In a tremendous bi-partisan show of support, both the Senate and House of Representatives passed the Federal Lands Bill in February, which included the designation for the NCC as the “Official National Comedy Center of the United States.” On Tuesday President Donald Trump signed it into law, recognizing the NCC.
When we talked with NCC executive director Journey Gunderson in February, she explained why the designation was so important.
“It is absolutely a big deal. We set out always, since the concept phase, to build the cultural institution that was of a national caliber and scale that the art form deserves,” Gunderson said. “That is exactly the definition of this congressional designation. It makes it official. It makes it recognized by the Congress of the United States of America that this is the place that celebrates comedy and its the only one of its kind.”
The bill, as written, recognizes that the NCC “exists for the exclusive purpose of celebrating comedy in all its forms” and officially designates the Center as the “National Comedy Center.”
The $50 million NCC opened in August 2018 and is dedicated to presenting the vital story of comedy in America, and preserving its heritage for future generations.
It is based on the vision of Jamestown native Lucille Ball for her hometown to become a destination for comedy.
”Comedy is an art form, and it’s a part America’s rich cultural history. I’m thrilled that Congress passed legislation designating Jamestown’s Comedy Center as the official National Comedy of the United States, and that, at long last, it has been signed into law. The Comedy Center is a tourism magnet and now, finally, it has the national designation it so clearly deserves,” said Senator Charles Schumer. “As the birthplace of the iconic Lucille Ball, and the home to the Annual Comedy Festival, Jamestown is an epicenter of comedy in the nation, and is the perfect home for the National Comedy Center. I am incredibly proud to have played my part in enacting this legislation, to help this cultural institution continue attracting visitors from far and wide, creating jobs and injecting millions of tourism dollars into the region.”
“I am very excited that the Jamestown Comedy Center has just been officially designated as the National Comedy Center. The Jamestown Comedy Center is a celebration of talent and has quickly become a must-see location in New York,” said Senator Gillibrand. “This museum is a destination for families, tourists, and comedy lovers from all over the country, and it has played an important role in growing the local economy in Jamestown. When I visited the museum, it was clear that the Comedy Center should become a landmark in New York. 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’m proud to see this legislation signed into law.”
“Jamestown is now to comedy what Cooperstown is to baseball and Cleveland is to rock and roll,” said Rep. Tom Reed. “As the nation’s first state-of-the-art museum and cultural institution dedicated to presenting, preserving and celebrating the art form of comedy, there is no other place more deserving of full backing of the U.S. government as the nation’s home to comedy than the birthplace of Lucille Ball and the National Comedy Center.”