The Guardian

'Coachella for comics': the world's biggest comedy museum opens

A 40,000 sq ft interactive comedy center filled with cultural artifacts and immersive exhibits opens with a starry lineup
The main entrance to the National Comedy Center in Jamestown, New York. Photograph: Carolyn Thompson/AP

Comedy giants like Lewis Black, Lily Tomlin, Amy Schumer and Laraine Newman are all set to descend upon Jamestown, New York, for the opening of the National Comedy Center, the first institution of its kind. If Jamestown – population 30,000 – seems an unlikely place to pay homage to the craft of comedy, think again. It’s the birthplace of Lucille Ball, whose daughter Lucie Arnaz once told CNN that if there were ever a memorial for her mother in Jamestown, she wouldn’t have wanted “a statue or a bridge or some stagnant memory” but something “alive and active”.

It’s safe and around the corner from the comparably diminutive Lucille Ball Desi Arnaz Museum, the NCC took seven years and around $50m to bring to fruition. A not-for-profit, and the first devoted entirely to the art and craft of comedy, it features over 50 interactive exhibits divvied up by style of humor as well as artifacts and ephemera that, in sum, tell the story of comedy from Charlie Chaplin to Dave Chappelle and beyond.

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