Jamestown’s National Comedy Center made official with Trump signature

The National Comedy Center in Jamestown, NY is now the official U.S. cultural institution celebrating and preserving the art of comedy. President Donald Trump signed legislation on Tuesday to recognize that the state-of-the-art museum complex “exists for the exclusive purpose of celebrating comedy in all of its forms.”

The legislation that Trump signed was part of a larger bill on natural resources management policy. Congress passed that bill two weeks ago in a bipartisan vote. Senator Chuck Schumer remarked, “Comedy is an art form, and it’s a part of America’s rich cultural history…The Comedy Center is a tourism magnet and now, finally, it has the national designation it so clearly deserves.”

National Comedy Center becomes comedy’s Cooperstown

The $50 million National Comedy Center opened in August 2018 and has become a major tourist attraction, with a mix of private, federal, and state support. Earlier this year, the USA Today 10 Best Readers’ Choice travel award contest named the museum the 2nd Best New Attraction in the country. In September, Condé Nast Traveler called it “one of the best museums in the country.”

While it is not technically a “hall of fame,” the museum is a destination-type experience such as Cooperstown’s National Baseball Hall of Fame or Cleveland’s Rock & Roll Hall of Fame. The museum goes beyond a focus on comedy icons and also explores the influence of humor on how we live. The museum is family-friendly except for The Blue Room in the basement.

The National Comedy Center complex boasts 37,000-square-feet and over 50 immersive and interactive exhibits, with collections ranging from early vaudeville days to today’s social media era. Collections and exhibits include Charlie Chaplin’s cane, handwritten Saturday Night Live notes, and a hologram theater to experience acts of deceased talents. Exhibit partners include Jerry Seinfeld, The Garry Shandling Estate, Dan Aykroyd, and major studios. The Jamestown museum also hosts live stand-up performances.

Lucille Ball’s hometown becomes comedy capital

The non-profit institution includes the Lucille Ball Desi Arnaz Museum. Jamestown is the former home of comedic actress Lucille Ball, who envisioned her small hometown becoming a destination for comedy. Jamestown is located approximately 90 minutes south of Buffalo.

The annual Lucille Ball Comedy Festival is a newer tradition in the upstate city. Sebastian Maniscalco and John Mulaney will headline the 28th annual festival this August.

For more information, visit comedycenter.org.

Mary Stevens

Mary Stevens is a stand-up comedy enthusiast. She is a huge fan of live stand-up comedy and produces a show in her backyard in Hermosa Beach, CA. Her show has featured comics from Netflix, Comedy Central, HBO, Showtime and SNL, as well as up-and-coming comics. She is active on Twitter and Instagram @hermosabchmary.

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