Kevin James, Robert Klein added to 2017 Comedy Fest lineup

Kevin James

JAMESTOWN, N.Y. – The 2017 Lucille Ball Comedy Festival has further bolstered its star-studded lineup with additional headliner announcements this week.

The National Comedy Center confirmed that legendary comedians Kevin James and Robert Klein will round out the headlining performances of this year’s festival, in addition to Jim Gaffigan’s Thursday, August 3, performance that will kick off the four-day event.

James will give his performance on Friday, Aug. 4, at Northwest Arena, beginning at 8:30 p.m. Currently starring in his original CBS sitcom “Kevin Can Wait,” of which he is also executive producer, James is also widely known for his role as Doug Heffernan on the popular sitcom “The King of Queens.” He has also appeared on the big screen along the likes of Adam Sandler, Chris Rock, David Spade, Will Smith and many more in films such as “I Now Pronounce You Chuck and Larry,” “Grown Ups” and “Hitch.”

Journey Gunderson, executive director of the National Comedy Center, said his performance in Jamestown will be a unique opportunity to see James in person and in a different light.

“We’re thrilled that so many people who know Kevin James from his hit TV shows and films will get to see him in the mode with which he got into comedy, which is stand-up,” Gunderson said.

Klein will give his performance at the Reg Lenna Center for the Arts on Saturday, Aug. 5, at 6 p.m. In a career that has spanned more than four decades, Klein is recognized for being the first stand-up comedian to have an HBO special in 1975. Additionally, he was recently the subject of the 2016 documentary “Robert Klein Still Can’t Stop His Leg,” which featured interviews with some of comedy’s biggest stars, including Jon Stewart, Jerry Seinfeld, Richard Lewis and David Steinberg.

“Robert Klein is a legend and also credited with influencing some of the most popular comedians today,” Gunderson said. “There are very few people, if any, who have had a career that has spanned as long, and has been as influential, as Robert Klein.”

The Lucille Ball Comedy Festival has been a staple for downtown Jamestown and the surrounding area for 25 years. Notable performers to have participated in the festival include Jerry Seinfeld, Jay Leno, Lewis Black, Trevor Noah, Joan Rivers, Ellen DeGeneres, Paula Poundstone, Kathleen Madigan, Nick Offerman, Ray Romano, Bob Newhart, The Smothers Brothers and more than 100 other comedic artists.

Additional programming for this year’s festival includes four comedy showcases featuring comedians who have appeared on “Conan,” “Colbert” and “Last Comic Standing,” National Comedy Center dialogues, block parties, two free kids comedy shows featuring the critically-acclaimed Story Pirates, and more than 40 artists.

Tribute events also include a celebration of Desi Arnaz’s 100th birthday, hometown tours, Lucy tribute dinner shows, and an appearance by Wanda Clark, Ball’s former personal secretary.

Gunderson also implied that future announcements may be expected as the festival draws closer.

“We’re not done yet,” she said.

Tickets to Gaffigan’s Thursday, Aug. 3, performance at Northwest Arena are currently on sale at lucycomedyfest.com. Tickets to James’ Aug. 4 and Klein’s Aug. 5 performances will go on sale to members of the National Comedy Center on Tuesday, and to the general public on Tuesday, May 23.

For more information on the National Comedy Center and the Lucille Ball Comedy Festival, including a complete list of festival events, call (716) 484-0800 or visit nationalcomedycenter.org or lucycomedyfest.com.

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