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Crowds, events and archives are piling up at the National Comedy Center

An image of the sign on the exterior of Jamestown's National Comedy Center
File photo
Emerging from the pandemic, large crowds are returning to the National Comedy Center in Jamestown

The COVID-19 pandemic thinned the crowds and halted many events at the National Comedy Center over the last two years. The Jamestown institution appears to be making up for lost time this summer.

Visits to the center are above pre-pandemic levels, according to Journey Gunderson, Executive Director of the National Comedy Center. With an array of events and openings scheduled in the coming weeks, those numbers could increase before the end of the summer tourist season.

On Wednesday, the Center is teaming with Chautauqua Institution for "Carl Reiner at 100. Celebrating a Comedy Legacy." Reiner's children, including actor-director Rob Reiner, will be on hand for the event which precedes Thursday's opening of the Carl Reiner exhibit at the Comedy Center.

Reiner, who was founding Advisory Board member for the National Comedy Center, left his archives to the Jamestown facility. There's 75 boxes of notes, scripts and memorabilia from Reiner's career.

"One of the key design priorities was to design for the skimmers, the swimmers and the divers," Gunderson said of the breadth of the collection. She says, like much of what's on display at the center, the archive highlights the "process behind the scenes that goes into making great comedy."

It's one of two major exhibits opening this summer at the center. In early August the center will mark the 30th anniversary since Johnny Carson's final "Tonight Show" appearance with "Johnny Carson: The Immersive Experience."

The Lucille Ball Comedy Festival returns in-person to Jamestown for the first time in three years, August 3-7. Over 50 live events are scheduled and feature big-name comics Jeff Foxworthy, Margaret Cho and alumni from "Saturday Night Live" David Spade, Rob Schneider and Kevin Nealon.

Monday - Friday, 6 a.m. - 10 a.m.

Jay joined Buffalo Toronto Public Media in 2008 and has been local host for NPR's "Morning Edition" ever since. In June, 2022, he was named one of the co-hosts of WBFO's "Buffalo, What's Next."

A graduate of St. Mary's of the Lake School, St. Francis High School and Buffalo State College, Jay has worked most of his professional career in Buffalo. Outside of public media, he continues in longstanding roles as the public address announcer for the Buffalo Sabres of the National Hockey League and as play-by-play voice of Canisius College basketball.