JAMESTOWN, N.Y. (CelebrityAccess) The National Comedy Center in Jamestown, N.Y., is expected to have its grand opening tomorrow, Aug. 1, with a gala that includes several big-name comedians.
Lily Tomlin, Dan Aykroyd, members of the orginal SNL cast like Lorraine Newman, and Amy Schumer are all expected to headline the grand opening of the 37,000-square-foot, $50 million center. The House of Representatives unanimously approved a bill July 23 designating the facility as the nation’s official comedy center. U.S. Sen. Charles Schumer, cousin to Amy Schumer, is working on Senate action.
The nonprofit center is the inspiration of hometown hero Lucille Ball who envisioned a place that would celebrate comedy as an art form. The city already hosts events like the Lucille Ball Comedy Festival and the facility Lucille Ball Desi Arnaz Museum.
“Everybody else has a place,” Billy Crystal says in a welcoming video at the center. “Why not us?”
The building is a repurprosed 1930 art-deco train station and houses famed comedy pieces like the “puffy shirt” from “Seinfeld,” and scrpts from the “Dick Van Dyke Show.” There is “Comedy Karaoke” where visitors can “stand up” in front of their friends and attempt professional material, plus there is a comedy lounge that shows stand-up bits, a movie theatre that shows classic scenes with commentary, and a hologram theatre that will kick off with a progression of Jim Gaffigan’s career.
A gallery of photos is available here.
“Comedy is important to celebrate as an art form because it’s not been celebrated at all, ever,” comedian Lewis Black says on the welcoming video, according to the AP. Black is part of the celebrity advisory board, along with Gaffigan, Carl Reiner, Laraine Newman, W. Kamau Bell, Paula Poundstone and others.