 100th birthday.
Rooftop Comedy is the world's largest producer of interactive comedy programming, working with more than 4,500 comics nationwide. The company's experience with event production includes large-scale events such as the Aspen Rooftop Comedy Festival, the National College Comedy Competition presented by TBS, and CMT's ''Next Big Comic.''
And now, it is partnering with the Lucille Ball Festival of Comedy, scheduled for Aug. 3-7 in Jamestown.
Numerous comedians, both well-known and up-and-coming, will be in Jamestown for the Lucille Ball Festival of Comedy, Aug. 3-7.
''We know that Lucy and Desi's intentions were for their legacy to live on in the form of living, breathing comedy that would be as progressive and contemporary as they were,'' said Journey Gunderson, executive director of the center. In fact, the concept of a comedy festival in her legacy was discussed with Ball shortly before her death in 1989 and was the idea that most resonated with her.
Will Rogers, CEO of Rooftop Comedy, said that the company is excited to be working in partnership with the Lucy celebration.
''It's a great feeling to use our expertise in stand-up to gather people together in memory of one of comedy's most memorable figureheads,'' he said. ''We hope to work with the Lucy-Desi Center in a long partnership of bringing groundbreaking comedy to Jamestown.''
The festival's main headliner will be Joan Rivers, who will appear on Thursday, Aug. 4, at 8 p.m. at the Reg Lenna Civic Center. The only guest host ever to work on ''The Tonight Show with Johnny Carson,'' Rivers also hosted her own late-night show on FOX, won an Emmy for her work on daytime television and has 50 years of stand-up experience. She co-starred with Ball in an episode of ''Here's Lucy,'' during which the two reportedly had great respect and affinity for one another.
Paula Poundstone will join the festival lineup as a headliner on Saturday, Aug. 6, at 8 p.m. at the Reg Lenna. Poundstone has two HBO stand-up specials under her belt along with a self-titled show on ABC and numerous appearances on ''Late Night with David Letterman'' and ''Sesame Street.'' In addition to her chops in stand-up, Poundstone is an accomplished author and a panelist for National Public Radio.
In addition to the accomplished veterans, the festival will feature some of the fastest-rising stars in comedy today. Visitors can enjoy fresh talent at the Rooftop Comedy Showcase on Friday, Aug. 5, at 8 p.m. in the Reg Lenna, including performances from Nate Bargatze, Costaki Economopoulos, Christina Pazsitzky and Dave Thomason. Rooftop ran an open call for submissions and received interest from hundreds of comics from across the country before making its selections.
Bargatze hails from Old Hickory, Tenn., and now resides in New York City. He has his own Comedy Central special, has appeared twice on ''Late Night with Conan O'Brien'' and took the top prize in both the New York Comedy Festival and the Boston Comedy Festival in 2010.
''I am really excited to be a part of the celebration of Lucy's 100th birthday,'' Bargatze said. ''I grew up watching re-runs of 'I Love Lucy,' and if I can manage to be only half as funny as Lucille Ball was, well, then I'll have a great career.''
Pazsitzky, from Los Angeles, has been a regular guest on ''Chelsea Lately'' on E! and was a finalist on NBC's ''Last Comic Standing.'' She has entertained troops in the Middle East, Africa and South Korea.
Economopoulos, a favored fixture from the New York City comedy scene, is a talented performer and writer whose jokes have appeared on ''The Tonight Show'' and ''The Late Late Show'' as well as on programs for BET and MTV. He also is a regular guest on the syndicated radio show ''The Bob and Tom Show.''
The festival will also feature comedy veteran Tammy Pescatelli, a finalist from season two of ''Last Comic Standing,'' who now stars on WE tv's ''A Stand Up Mother'' - a show chronicling her attempts to balance her family and her career. Coincidentally, the program was pitched as a modern-day ''I Love Lucy'' ... only Tammy is Desi, trying to keep her husband, Luca, out of the act. In Jamestown, Pescatelli will perform Saturday, Aug. 6, at 10:30 p.m. in the Tropicana Room at the Lucy-Desi Center.
Other performers throughout the festival will include comedians Lamont Price from Boston, Jamie Ward from Atlanta and Justin Schlegel from Los Angeles.
The fun will also include free comedy ''happy hours'' in Tracy Plaza and late-night comedy showcases in the Tropicana Room. For a full schedule of events and ticket information, visit the festival website at www.lucycomedyfest.com.
Other area events:
What: Nickel City Reptiles and Exotics
When: 5 p.m. and
7 p.m. today
Where: Smith Wilkes stage, Chautauqua Institution
As part of the Family Entertainment Series, this program offers a blend of quality education and comedy by Jeff Musial. For more info, call 357-3209 or visit www.ciweb.org.
* 17.1 miles from downtown Jamestown.
What: Rib Cook-Off and Music Festival
When: 11 a.m. to 11 p.m. Wednesday through Saturday
Where: Betts Park, Ludlow Street, Warren
This event will include music by regional and local bands throughout the week as well as an amateur rib cooker contest, rides for children and craft vendors. For more info, visit www.warrenribfest.com.
* 21.2 miles from downtown Jamestown.
What: World Series of Cars
When: 8 a.m. to
5 p.m. Sunday
Where: Bergman Park, 487 Baker St., Jamestown
Cost: $3, adults; free, children 12 and under
A rain-or-shine event, this regional car show is expected to include up to 400 vehicles. This daylong show will feature many displays, an auto flea market and food concessions.
* 1.7 miles from downtown Jamestown.