Week Six :: July 29–August 5

Comedy and the Human Condition:

In Partnership with the National Comedy Center

We partner with the National Comedy Center — the first cultural institution and national-scale visitor experience dedicated to the art of comedy, under construction now in nearby Jamestown, New York — for a week that engages both the mind and the funny bone.

  • We’ll explore the politics of comedy and political satire — comedy often serves as our greatest mirror, a unique conduit of truth.
  • We venture into the writers’ room for insight into the craft of comedy for television and film.
  • We travel the globe to see if there is such a thing as “universally funny”
  • When has a joke gone too far? We consider issues of free speech and ask, “Is there such a thing as too offensive?”


Interfaith Lecture Theme :: The Spiritual Power of Humor

Many religions tell stories in which ‘the gods laughed.’  In the Hebrew Scriptures Abraham and Sarah named their only son Isaac – meaning ‘she or he laughs,’ because of Sarah’s improbable advanced age to be giving birth – and Buddhism often depicts the Buddha laughing.  In this week we will look at the power of humor to create in-sight and healing of the spirit.


  • Sunday, July 30, 2017 | 10:45am

    Rev. Susan Sparks

    Location: Amphitheater

    A trial lawyer turned standup comedian and Baptist minister, Rev. Susan Sparks is America's only female comedian with a pulpit.



  • Sunday, July 30, 2017 | 02:15pm

    Chautauqua Theater Company: Detroit '67

    Location: Bratton Theater

    Written by Dominique Morisseau, who was the 2014 recipient of the Edward M. Kennedy Prize for Drama Inspired by American History and a 2016 Obie Award Winner for Skeleton Crew, CTC is thrilled to present Detroit ’67.



  • Monday, July 31, 2017 | 09:15am

    Rev. Susan Sparks

    Location: Amphitheater

    A trial lawyer turned standup comedian and Baptist minister, Rev. Susan Sparks is America's only female comedian with a pulpit.



  • Monday, July 31, 2017 | 10:45am

    Lewis Black

    Location: Amphitheater

    Writer, comedian, actor

    Known as the king of the rant, Lewis Black has performed for audiences across the globe, making people laugh at the absurdities of life and covering topics that include current events, social media, politics and anything else that exposes... 



  • Monday, July 31, 2017 | 02:00pm

    Chris Leighton

    Location: Hall of Philosophy

    Rev. Dr. Christopher M. Leighton is an ordained Presbyterian minister who has served as the Executive Director of the Institute for Christian & Jewish Studies since its inception in 1987. Included among his extensive writings is a series entitled “No Laughing Matter? A Series on Religion and Humor.”



  • Monday, July 31, 2017 | 04:00pm

    Mobius Trio

    Location: Lenna Hall

    Described by Grammy Award-winning guitarist Sergio Assad as “the most inventive and exciting young guitar ensemble today,” Mobius Trio is dedicated to the creation and performance of a new lexicon of music for both classical and electric guitars.



  • Monday, July 31, 2017 | 07:30pm

    Chautauqua Opera Company: Don Pasquale

    Location: Norton Hall

    Music: Gaetano Donizetti

    True Italian farce returns to the stage of Norton Hall, continuing Chautauqua Opera's dedication to performing operas for the entire family. Hijinks ensue when the aging bachelor, Don Pasquale, pursues the spirited Norina, hoping to trap himself a much younger wife.



  • Monday, July 31, 2017 | 08:15pm

    Capitol Steps: What to Expect When You’re Electing

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    Gate pass or event ticket required.

    Location: Amphitheater

    The election may be over, but the opportunity to be equally offended lives on! Since they began, the Capitol Steps have recorded over 30 albums, including their latest, What to Expect When You're Electing.



  • Tuesday, August 01, 2017 | 04:00pm

    Chautauqua Opera Company: Hydrogen Jukebox

    Location: Norton Hall

    Experience the collaboration of two of America's most revolutionary artists, composer Philip Glass and poet Allen Ginsberg, in this truly unique chamber opera.



  • Wednesday, August 02, 2017 | 10:45am

    Sophie Scott

    Location: Amphitheater

    Deputy director, University College London’s Institute of Cognitive Neuroscience

    Sophie Scott is a Wellcome Trust senior fellow at University College London and deputy director of UCL’s Institute of Cognitive Neuroscience, where she...



  • Wednesday, August 02, 2017 | 08:15pm

    An Evening of Pas de Deux featuring Alumni Stars

    Location: Amphitheater