LIMA — There’s no doubt, she’ll be proud. And laughing.
Limaland Comedy will host a first-time event, Lima’s Funniest Lady contest, to raise awareness of the need and funds for a Phyllis Diller exhibit at the Allen County Museum.
The July 20 event takes place at several locations in downtown Lima, with free and ticketed shows, Limaland Comedy owner Gina Chiappazzi said.
“Phyllis Diller was a Lima native and comedy’s first real female comedienne,” Chiappazzi said. “We’re bringing comedy back to Lima. We’re bringing some laughs to Lima because we all need to laugh.”
Diller died at the age of 95 on Aug. 20 in her sleep in her Los Angeles home. Shortly before her death, the Northwest Ohio Independent Film Festival honored Diller with an inaugural lifetime achievement award.
Diller paved the way for dozens of female stand-up comedians, Allen County Museum Executive Director Pat Smith said, and the museum is very interested in an exhibit. Diller and the museum’s first professional curator, Joe Dunlap, were friends, Smith said.
“So we have that tie that is important to us, but even beyond that, she was a pioneer in her field, something everyone in this community is proud of and she should be recognized for,” Smith said.
The museum does already have some Diller items, including a dress the star donated. The film festival foundation is working with the Diller family to secure other items for an exhibit.
The July 20 event will start with an event from 2 to 4 p.m. at The Met, with a preliminary round of professional female stand-up comics performing and being judged. Tickets for that event are $10.
Then the day moves to a free show at The Meeting Place on Market, with Laughs in Middle America, Lima’s sketch and improv comedy troupe.
The final round will run from 8 to 10 p.m, back at The Met. Tickets for that event are $20. A combined day pass can be purchased for $25.
As a finale, Louie’s Nightclub will host an open mic night. Tickets can be purchased in person at The Met or online at www.limalandcomedy.com.
The comics competing that night are from Indianapolis, Cincinnati, Cleveland, Chicago, and Grand Rapids, Mich.
Limaland Comedy formed about a year ago and hosts improv and open mic events in the region. Chiappazzi said her goal is to make this event the premier contest for female comics, and to honor Diller’s legacy with a fitting community event.