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Schumer leads charge to officially designate Jamestown Comedy Center as 'National Comedy Center'


Fri, Feb 8th 2019 06:00 pm

Senator says new designation will make Jamestown ‘Cooperstown of Comedy,’ attracting visitors from far & wide, creating new jobs & bringing a boon of tourism dollars & economic development to WNY

U.S. Senate Minority Leader Charles Schumer on Friday launched a final push to pass legislation that will designate Jamestown’s National Comedy Center as the official “National Comedy Center” of the U.S. via a provision Schumer pushed to include in the 2019 Lands Package. Schumer called on The Comedy Center, located in downtown Jamestown and built in-part to honor the massive national impact of Jamestown Native Lucille Ball, to serve as America’s official center of comedy and its rich history in this nation. 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 U.S., 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," Schumer said. "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 2019 Lands Package includes legislation from Schumer that will formally designate the National Comedy Center as the “National Comedy Center.” Schumer noted this designation will allow the center to build on the success of other upstate New York tourist attractions such as the National Baseball Hall of Fame and Museum in Cooperstown. 

The National Comedy Center employs 38 people, 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 including Jerry Seinfeld, Joan Rivers, Jay Leno and Nick Offerman.

Schumer said this designation is vital to the center’s continued growth, and pointed out 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 National Comedy Center is committed to Lucille Ball's vision for her hometown of Jamestown, New York, to honor comedy's great minds and unique voices in ways that educate, engage and inspire future generations,” said Tom Benson, chairman of the National Comedy Center. “With visitors who've already come from all 50 states since our opening last August, we truly are the nation's museum for the celebration of comedy. We thank Sen. Schumer for everything he's done to make the National Comedy Center a reality, and welcome this official congressional designation in 2019.”

"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,” said Journey Gunderson, executive director of the National Comedy Center. “We are grateful to Sen. Schumer for his tremendous support and look forward to the bill's passage in both the Senate and the House in the coming weeks.”

The National Comedy Center, located at 203-217 W. Second St., 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, the National Comedy Center has already attracted visitors from all 50 states and nine countries total. It was also recently named the second “Best New Attraction in America” by USA Today.

The National Comedy Center opened in 2018, and ground was first broken on the project in 2015. Schumer noted he pushed a resolution in March of 2018 to formally recognize the National Comedy Center.

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