The National Comedy Center in Jamestown New York is about to receive a very significant designation. Senator Chuck Schumer announced on Friday that the center will be designated the “NATIONAL COMEDY CENTER OF THE UNITED STATES” by an official act of Congress,
The U.S. Senate Minority Leader Charles E. Schumer launched a final push to pass legislation that will designate Jamestown’s National Comedy Center as the official “National Comedy Center” of the United States via a provision Schumer pushed to include in the 2019 Lands Package. Schumer said this official congressional designation will help solidify the facility as a civic landmark and cultural institution, and the premiere “National Comedy Center” of the United States, and called on his colleagues in Congress to pass the Lands Package as soon as possible.
“Comedy is an art form, and it’s a part of our rich cultural history in America. I am proud to stand here today, in front of the revolutionary National Comedy Center, to continue my push to pass legislation that will officially designate it as the National Comedy Center of the United States,” said Senator Schumer. “As the birthplace of the iconic Lucille Ball, and home to the Annual Comedy Festival, Jamestown has rapidly become an epicenter for comedy in the nation, and is the perfect home for the National Comedy Center. This organization is becoming a cultural institution, attracting visitors from far and wide, creating jobs, and injecting millions of tourism dollars into the region. I vow to do everything in my power to shuttle this legislation through Congress and on to the president’s desk, because I know that this institution has become a national attraction and a smash hit!”
The National Comedy Center employs 38 people and has created nearly 200 spin-off jobs and is projected to have a $23 million impact on the region. Currently, the annual comedy festival hosts about 20,000 people and has been visited by famous comedians and comedy industry icons like Jim Gaffigan, Lewis Black, W. Kamau Bell, Paul Provenza, Dan Aykroyd, Amy Schumer, Lily Tomlin, George Schlatter, George Shapiro, Jerry Seinfeld, Judy Gold, Alan Zweibel, Laraine Newman and Ron Bennington. Schumer said this designation is vital to the center’s continued growth, and pointed out that Jamestown’s National Comedy Center is the only museum of its kind with the mission of preserving, protecting, and showcasing the art of American comedy and its role in our culture.
“The Jamestown Comedy Center is a celebration of talent and has quickly become a must-see location in New York. When I toured the museum, I was amazed by the incredible job done to transform an old train station into a state-of-the-art center dedicated to preserving the history of comedy in our nation,” said Senator Gillibrand. “This museum is a destination for families, tourists, and comedy lovers from all over the country, and it has played in important role in Jamestown’s revitalization. That’s why I fought to make sure that this year’s Land’s Package would designate the museum as the National Comedy Center, and I urge my colleagues in the Senate to pass this bill.”
“As the country’s first national-scale museum and cultural institution dedicated to presenting, preserving and celebrating the art form of comedy, the National Comedy Center — and Comedy — is deserving of this important recognition by Congress. We are grateful to Senator Schumer for his tremendous support and look forward to the bill’s passage in both the Senate and the House in the coming weeks,” said Journey Gunderson, Executive Director of the National Comedy Center.
The National Comedy Center is a stunning achievement that pays tribute to the art of American comedy through all eras, mediums, and genres. The 37,000 square foot, $50 million facility tells the story of comedy from its origins through the present, with more than 50 immersive, interactive exhibits. As of January 2019, the National Comedy Center has already attracted visitors from all fifty states and nine countries total. The center is not only cutting edge, but has combined the very latest tech with beautiful design while also being faithful to the art of comedy which has thrilled and surprised visitors and creators alike.
The National Comedy Center opened in 2018. Schumer noted he pushed a resolution in March of 2018 to formally recognize the National Comedy Center. Schumer also noted his successful push for $1.7 million from the Economic Development Administration, and $5M in net benefit due to New Market Tax Credits. In addition to this federal funding, the National Comedy Center has also received $10M from NYS, and private donations from the Gebbie Foundation, the John R. Oishei Foundation, the Ralph C. Wilson Jr. Foundation, the Lenna Foundation, Chautauqua Region Community Foundation, the Ralph C. Sheldon Foundation, the Johnson Foundation, and the Jessie Smith Darrah Fund. Schumer said the National Comedy Center shines a spotlight on Jamestown as a global comedy destination.