For the last seven years the folks that organize the Lucille Ball Comedy Festival and her museum have worked to bring Ball’s vision for a National Comedy Center in her hometown of Jamestown, NY alive, and now that’s happening officially. After many years of hard work, The National Comedy Center, a non-profit cultural institution and national-scale visitor experience dedicated to the art of comedy will officially open its doors this August.
Like Cooperstown for baseball, the intent is to make the NCC the place where fans of the artform can show up and experience everything from stand-up, sketch, and all other forms of comedy. The intent is not to just make it a room full of tributes to dead people like a museum or all of fame, rather to be in interactive experience with live performances, panels, and over 50 interactive exhibits.
The 37,000 square foot, $50 million facility’s grand opening weekend will kick off August 1st – 5th 2018. Coinciding with the organization’s annual Lucille Ball Comedy Festival, in Jamestown, NY. The National Comedy Center is estimated to attract over 100,000 visitors and add $23 million into the local area economy annually.
Just last week New York Senator Chuck Schumer made the announcement that he plans to make a push for the Congressional Designation to make the NCC the official comedy center of the United States. Making it recognized as the only institution of its kind with the mission of preserving, protecting, and showcasing the art of comedy and its role in American culture. “Comedy is an art form, and it’s a part of our rich cultural history in America. I am proud to stand here today, as the Comedy Center takes shape, and begin my push to officially designate this the National Comedy Center of the United States,” said Senator Schumer.
“There has never been a national cultural institution that provides comedy the opportunity for appreciation often afforded other art forms. Culture is preserved by meaningful storytelling. What these artists have done is important, and it should be both celebrated and contextualized, drawing connections that make the past relevant to the present. Lucille Ball understood the power of comedy, and had the vision for her hometown to become a destination for its celebration in a way that would educate, foster and inspire. That’s what we’ve set out to do here,” said National Comedy Center Executive Director Journey Gunderson.
Once open visitors to the NCC will experience a personalized trip through the Center as exhibits respond to one’s personal comedic sensibilities via use of a wristband fitted with an RFID chip worn on their wrists. Highlights include George Carlin’s massive personal archives, a hologram theater that presents performances of some of comedy’s most notable figures, and experiences that allow visitors to step into the shoes of comedic artists. Additionally, the National Comedy Center will feature rare artifacts from some of comedy’s most notable names and bodies of work.
For more information on the National Comedy Center visit their website.