JAMESTOWN – This year’s Lucille Ball Comedy Festival was estimated to be the biggest in the event’s 28-year history drawing in people from 41 states and headlining twice the number of shows, according to officials with the National Comedy Center.
Throughout the festival, rising stand-up comedians from across the nation, along with this year’s two headlining acts, Sebastian Maniscalco and John Mulaney, drew thousands to Downtown Jamestown.
Visitors also experienced the diverse display of comedic history at the National Comedy Center, with exhibits ranging from early vaudeville to the latest viral memes.
“I didn’t know what to expect, I just didn’t expect the National Comedy Center to be this grand, this detailed, and in-depth and interactive,” said Sebastian Maniscalco, one of the headline acts. “The National Comedy Center is definitely inspiring, even for a comedian. The first thing when I walked in, I thought of my kids. It would be cool to bring them here to give them a sense of what comedy is all about. It’s just fun and it’s a cool way to learn. And it’s definitely worth coming to.”
Maniscalco, along with headliner John Mulaney, toured the center.
“I like that it takes comedy very seriously,” stated John Mulaney. “This is really about the actual craft of comedy, and that’s what is amazing about it.”
The National Comedy Center once again partnered with the Chautauqua Institution in nearby for a comedy-themed week, highlighting comedy dialogues in its 4,000-seat amphitheater.
A ribbon-cutting with the Smothers Brothers was also held, unveiling a new display featuring archival material they donated to the National Comedy Center, including their iconic red suit jackets, Tom’s guitar and Dick’s bass, scripts and creative papers, a letter from President Lyndon Johnson which was read by the Smothers Brothers on their TV show, as well as legal documents from their landmark 1970s litigation against CBS in defense of their First Amendment rights.