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Lucille Ball Comedy Festival begins today

Jay Moran/WBFO

It didn't take long to sell out Jay Leno's headline appearance this Saturday as part of the Lucille Ball Comedy Festival. Organizers hope that enthusiasm spreads to the many events that make up the five-day festival which begins today in Jamestown.

"Yes, there's definitely a lot more buzz," said Journey Gunderson, Executive Director of the Lucille Ball Desi Arnaz Museum and Center for Comedy.

"One thing about Jay Leno that really resonates with me that is really a part of the Lucy and Desi legacy is that they never sat back on their laurels and banked on their talent. They were really hard-working people," Gunderson said.

"They treated the audience and that shows with such reverence of doing the best they could. I think Jay Leno did the same thing throughout his career. And he never stopped performing live. He could have just done the Tonight Show."

The Lucille Ball Comedy Festival kicks off today with a series of events in and around Jamestown. The festival is packed with events over the next five days.

For Thursday night's Standup Showcase at the Reg Lenna Center, Gunderson was able to bring in TV and stand-up star, Caroline Rhea.

Credit Jay Moran/WBFO
Journey Gunderson serves as Executive Director of the Lucille Ball Desi Arnaz Museum.

"She's very relatable. She makes women and men chuckle about relationship things."

On Friday, Tom Cotter appears at the Reg Lenna Center. Cotter earned high marks for making his way to the finals of "America's Got Talent."

"I like his rapid-fire punch lines. When I was done watching him for an hour, I felt like I got three times the amount of material," Gunderson said of Cotter.

More information can be found here: http://www.lucycomedyfest.com/

Monday - Friday, 6 a.m. - 10 a.m.

Jay joined Buffalo Toronto Public Media in 2008 and has been local host for NPR's "Morning Edition" ever since. In June, 2022, he was named one of the co-hosts of WBFO's "Buffalo, What's Next."

A graduate of St. Mary's of the Lake School, St. Francis High School and Buffalo State College, Jay has worked most of his professional career in Buffalo. Outside of public media, he continues in longstanding roles as the public address announcer for the Buffalo Sabres of the National Hockey League and as play-by-play voice of Canisius College basketball.