Jamestown, NY—August 12, 2020—The National Comedy Center, the nation’s official cultural institution dedicated to comedy—recently named the “Best New Museum” in the country by USA Today—will present its acclaimed Lucille Ball Comedy Festival virtually this year, featuring conversations with a diverse lineup of artists. The event starts Friday, Aug. 14 and streams over the next three weekends through Sunday, Aug. 30.
More than thirty artists from stand-up, theatre, television and film will be featured in all-new, candid, in-depth conversations about their work, careers, influences and the art of comedy, including Lolly Adefope, Lewis Black, Aidy Bryant, Kelly Carlin, Margaret Cho, Frank DeCaro, Anna Drezen, Ophira Eisenberg, Bill Engvall, Jimmy Fallon, Kate Flannery, Wayne Federman, Judy Gold, Gilbert Gottfried, Harrison Greenbaum, Tiffany Haddish, Sam Jay, Penn Jillette, Jay Leno, Howie Mandel, Charles McBee, Lin-Manuel Miranda, Flame Monroe, Paula Poundstone, Mark Russell, Dulce Sloan, Kenan Thompson, Roy Wood, Jr., Rutledge Wood, “Weird Al” Yankovic, Alan Zweibel, plus legendary creative team members from Mad magazine.
The virtual festival will also recognize founding National Comedy Center Advisory Board member Carl Reiner by featuring a long-form interview with the comedy legend from the National Comedy Center archives, with exclusive, never-before-seen footage.
All programs will be available free online via live stream at the National Comedy Center’s new online platform, National Comedy Center Anywhere, at ComedyCenter.org/Festival as well as via Facebook Live on the National Comedy Center’s Facebook page: Facebook.com/NationalComedyCenter. Following each live stream, these programs will remain available for free, on-demand viewing on the National Comedy Center Anywhere platform.
The non-profit National Comedy Center encourages donations to support the museum and the Center’s mission of presenting the vital story of comedy in America, preserving its heritage for future generations. Visit ComedyCenter.org/Donate.
Full Schedule and list of talent participating:
Friday August 14th
- 8pm ET – Jay Leno: Hosted by Stephen J. Morrison (Part 1)– Legendary comedian Jay Leno discusses his extensive career in stand-up, writing and late-night television in a conversation with Stephen J. Morrison, Executive Producer of Exhibit Media for the National Comedy Center.
- 9pm ET – Roy Wood Jr. – Hosted by Wayne Federman – Roy Wood Jr. speaks about his multifaceted comedy career, including his experiences as a correspondent on The Daily Show, in a conversation hosted by comedian Wayne Federman for the National Comedy Center.
- 10pm ET – Margaret Cho – Hosted by Judy Gold – Margaret Cho candidly discusses her craft and comedy’s vital role in issues of social justice and equality with comedian Judy Gold in this National Comedy Center Conversation.
Saturday, August 15th
- 8pm ET – Jay Leno: Hosted by Stephen J. Morrison (Part 2)
- 9pm ET – Sam Jay: Hosted by Harrison Greenbaum – Sam Jay, stand-up comedian and Emmy-nominated writer for “Saturday Night Live,” discusses her creative process and new Netflix special, “3 In The Morning,” with comedian Harrison Greenbaum in a National Comedy Center Conversation.
Sunday, August 16th:
8pm ET – Mad Magazine: Hosted by Harrison Greenbaum – Legendary creative team members from Mad Magazine, including John Ficarra (former Editor-in-Chief), Joe Raiola (former Senior editor) and Sam Viviano (former Art Director) join in a National Comedy Center conversation with comedian Harrison Greenbaum to talk about the impact of comics, comedy for print, and the transition to becoming a digital humor magazine.
Friday, August 21st
- 8pm ET – Bill Engvall: Hosted by Rutledge Wood – Comedian Bill Engvall discusses finding his unique comedic voice and the phenomenon of the Blue Collar Comedy Tour in a National Comedy Center Conversation hosted by Floor is Lava’sRutledge Wood.
- 9pm ET – Howie Mandel: Hosted by Harrison Greenbaum –Comedian, host and producer Howie Mandel discusses his vast career and his “say yes” philosophy with comedian Harrison Greenbaum in an exclusive National Comedy Center Conversation.
- 10pm ET – Dulcé Sloan: Hosted by Charles McBee – Join stand-up comedian Dulcé Sloan as she discusses her career and the importance of Black artistry in a National Comedy Center conversation with her former comedy collaborator, Charles McBee.
Saturday August 22nd
- 8pm ET – Tiffany Haddish: Hosted by Flame Monroe – Actress, comedian, author, Emmy Award-winner, and two-time 2020 Emmy-nominee Tiffany Haddish discusses her work and process with comedian Flame Monroe on the Emmy-nominated Netflix variety special Tiffany Haddish Presents; They Ready, “Flame Monroe” as well as her personal nomination for Outstanding Variety Special for Netflix special Tiffany Haddish: Black Mitzvah.
- 9pm ET – Kenan Thompson: Hosted by Stephen J. Morrison – SNL’s Kenan Thompson, the longest-tenured cast member in SNL history and 2020 Emmy-nominee discusses comedy with Stephen J. Morrison, Executive Producer of Exhibit Media for the National Comedy Center.
- 10pm ET – Judy Gold: Hosted by Frank DeCaro – Judy Gold discusses her craft and the importance of comedy during these trying times with comedian and author Frank DeCaro in a conversation for the National Comedy Center.
Sunday, August 23rd
- 8pm ET – Alan Zweibel: Hosted by Kelly Carlin – Original SNL writer Alan Zweibel discussed his new memoir, Laugh Lines: My Life Helping Funny People Be Funnier, and his nearly five decades as an award-winning comedy writer with writer/producer/actress/radio host Kelly Carlin, the daughter of George Carlin.
Friday, August 28th
- 8pm ET – Mark Russell: Hosted by Lewis Black -Legendary political satirist and comedian Mark Russell takes on current events for the National Comedy Center with a performance of new musical parodies, plus a discussion of his career and legacy.
- 9pm ET – Aidy Bryant & Lolly Adefope: Hosted by Anna Drezen – Actress, comedian and SNL cast member Aidy Bryant and her “Shrill” co-star Lolly Adefope in conversation with comedian, actor and SNL writer Anna Drezen.
- 10pm ET – Gilbert Gottfried with special guest Penn Jillette: Hosted by Harrison Greenbaum – Voice actor and stand-up comedian Gilbert Gottfried sits down virtually with comedian Harrison Greenbaum to talk about his unique voice, crude humor, and the many aspects that go into telling a joke in this National Comedy Center Conversation. Special guest Penn Jillette joins the conversation.
Saturday, August 29th
- 8pm ET – “Weird Al” Yankovic: Hosted by Jimmy Fallon and Lin-Manuel Miranda – Singer/songwriter/producer “Weird Al” in conversation about his work, creative process and influences with The Tonight Show host and comedian Jimmy Fallon and composer/lyricist/producer/playwright/actor, Hamilton creator Lin-Manuel Miranda.
- 9pm ET – Kate Flannery: Hosted by Ophira Eisenberg – Comedic actress Kate Flannery, best known for her work on The Office, reflects on her acting career and the 15th anniversary of the popular TV series in a National Comedy Center Conversation with comedian and NPR host Ophira Eisenberg.
Sunday, August 30th
- 8pm ET – Carl Reiner Interview from the Archives: Hosted by Paula Poundstone and Stephen J. Morrison – An interview with comedy legend and founding National Comedy Center Advisory Board Member Carl Reiner from the Comedy Center Archives, featuring never-before-seen interview footage, plus a discussion about Carl Reiner’s genius with comedian Paula Poundstone and producer Stephen J. Morrison.
“The mission of the National Comedy Center is to provide education on the comedic arts in the form of commentary and contextualization of its bodies of work, telling the vital story of comedy in America across all eras and genres of the art form,” stated National Comedy Center executive director Journey Gunderson. “As a non-profit cultural institution, the museum celebrates comedy’s great minds and unique voices, while providing an examination of the time-honed creative processes that have elevated comedy to an art. I can’t think of a better way to tell the story of comedy than via these artists’ voices, at a time when we all need laughter more than ever.”
About the National Comedy Center
The National Comedy Center is the United States’ official cultural institution dedicated to presenting and preserving the vital story of comedy. Based on comedy legend Lucille Ball’s vision for her hometown of Jamestown, NY to become a destination for the celebration of comedy, the Center’s exclusive collections, world-class exhibits, and cutting-edge technology showcase the time-honed creative processes that have elevated comedy to an art form. Visitors are educated, inspired, and entertained by more than 50 interactive exhibits within the 37,000-square-foot attraction.
USA Today named the Comedy Center the “Best New Museum in the Country,” TIME magazine designated it one of the “World’s Greatest Places” and People magazine named it one of “100 Reasons to Love America. Visitors from all 50 states and nine countries have given the Center a rare 5/5 rating on TripAdvisor, ranking it among the highest-rated destinations in the attractions and tourism industry.
The National Comedy Center has been embraced by the entertainment industry, with props, costumes and archival material provided by dozens of artists and estates including: George Carlin, Lenny Bruce, Carl Reiner, Carol Burnett, Joan Rivers, Jerry Seinfeld, Lily Tomlin, Rodney Dangerfield, Andy Kaufman, Weird Al Yankovic, Harold Ramis, The Smothers Brothers, Dan Aykroyd, George Schlatter, The Marx Brothers, Garry Shandling, Jonathan Winters and many others.
The National Comedy Center operates the Lucille Ball Desi Arnaz Museum, which explores the lives, careers and legacy of the “First Couple of Comedy,” and the incredible impact they had on the world.
For nearly thirty years now, the Lucille Ball Comedy Festival in Jamestown has showcased rising young comedians and comedy legends including Jerry Seinfeld, Bob Newhart, Amy Schumer, Jay Leno, Joan Rivers, Lily Tomlin, Trevor Noah, Ellen DeGeneres, Jim Gaffigan, Ray Romano, and Paula Poundstone. The 2019 Festival was headlined by John Mulaney and Sebastian Maniscalco, with special events featuring The Smothers Brothers, Maria Bamford, Frank Oz, and Lewis Black.
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