Jamestown, NY – June 18, 2020 — The National Comedy Center, the nation’s official cultural institution and non-profit museum dedicated to comedy, announced today that it will present a tribute to fathers of comedy this Father’s Day weekend, June 19-21, with four new online specials saluting comedy legends Richard Pryor, John Cleese, Jerry Stiller and Desi Arnaz, in support of the Center’s educational and preservation initiatives during the museum’s temporary closure.
- Ben Stiller and Amy Stiller, the son and daughter of Jerry Stiller and Anne Meara, join comedian Judy Gold for an in-depth conversation on the life, career and legacy of Jerry Stiller, who passed away last month.
- John Cleese and his daughter Camilla Cleese discuss John’s career and their recent comedy work together in a candid conversation hosted by comedian Harrison Greenbaum.
- Lucie Arnaz, the daughter of Desi Arnaz and Lucille Ball, talks with NPR host and TV critic David Bianculli on how Desi changed the face of television — both on screen and behind the scenes – with special guest Oscar Nunez.
- Rain Pryor discusses the lasting legacy and body of work of her father Richard Pryor and comedy’s role as a vital voice for social justice with W. Kamau Bell, host and executive producer of CNN’s United Shades of America.
These programs will be live streamed, for free, at ComedyCenter.org/FathersDay with a simulcast via Facebook Live on the National Comedy Center Facebook page https://www.facebook.com/nationalcomedycenter/.
“We tell the story of comedy. These conversations on pioneers and legends of the art form, with the people who knew them best – their daughters and sons – help to surface and preserve aspects of their legacies we might not otherwise glimpse,” said National Comedy Center Executive Director Journey Gunderson.
The National Comedy Center’s Father’s Day programming is part of its new online platform, as it continues its mission to preserve and present the vital story of comedy, providing education on comedy’s great minds and unique voices in ways that engage, inspire, educate and entertain.
More exclusive programming, directly from the museum’s immersive exhibits and world-class collections, is available at Anywhere.ComedyCenter.org.
The National Comedy Center was recently named the “Best New Museum” in the country by USA Today and one of TIME magazine’s “World’s Greatest Places”, shortly before it was temporarily closed to visitors as a COVID-19 precaution on Mar. 16, 2020.
The Comedy Center anticipates reopening its museum in Jamestown, NY and welcoming visitors in the coming weeks, upon authorization by New York State for the reopening of museums and cultural institutions in Western New York.
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 30 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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