Comedy Center Becomes Tourist Destination

From left Gabriel “Fluffy” Iglesias and National Comedy Center Executive Director Journey Gunderson stand in front of Iglesias’s jersey from his 2022 sold-out Dodger Stadium performance. P-J photo by Michael Zabrodsky

Dan Aykroyd did it in 2018.

Gabriel “Fluffy” Iglesias did it Thursday.

Each parted ways with a personal possession.

During the opening ceremony of the National Comedy Center in 2018, when former Saturday Night Live comedian Aykroyd graciously gifted his historic Harley Davidson motorcycle to NCC, the event launched the center’s popularity.

So, in the spirit of comedy, riding his motorcycle, Aykroyd jumped the curb in front of NCC, drove onto a designated area of the sidewalk marked with red carpet, stopped and got off it, kissed the bike, and bid it farewell to its new home.

Dan Aykroyd rides in on his motorcycle in August, 2018. The famed comedian donated the piece to the NCC. P-J file photo

According to NCC Executive Director Journey Gunderson, NCC carefully collects artifacts because artifacts tell stories. When Aykroyd was performing on SNL during the late 1970s, he used to frequently rode the motorcycle from Brooklyn to Manhattan.

Iglesias gifted his wardrobe, from his 2022 sold-out Dodger Stadium performance, to NCC.

Iglesias also may gift one of his Volkwagen buses to the NCC.

Topspeed.com said Iglesias has a very large collection of VW buses housed in Long Beach, Calif, which has been dubbed “The Fluffy Museum.”

“I’ll put you guys in the will,” Iglesias said Thursday after a tour of the NCC.

From left Jolene Brand Schlatter and George Schlatter are with National Comedy Center Exectutive Director Journey Gunderson in front of the new immersive, state-of-the-art, multimedia theater named after them, inside the NCC. P-J photo by Michael Zabrodsky

“And that’s a great thing too, because I have been struggling with a business manager, and going back and forth with a trust. It sucks when they tell you to write down a list of all your favorite people in order and figure out what’s going to happen when your gone because nobody wants to have those converstions. I can safely say this (The NCC) is definitely making the list.”

Gunderson noted that the center has become a destination for comedy lovers, which helps put Jamestown in the national spotlight.

“Over the past five years, we’ve seen the National Comedy Center receive accolades from the media and outstanding reviews from visitors coming from all 50 states and 21 countries – most recently being named a ‘Top 25 Family Weekend in the U.S.’ by U.S. News & World Report, on a list of national attractions that includes Walt Disney World and Disneyland,” Gunderson noted. “We’ve been featured on NBC’s TODAY show, CBS Sunday Morning and in The New York Times, driving nationwide awareness and interest in visiting Jamestown. We have one of the most of the most interactive museums in the world right here in Jamestown, with fun and immersive experiences designed for all ages — and this summer, families are visiting like never before, because kids and teens are free, thanks to the generosity of Shults Auto Group.”

NCC also helps drive the region’s economy.

“The National Comedy Center has put Jamestown on TIME’s World’s Greatest Places list and on People’s list of ‘100 Hundred Reasons to Love America,’ and is lifting our city out of the pandemic, including this week’s Lucille Ball Comedy Festival with Gabriel Iglesias and Taylor Tomlinson. We are driving significant economic impact for our community and region, fulfilling the potential of this great endeavor. It’s clear that visitors not only love the experience, but they stay at our local hotels, eat in our local restaurants, shop in our retail stores and visit many other attractions. Now that the pandemic is behind us, we look forward to even greater growth and continued success in the years ahead,” said Tom Benson, president of NCC’s Board of Directors.

Here is a timeline with some highlights provided by NCC.


¯ Grand Opening events Aug. 1- 5 with festivities featuring Lily Tomlin, Lewis Black, Amy Schumer, original SNL cast members Dan Aykroyd and Laraine Newman and writer Alan Zweibel, Fran Drescher, Lucie Arnaz, “Laugh-In” TV show creator George Schlatter, W. Kamau Bell, Judy Gold and more.

¯ Late December — Visitors from all 50 U.S. States have visited the National Comedy Center. North Dakota was the final state during the holiday week.


¯ March 12 — National Comedy Center officially designated by the U.S. Congress as the nation’s official cultural institution for the art form of comedy.

¯ June 2019 — National Comedy Center named by People magazine on of their “100 Reasons to Love America.” One of only three museums on their annual list of the nation’s most beloved treasures, People cited the National Comedy Center as “the country’s first museum devoted to comedy” and “worth the trip to Jamestown, NY, Lucille Ball’s hometown.”

¯ Aug. 22 — National Comedy Center named by TIME magazine one of the “World’s Greatest Places.” The National Comedy Center was selected as one of only “100 new and newly noteworthy destinations to experience right now” and one only nine attractions to visit in the United States.


¯ Feb. 28 — National Comedy Center is named the “Best New Museum” in the country by USA Today.

¯ Aug. 14 — The National Comedy Center launches its first Virtual Lucille Ball Comedy Festival featuring online conversations with 30 artists over three weekends

¯ Oct. 23 — The National Comedy Center announces that it will preserve the historic Johnny Carson Archive.


¯ March 19 — The National Comedy Center announces on NBC’S TODAY show with Mel Brooks and Rob Reiner that it will name its archive and preservation department in honor of Carl Reiner and that it will be preserving the Carl Reiner archive.

¯ June 20 — The National Comedy Center launches seven weeks of “Riverside Saturdays” free outdoor comedy movie events along Jamestown Riverwalk, featuring a new outdoor patio bar and family activities designed to bring visitors to downtown Jamestown during the pandemic to dine, shop and stay in local hotels.


¯ March 1 — Actress/comedian/director Amy Poehler visits the National Comedy Center to premiere her new documentary Lucy and Desi, which the NCC archive team worked closely on with Poehler.

¯ July 27 — Director/producer/actor Rob Reiner, sister Annie Reiner and brother Lucas Reiner cut the ribbon on the new exhibit Carl Reiner: Keep Laughing, celebrating their father, comedy legend Carl Reiner, and his collaborations with Mel Brooks, Sid Caesar, Steve Martin, Dick Van Dyke and Mary Tyler Moore.

¯ Aug. 12 — The National Comedy Center cuts the ribbon on the new multi-screen theater presentation Johnny Carson: The Immersive Experience with Hologram Host Jimmy Fallon featuring Steve Martin, Mel Brooks, Bette Midler, Martin Short, Byron Allen, Billy Crystal, Conan O’Brien, Jay Leno and more.

¯ Sept. 6 — U.S. News & World Report names the National Comedy Center a “Top 25 Family Weekend Getaway,” joining a list of national attractions including Walt Disney World and Disneyland.


¯ Jan. 22 — The National Comedy Center and its Carl Reiner exhibit is featured on CBS Sunday Morning.

¯ May 26 — The National Comedy Center launches its Kids and Teens Free Summer, underwritten by Shults Auto Group.

¯ June 7 — The National Comedy Center announces that is will be the home to comedy icon Joan Rivers’ career archives, including her 65,000 joke file, with a new interactive exhibit to debut in 2025.

¯ June 21 — The National Comedy Center opens a new display celebrating legendary New York comedy club Carolines on Broadway and its founder/owner Caroline Hirsch.

NCC is located at 203 W. Second St. for more information visit comedycenter.org.


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