The concept of a comedy festival in Lucille Ball’s legacy was discussed with the honoree, herself, shortly before her death in 1989. Above all other ideas, the festival concept resonated with her as a way to not just preserve her legacy, but showcase emerging talent. This year The Lucille Ball-Desi Arnaz Center and Rooftop Comedy will realize that idea by presenting the Lucille Ball Festival of Comedy from August 3-7th in Lucy’s hometown, Jamestown, NY. In addition to 100th birthday celebrations and I Love Lucy tributes, the festival will present a lineup of stand-up legends, including headliners Joan Rivers and Paula Poundstone, as well as rising talent like Tammy Pescatelli and Christina Pazsitzky. Oh, and we invited some guys, too—like Nate Bargatze, Costaki Economopoulos, Andrew Norelli and Lamont Price.
“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 Executive Director Journey Gunderson.
Living, breathing, and kicking, the Festival presents comedic icon, Joan Rivers, on Thursday, August 4th at 8pm at the Reg Lenna Civic Center. Rivers was the only guest host to ever appear on The Tonight Show Starring Johnny Carson, a host of her own late night show on FOX, winner of an Emmy for her work on daytime television and has 50 years of stand-up experience. Rivers actually co-starred with Lucille Ball in an episode of Here’s Lucy during which the two reportedly had great respect and affinity for one another.
Paula Poundstone, the first woman to ever earn a Cable ACE award for stand-up, joins the Festival lineup as the headlining act on Saturday, August 6th at 8pm at the Reg Lenna Civic Center. 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 on the popular program Wait, Wait… Don’t Tell Me. Audiences will enjoy Poundstone’s hilarious take on any subject, from politics to housecats.
The Rooftop Comedy Showcase on Friday, August 5th at 8pm at the Reg Lenna Civic Center will feature Los Angeles comedienne Christina Pazsitzky. Pazsitzky demonstrates her sharp wit not only through performance but writing as well and these talents have helped her gain quick momentum in the comedy world. Pazsitzky has been a writer and regular guest on the E! show Chelsea Lately and was a finalist on Season 6 and 7 of NBC’s Last Comic Standing. While Pazsitzky does perform around the country she has also gone global to entertain the troops in the Middle East, Africa, and South Korea. She represents an important part of this festival and its goals: to showcase not only what’s hot in comedy but also what’s coming.
Pazsitzky recognizes the gravity of being selected to perform in Lucy’s honor and says of the icon, “Lucy is the OG Gangster of comedy. I don’t think there is a more beloved female comedian in history. Lucy was daring. She played a housewife who wanted more and went out and got it. She ignored the limitations of her time. I think that’s what any great comedian does. She also had a thing for Latin guys, which I can relate to.”
The festival has also attracted comedy-veteran, Tammy Pescatelli, who resides nearby in Meadville, PA. Pescatelli was a finalist on Season 2 of NBC’s Last Comic Standing which secured her reputation as one of the funniest women in the comedy world. Tammy has appeared twice as a guest on The Tonight Show with Jay Leno and recently was featured in her own special for Comedy Central. Pescatelli’s newest endeavor is starring in WE TV’s A Stand Up Mother where she attempts to balance her family and her growing career with a lot of laughs. Coincidentally, the show was originally pitched as a modern day I Love Lucy, only Tammy is Desi, trying to keep her husband, Luca, out of the act.
Pescatelli looks forward to her involvement in the Festival which includes a performance on Saturday, August 6th at the legendary Tropicana Room. She says, “Like all of America, I love Lucy. The fun is going to be non-stop all weekend, so eat your Vitameatavegamin.”
Want to check out the Lucille Ball Festival of Comedy? Schedule info and all tickets are available at LucyComedyFest.com.
Posted: August 2nd, 2011 under Shows.