Lewis Black, Friends Take The Stage At Reg Lenna

Lewis Black pictured at the Reg Lenna Center for the Arts on Wednesday. P-J photo by Jordan W. Patterson

Lewis Black took to the stage Wednesday not long after a heckler went after a comedian who performed before him. After listing reasons why the heckler was wrong, Black explained he was most annoyed by the heckler because she cut his fellow comedian’s joke short.

“And he’s making me pay extra to hear it,” Black said to thunderous applause and laughter.

It was all comedy inside the Reg Lenna Center for the Arts on Wednesday, as Black, W. Kamau Bell, Tom Cotter, Judy Gold, Hari Kondabolu and Kerri Louise were all scheduled to perform. The performances served as the opening act to the Lucille Ball Comedy Festival and the grand opening of the National Comedy Center.

“We’re happy to have the first live event of the festival (at the Reg Lenna Center for the Arts),” said Len Barry, marketing director for the Reg Lenna Center for the Arts.

The center recently went through renovations to its main lobby entrance and concession stand on East Third Street. Wednesday’s show served as a test run for operations. Barry maintained that on its first run through everything went smoothly.

“We’re very happy,” he said. “We love working with the comedy center. We see how things work out and have these wonderful audience members throughout the week.”

The show was a “near sell-out” as Barry described it and noted that there are two other sell-out shows throughout the comedy festival. Today, original “Saturday Night Live” cast members Dan Aykroyd and Laraine Newman and original “SNL” writer Alan Zweibel will take the stage at the Reg Lenna. The show is hosted by Sirius XM’s Ron Bennington. On Saturday, Lilly Tomlin will grace the center’s stage performing her classic characters.

On Wednesday night, comedians dove in and out of various topics from Louise’s parenting style, Bell’s take on politics and hecklers, Gold’s confessional regarding her hate for kale to Cotter’s best President Trump impersonation. At last, it was Black’s turn. After he said his piece about heckling, he drew his attention to a much more serious topic.

“Here’s what’s wrong with America,” he began. “I discovered this the other night while driving from the spectacular Buffalo International Airport.”

And then he launched into a bit about the difference between McDonald’s chicken nuggets and buttermilk chicken tenders. After being told at the first drive-thru window that the difference was in the name only, he inquired at the second window.

Here, a cashier told him “the tender tasted a little bit more like chicken.”

Black is no stranger to Jamestown as he previously performed at the Reg Lenna in 2016. He also has been involved in the creation of the National Comedy Center where he serves as an advisory board member. His support for the comedy center was most recently shown on The Late Show with Stephen Colbert where he sported a National Comedy Center shirt and promoted the venue.

The Lucille Ball Comedy Festival continues until Saturday with various acts and performances throughout the city. On Friday, comedian Amy Schumer and friends will be performing at the North West Arena at 7 p.m.