With Kevin James and Jim Gaffigan headlining next week's Lucille Ball Comedy Festival, the Jamestown event is once again featuring top comedic talent. Meanwhile, notable comics like Lewis Black and David Steinberg are helping to expand the scope of the festival by hosting conversations on the cultural relevance of their art.
The conversations will take place at the Chautauqua Institution Amphitheater as part of the Comedy and Human Condition series. Lewis Black leads off the series on Monday.
"It won't be your standard Lewis Black standup show," said Journey Gunderson, Executive Director of the National Comedy Center.
"It will be Lewis Black's thoughts on comedy as an art form, its importance to our culture. That being said, it's still Lewis Black so I hope people will have had their coffee."
Legendary comic David Steinberg, who jousted with the Nixon White House, and W. Kamau Bell of CNN's "United Shades of America" will also appear on the series.
The series represents a major step for a festival which began as an homage to the legendary Jamestown native, Lucille Ball. Motivation for the ambitious additions emerged from a feasibility study conducted during the early development of the National Comedy Center.
"One of the key findings is that programming is key. Any attraction of this magnitude to be sustainable you need quality programming to give people a reason to repeatedly come through the doors," Gunderson explained.
"It's a microcosm of what we're going to be doing year-round at the National Comedy Center."