Contagious Comedy

Love and laughter were in the air at the Lucy Desi Center for Comedy Saturday evening.

From the hilarity of comedian Tony Deyo in the Tropicana Room, to a candlelight catered dinner by B&B of Jamestown, a craft beer and local wine cocktail hour among Emmy Awards and “I Love Lucy” memorabilia as well as photo opportunities on set re-creations, the 90 guests who attended the Valentine’s celebration were treated to a sampling of the best that the region has to offer.

According to Journey Gunderson, executive director, she’s thrilled because not only were there a great number of repeat visitors from last year, but the event sold out again, even with the capacity increased by 30.

Ticket sales showed that 25 percent of the guests were from out of state, while the others were either regional or local.

“I’m very excited about tonight because we have a top-notch comedian in town who is a Jamestown favorite that performed with Lucie Arnaz – Tony Deyo,” Gunderson said. “He’s classy, professional and hilarious – those are the criteria I look for.”

Following the show, Jill Vaillancourt and Bob Gunderson, of Bemus Point, called Deyo “absolutely sensational.”

Tom Wolanske and Katie Colosi, of Niagara Falls, attended the event for a second year, as it has become a tradition for them. They agreed that Deyo was perfect for the occasion.

“Very funny – he covered all the bases,” Colosi said.

Not only did guests enjoy the comedy, but they also came out of a love for Lucille Ball. Brenda Burgstrom, of Fredonia, who is a big fan of Lucille Ball and the show, went to the event sporting her pink “I Love Lucy” varsity jacket with her husband Richard.

Bob Stewart and his wife Tommie, drove all the way from North Huntingdon, Pa., for a romantic Valentine’s weekend celebration. However, other than that they had dinner reservations, Bob didn’t share the plans for the evening with his wife. So, Mrs. Stewart, a huge “I Love Lucy” fan, was delightfully surprised when he presented her with a polka-dot purse to match the dress she’d wear to the event.

“I love it here – it’s probably one of my favorite places in the world,” Mrs. Stewart said. “I didn’t find out until I opened my Valentine’s Day card in the car on the way here – I was overwhelmed.”

Jan and Dennis Bechmann, of Jamestown, first saw the Tropicana Room during Doors Open Jamestown, and couldn’t wait for the opportunity to attend an event at the venue, Bechmann said.

“It’s like walking into the TV show,” Bechman said.

According to Deyo, he’s been to Jamestown three times now, and he’s had a blast every time. In particular, he loves that the city is so committed to Lucille Ball.

“There’s no city like this that has such a focus on something comedy related – it’s extremely unique,” Deyo said. “As I grew up, my mom watched ‘I Love Lucy’ all the time, so it’s really cool to be able to do this. I’m not sure whether I’ll be back to the festival this year since I’ve been in it the past two years, but I love it and I’d come anytime.”

Deyo is set to appear on CBS’ “The Late Late Show With Craig Ferguson” on Wednesday evening. For more information, visit www.tonydeyo.com.

The Lucille Ball Desi Arnaz Center for Comedy is located at 2 W. Third St. in Jamestown. For more information, call 484-0800 or visit www.lucy-desi.com.