Kennedy Center's 2017 Signature Comedy Series to Feature Jay Leno and More

The John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts announced its lineup for the spring and summer season of Comedy at the Kennedy Center, a signature program at the Center focused on elevating comedy as an art form and uniting the local community together through laughter. Capital One is the presenting sponsor.

This season of Comedy at the Kennedy Center will include the return of mainstage productions in the Theater Lab such as Shear Madness and The Second City's Almost Accurate Guide to America: Divided We Stand, as well as performances by high-profile comedic artists including 2014 Mark Twain Prize recipient Jay Leno on March 17, 2017 in the Concert Hall; Gabriel Iglesias on April 9, 2017 in the Concert Hall; and Kevin Nealon on May 5, 2017 in the Eisenhower Theater.

"We're incredibly proud to be bringing such renowned comedic talent to the Kennedy Center's stages, building on the success of last year's first District of Comedy Festival, signature performances, and year-round events," said Matthew Winer, Director of Special Programming. "Through carefully honed technique and timing, these talented performing artists share their stories in a way that not only entertains, but can even disarm some of the more challenging subjects we face through the unifying power of laughter."

ABOUT Jay Leno

Acclaimed TV late night show host and admired stand-up comedian Jay Leno followed in the footsteps of legendary NBC late-night hosts Steve Allen, Jack Paar, and Johnny Carson as Tonight Show host. The Tonight Show with Jay Leno became the ratings leader of late night within its first two years, establishing firm leadership in all demographic categories, a winning streak exceeding 50 consecutive quarters. Prior to becoming host, Leno had been the exclusive guest host on The Tonight Show Starring Johnny Carson, where he also made multiple guest appearances. Leno has also found success with Jay Leno's Garage, which is viewed at and has gained an international following online, as well as an Emmy Award and two additional nominations. As a performer, Leno makes more than 100 live appearances across the country in nightclubs, theaters, and stadiums each year.


Iglesias is one of America's most successful stand-up comedians, and performs to sold-out crowds around the world. He grew up in Long Beach, California, the youngest of six children and developed a style of stand-up comedy that is a mixture of storytelling, parodies, characters, and sound effects that bring his personal experiences to life. He has the distinct honor of being one of the few comedians to headline and sell out Madison Square Garden in New York, The Microsoft Theater in Los Angeles, and The Honda Center in Anaheim. He recently filmed his sixth one-hour comedy special, to be released as a Netflix original, and has also been seen on Comedy Central which aired Iglesias's hit series Stand-Up Revolution for three years. His big screen credits include roles in The Nut Job 2, Magic Mike XXL, a co-starring role in A Haunted House 2, and voiceover credits in numerous animated films. He is currently on the road for his #FluffyBreaksEven tour.

ABOUT Kevin Nealon

Known for his unique sense of humor, dry wit, and likeable demeanor, Nealon is best known for his nine-year stint as a cast member of NBC's Saturday Night Live, and has received critical acclaim for his role in the Golden Globe- and Screen Actors Guild Awarded-nominated Showtime series, Weeds. On the big screen, he's found great comedic success through starring roles in Anger Management, Eight Crazy Nights, The Wedding Singer, Happy Gilmore, You Don't Mess with the Zohan, Joe Dirt, Aliens in the Attic, and also appeared in Daddy Day Care, Good Boy, Roxanne, and cult hit Grandma's Boy. One of the longest running cast members on NBC's Saturday Night Live, he created some of the show's most memorable characters and in 1988 earned an Emmy Award-nomination as part of the SNL writing team. He is currently one of the stars on the CBS-TV comedy series Man With a Plan.


Second City Theatricals produces an eclectic array of entertainment in venues worldwide. Recent productions include The Second City's Almost Accurate Guide to America, a customized show for the Kennedy Center; The Art of Falling, a critically acclaimed collaboration with Hubbard Street Dance Chicago (Ahmanson Theater, Los Angeles); Let Them Eat Chaos (The Woolly Mammoth Theatre); #DateMe, an original comedy in partnership with OK Cupid; Death of a Streetcar Named Virginia Woolf, with Writers Theatre and Unelectable You, a political show in partnership with SLATE Magazine. Second City Theatricals is also the exclusive provider of sketch and improv comedy for Norwegian Cruise Line.

The John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts is America's living memorial to President Kennedy. Under the guidance of Chairman David M. Rubenstein, and President Deborah F. Rutter, the nine theaters and stages of the nation's busiest performing arts facility attract more than three million visitors to more than 3,000 performances each year, while center-related touring productions, television, online, and radio broadcasts reach 40 million more around the world.

The Center produces and presents performances of music, ballet and contemporary dance, comedy, Hip Hop, and theater; supports artists in the creation of new work; and serves the nation as a leader in arts education. With its artistic affiliates, the National Symphony Orchestra and Washington National Opera, the Center has produced more than 300 theatrical productions, and dozens of new ballets, operas, and musical works, in addition to hosting numerous international cultural festivals and artist-curated programming representing opera, jazz, classical, and popular music. The Center's Emmy and Peabody Award-winning The Kennedy Center Honors is broadcast annually on CBS and annual The Kennedy Center Mark Twain Prize for American Humor is broadcast on PBS.

The education programs of the Kennedy Center, including those of its affiliate VSA, the international organization on arts and disability, have become models for communities across the country and have unlocked the door to learning for millions of young people. Education at the Kennedy Center produces and presents age appropriate performances and educational events, and fosters innovative programming, curriculum, and professional education, reaching more than 11 million students, teachers, and families.

The Center and its affiliates stage more than 400 free performances by artists from throughout the world each year on the Center's main stages, and every day of the year at 6 p.m. on its Millennium Stages, which are also streamed live, online. The Center also offers reduced and complimentary tickets to young people, active members of the military, and the underserved through its MyTix program and offers a Specially Priced Tickets program for students, seniors, persons with disabilities, and others with fixed low incomes.

To learn more about the Kennedy Center, visit

Tickets go on sale to the public on December 19 for Jay Leno, Gabriel Iglesias, and Kevin Nealon and January 17 for The Second City's Almost Accurate Guide to America: Divided We Stand. Tickets start at $79 for Jay Leno, $39 for Gabriel Iglesias, $25 for Kevin Nealon, $39 for The Second City, and will be available for purchase by visiting the Kennedy Center website, in person at the Kennedy Center box office, or by calling (202) 467-4600 or (800) 444-1324.

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