Untouchables To Open For National Comedy Center Celebration

The Untouchables are from left are Mike DiGaetano, Mike Dietzen, Jeff Julian, Billy Lisa and Bill Schindler.

DUNKIRK — Known for “playing party music from every decade,” area band The Untouchables is the opening act for the block party that kicks off the National Comedy Center Opening Celebration Wednesday. The Untouchables will be playing outside of the Reg Lenna Center for the Arts, at 5 p.m. until the first comedy show of the week takes place inside at 7:30 p.m. The band will resume after the show concludes and play until approximately 11 p.m.

Band member Jeff Julian, who grew up in Dunkirk and currently resides in Bemus Point, is thrilled with the opportunity to be a part of this history-making week for the area.

“About a month ago, we found out that we were chosen to perform. I had originally reached out to the center, but apparently there were also several people who work there that mentioned us. We’re really grateful to be able to play a role in such a momentous event,” said Julian.

The Untouchables are particularly well-suited to this exciting week of humor, as their music and personal style are inspired by one of the center’s featured guests. “We’re a ‘Blues Brothers’ act, and we knew Dan Aykroyd would be performing this week. We do a lot of Blues Brothers songs and we dress like them too. This is such a perfect opportunity for us,” Julian explained. “It’s a dream of ours to have Dan Aykroyd on stage with us. He is scheduled to perform the next night, and I have written to him as well as the organizers to steer him in our direction. In case he actually shows up, I have a hat, sunglasses and a case of harmonicas ready for him.”

For years, the band has been playing at parties, weddings and community events throughout the county, but this is the first time they’ve ever performed during Jamestown’s annual comedy festival. “We play classic rock and party music from the 50s through the 80s, and we invite everyone to come out and see us at the comedy festival,” Julian said.

The five-member band includes Mike Dietzen on bass and vocals; Mike “Diggs” DiGaetano on keyboards, Julian on saxophone, guitar and vocals; Bill Lisa on guitar, harmonica and vocals; and Bill Schindler on drums and vocals.

All but one of the band members call the Dunkirk area “home.” Dietzen, Julian and Lisa all grew up in Dunkirk and graduated from Dunkirk High School, and Schindler has also lived in the Dunkirk/Fredonia area most of his life. Dietzen, Julian and Schindler are graduates of SUNY Fredonia and are teachers at BOCES, Maple Grove Junior/Senior High School and Gowanda Central School, respectively. DiGaetano lives in Hamburg.

Although Aykroyd will not be a part of Wednesday night’s line-up, The Untouchables are excited to welcome the comedians and the crowds coming on Wednesday night. Wednesday night will feature Lewis Black, W. Kamau Bell, Tom Cotter, Judy Gold, Hari Kondabolu, Kerri Louise and more. The Untouchables’ portion of the festivities is free to attend, both before and after the comedy show, and there will be beer and wine available. “This is a historic event for our county, and we’re just humbled and grateful to be a part of it,” Julian said.