June 10, 2011

Lucy Fest performer Whitney Cummings Replaced

Networks Pull Cummings from Lucy Fest; Poundstone, Updated Line-Up Announced

In a perfect storm of career success, comedienne and Lucy Fest performer Whitney Cummings has landed two sitcoms simultaneously with network giants NBC and CBS that prevent her from performing in the Lucille Ball Comedy Festival Aug 3-7.  Cummings will write both shows, and will also star in the series for NBC, called Whitney.

Performing in Lucy Fest on Saturday, Aug. 6 on Ball’s 100th birthday will be well-known comedienne and 1995 Lucy Fest headliner Paula Poundstone.  Poundstone joins a new line-up that includes Joan Rivers Aug. 4 (8 pm), critically-acclaimed kids comedy show Story Pirates Aug. 6 (11:30am), and a showcase of rising comics Nate Bargatze, Christina Pazsitzky and others Aug. 5 (8 pm).  Bargatze is the winner of the New York Comedy Festival and the Boston Comedy Festival in 2010, and Paszitsky is a regular guest and writer of E!’s Chelsea Lately, as well as a finalist on NBC’s Last Comic Standing.  Kids comedy troop Story Pirates have been seen on CNN’s Larry King for their unique shows based on stories written by children, and are now accepting submissions from local kids 5-12. Tickets are on sale now at LucyComedyFest.com.

“For a comedian to get a pilot picked up by a network is a very big deal, but to get two pilots picked up, by two major networks at the same time, is unprecedented,” said Journey Gunderson, Executive Director of the Lucy Desi Center for Comedy.  “We sought to catch someone on the way up, whose career was on the rise, and in that sense could not have been more spot-on in our selection of Cummings.  We gave Cummings the green light just before NBC and CBS did the same.  Unfortunately their traffic lights are a bit bigger than ours.”

“I was heartbroken to get the call, but Poundstone and Rivers are legends. The schedule is so strong.  People have the opportunity to be part of the Guinness World Record for most Lucys, be in the live studio audience of a 1940s-style radio show airing on SiriusXM satellite’s Radio Classics, and see some of the best comedians in the nation right from Tracy Plaza and the Reg Lenna Civic Center that weekend.  There’s something for everyone.”

While ticket prices for Rivers and Poundstone are typically higher elsewhere, Lucy Fest has kept prices low to aim for sell-out of the intimate vaudeville theater.  Rivers’ tickets range from $30-$60 (all $70 rows have already sold out), and Poundstone tickets will be $15-$30.  Buyers of tickets to both shows receive a complimentary ticket to the $15 Fri., Aug. 5 Rooftop Comic Showcase featuring Bargatze, Pazsitzky and others, as well as a complimentary admission pass to the Desilu Playhouse and Museum dual attractions.

Cummings expressed particular regret at the cancellation of the date, citing Lucille Ball as a hero of hers and a main reason she got into comedy.  NBC has put Cummings on a rigorous promotional schedule throughout August that requires she spend every weekend writing scripts between now and the launch of each series.  August dates were cancelled in major markets Atlantic City and Las Vegas in addition to Jamestown.

Ticket holders for Cummings’ cancelled show have the option for refund or exchange and should contact the Lucy Desi Center at 716.484.0800 or the Reg Lenna box office at 716.484.7070.

All proceeds from ticket sales support the mission of the Lucy Desi Center for Comedy, a 501(c)(3) non-profit.  The Aug. 3-7 Lucille Ball Comedy Festival commemorates what would be the star’s 100th birthday, August 6.  Festival schedule highlights include:
  • Lucy-Desi Night at the Jamestown Jammers (7pm, Wed, Aug. 3)
  • Joan Rivers (8pm, Thurs, Aug. 4. Warning: Adult material and language)
  • Party on the Plaza: Live Comedy, Live Music, Crafts, Food and Drink (12-9pm, Fri, Aug. 5 and Sat, Aug. 6)
  • Parade & Historical Re-enactment of Forever, Darling World Premiere (6:30pm, Fri, Aug. 5)
  • Stand-Up Showcase Presented by Rooftop Comedy (8pm, Fri, Aug. 5)
  • Junior Guilders Lucy Show at Lucille Ball Little Theater (8pm, Fri, Aug. 5)
  • Late Night Comedy in The Tropicana Room (10:30pm, Fri & Sat, Aug. 5-6)
  • KIDS Comedy Show: Story Pirates (11:30am, Sat, Aug. 6)
  • Guinness World Record: Be A Lucy! (12:30pm registration, Sat, Aug. 6)
  • Live Radio Show performance: My Favorite Husband, and I Love Lucy: The Untold Story, written and directed by Gregg Oppenheimer, son of I Love Lucy creator Jess Oppenheimer (3pm, Sat, Aug 6)
  • Paula Poundstone (8pm, Sat, Aug. 6)
  • Museum Exhibit Unveilings (Times TBA)
  • Silent Auction: Memorabilia from the archives and estates of Lucille Ball and Desi Arnaz (Noon, Wed, Aug. 3 – Sat, Aug. 6)
  • Lucy Lake View Cemetery Tours on horse-drawn trolley (daily Wed – Sat)
  • Lucy Town Bus Tours (daily Wed – Sat)
  • Picnic in Lucille Ball Memorial Celoron Park (11am, Sun, Aug. 7)
For tickets, full schedule and updates: www.LucyComedyFest.com

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