WRFA-LP Jamestown has partnered with the Lucy-Desi Center for Comedy on an oral history project that aims to preserve the "Laughter In Our Lives." During this year's annual Lucille Ball Comedy Festival, scheduled for today through Sunday, Jason Sample, WRFA radio personality and organizer of the project, will be at the Jamestown Gateway Train Station to listen to and record funny stories told by area residents and visitors.
Sample will be available at the Jamestown Gateway Train Station from 2-5 p.m. on Friday and Saturday from 1-5 p.m. But, those interested in signing up for a specific time slot can head to the comedy festival information desk inside the train station after noon today.
According to Sample, who is also the public affairs director at WRFA-LP Jamestown, the project is geared toward those who have a funny real-life event or story that they would like to share with others.
"From what I understand, the concept of oral history is getting people to talk about an experience that has happened in their lives," said Sample. "Often times you hear about oral history as it pertains to local or regional history, but this is more of an oral history for the family that we're going to help them preserve. We want to create something that future generations can look back upon."
The project began when Journey Gunderson, executive director for the Lucy-Desi Center for Comedy, approached Sample after being inspired by NPR's StoryCorps project.
"A lot of the concepts in StoryCorps deal with serious and sentimental issues, which are all very interesting stories, but they are not always humorous or funny," said Sample "So, she said she thought it would be great to look for the funny angle in it. We're really trying to find funny, humorous things that have happened to everyday people. It ties in well with the Lucille Ball Comedy Festival because one of the pillars of the Lucy-Desi Center for Comedy is preserving the legacy of laughter."
Participants may tell their stories as an individual in a monologue-style fashion, or as a group of up to three. All of the stories will be recorded and shared publicly at a later date via WRFA Radio, 107.9 FM, www.wrfalp.com. According to Sample, he will ask participants of all ages to share a real-life funny moment, incident or story.
"We're not looking for somebody to come in and do their stand-up comedy." said Sample. "We want this to be one of those stories that you know well, have told before but also has to be genuine and honest. We want stories from everyday people who don't typically get the opportunity to share their stories with the general public. I think we've all had something humorous happen in our lives that we wish we could tell everybody about, and this is an opportunity to do so."
According to Dennis Drew, WRFA general manager, founding member and current keys player of 10,000 Maniacs, he is really glad that Journey approached Jason and him to collaborate on the project.
"That's what we should be doing in town - collaborating," said Drew. "We've done it with the Jackson Center and the (Jamestown Savings Bank) Arena, so now we're doing something with the Lucy Center. This is more than just news; we're really collaborating on a new project. It's a great opportunity for us to expand our capabilities, our programming and we'd even like to bring in some independent producers. It's a great way to involve the community, the Lucy Center and send us down a path toward being more content providers."
Drew and Sample hope to utilize the project as a springboard for what will be an annual project, with all stories documented, archived and shared at the Lucy Desi Museum and WRFA. Each individual story will also be available at a later date on SoundCloud.com. For more information, search for "The Laughter In Our Lives" on Facebook.