Several Items Donated To National Comedy Center
The comedy duo that was once fired from CBS, the Smothers Brothers, comprised of comedians Tom and Dick Smothers, donated artifacts from their TV show “The Smothers Brothers Comedy Hour” to the National Comedy Center.
At an official ribbon-cutting ceremony Monday, the Smothers Brothers and NCC officials celebrated the addition to the comedy archives in front of a display comprised of two suits, a guitar and a bass that all appeared on the TV show.
“This is a really important day for the National Comedy Center,” said Journey Gunderson, National Comedy Center executive director, shortly before the ribbon-cutting. “It’s a really important day for comedy in general.”
Artifacts donated include the duo’s iconic red suit jackets, their guitar and bass, scripts and creative papers and documents. The documents include a letter from President Lyndon Johnson that was read on air.
Additionally, legal documents from the litigation against CBS in defense of their First Amendment rights are included in the donation.
Gunderson announced the news about the donation at Chautauqua Institution before the Smothers Brothers’ appearance Monday inside the amphitheater. The duo appeared at Chautauqua in association with the week-long partnership between the NCC and Chautauqua titled “What’s Funny?” ahead of the Lucille Ball Comedy Festival beginning Aug. 7.
She noted that 25 years ago, the Smothers Brothers performed at the comedy festival in Jamestown.
Tom and Dick Smothers were fired from CBS following conflict regarding the censorship of their show in 1969.
“Always remember it’s really hard when you don’t know what your talking about,” Tom Smothers said to a crowd inside the NCC before pausing.
His brother Dick Smothers completed the statement: “to know when to finish.”
The tandem said they were honored to be included in the comedy center.
Tom Smothers kissed his brother on the cheek and the two cut the ribbon officially welcoming their contribution to the comedy center.