A legend in comedy will headline the closing night of the 14th Great American Comedy Festival both as herself and as her most famous character on Saturday, June 17, at Johnny Carson Theatre in Norfolk.
Vicki Lawrence will entertain at the Saturday night gala, while Michael Ian Black will headline the Friday night comedy showcase on June 16.
“We’re incredibly excited to bring a living legend like Vicki Lawrence to the stage at the Johnny Carson Theatre,” said Lisa Wattier, executive director. “She’s an icon and rounds out what should be another stacked weekend for comedy fans of all ages.”
Presented by Nucor Steel Nebraska, Nucor Cold Finish Nebraska, Nucor Detailing Center, and Vulcraft Nebraska, the festival kicks off Thursday, June 15, with the traditional family comedy magic show. All three shows are at 7 p.m. at the Johnny Carson Theatre except an adults-only late-night show at The Stables on Friday, June 16, at 10:30. The Stables is located at 1909 Vicki Lane in Norfolk.
Lawrence is an actress, comedian and singer known for the many characters she originated on CBS's “The Carol Burnett Show,” where she appeared from 1967 to 1978, for the entire series run. One such character, Thelma Harper/Mama, was the central character of popular television situation comedy series “Mama's Family.”
Lawrence spends much of her time on the road with her stage production “Vicki Lawrence and Mama: A Two Woman Show,” which she’ll be performing in Norfolk.
Lawrence has multiple Emmy Award nominations, winning one in 1976. She is a multiple Golden Globe nominee, all for “The Carol Burnett Show.” In 1973, Lawrence recorded the hit song "The Night the Lights Went Out in Georgia." It reached No. 1 in both the United States and Canada.
In the past, Lawrence hosted the game show, “Win, Lose or Draw,” her own daytime talk show, “Vicki!,” and appeared in many theater productions. She was the only talk show host since Oprah Winfrey to be nominated for a Daytime Emmy in her freshman year.
Through the years, Lawrence has made appearances on other television programs, such as “Laverne & Shirley,” “Major Dad,” “Roseanne,” “Hannah Montana” and “Yes, Dear.” Lawrence most recently co-starred in the Fox comedy series “The Cool Kids” with David Alan Grier, Martin Mull and Leslie Jordan.
Michael Ian Black has starred in numerous films and TV series, written and/or directed two films, is an author and commentator and regularly tours the country performing his ribald brand of jokes and observations. He most recently starred in TVLand's “The Gaffigan Show” and Comedy Central’s “Another Period.” He’s reprising one of his iconic film roles in the upcoming second season of the Netflix Wet Hot American Summer series. His third stand-up comedy special, “Noted Expert,” was released on Epix.
Previously, Black released two stand-up specials, “Very Famous” and “I Am A Wonderful Man.” He and Tom Cavanagh host the popular podcast, “Mike and Tom Eat Snacks.” He also writes and hosts a podcast with Michael Showalter, “Topics,” and his own interview podcast, “How To Be Amazing.”
Sketch comedy fans know Black’s work on “The State,” “Viva Variety,” “Stella” and “Michael and Michael Have Issues,” all of which he co-created, wrote and starred in. Other TV credits include quirky bowling alley manager Phil on the NBC series “Ed,” and his commentary on cable’s “I Love the ...” series. He recently starred in two hit web series that migrated to cable TV: “Burning Love” on E! and “You’re Whole” on Adult Swim.
Black’s movie roles include “Slash,” “Smosh: The Movie,” “They Came Together,” “This is 40,” “Wet Hot American Summer,” “Take Me Home Tonight,” “Reno 911!: Miami,” “The Ten” and “The Baxter.”
The Great American Comedy Festival is also made possible with the support of the Nebraska Arts Council and the Nebraska Cultural Endowment. The annual festival opened in 2008 to honor the legacy of Norfolk’s favorite son, Johnny Carson, who was host of NBC’s “Late Night Show Starring Johnny Carson” for more than 25 years.