Hundreds in Ohio clamor for free tickets to Jay Leno's Comedy Stimulus show

Jay Leno

, who is bringing his act to southwest Ohio as a morale booster.

People in shorts, sun hats and baseball caps sat in lawn chairs or on the ground to form lines that stretched out from four entrances to the Roberts Centre, where Leno will hold his Comedy Stimulus show May 10.

Penny Tapp

, 57, of Highland, arrived about 7 a.m. Monday, more than four hours before the distribution of 4,000 tickets began.

Tapp, who lost her freight delivery job in November, said Leno has a big heart for doing the show.

“It’s like stretching your arms out and hugging the community and saying ’It’s going to be OK,’” said Tapp, who began to choke up with emotion. “I think it’s tremendously important.”

Wilmington, a city of 12,000, has drawn national attention as a vivid example of the economic struggles of small U.S. communities during the recession, and both presidential candidates discussed its plight last year.

Leno also has performed free comedy concerts in the recession-wracked Detroit area.

Suzy Kappaz

, of Gail Rice, the Michigan-based entertainment production company distributing the tickets, said during the 90-minute show Leno will “say a few words to the community about how he understands what they’re going through and what a challenge it is and just to hang in there.”

| The Associated Press