New York town showcases comedy
Does it seem funny to you that smallish Jamestown, New York, is pivotal to detailing the history of American comedy?
Well that might not be the case once you realize that the western New York State community of fewer than 30,000 people was the birthplace and is also the final resting place of Lucille Ball, the famed comedienne who earned widespread fame through the I Love Lucy show.
Jamestown retells the life of Ball through the Lucy Desi Museum, which invites visitors to “celebrate over 70 years of laughter,” with its exhibits including exact life-size replicas of I Love Lucy studio sets, and Ball personal belongings, including photographs and clothes.
Megan Arnone Eckwahl of the nearby National Comedy Center says it is fitting that the museum is located in Ball’s hometown.
“It was her vision for her hometown,” she says. “She wanted the city of Jamestown to celebrate the art of comedy.”
Ball died in 1989 and was cremated, with her ashes first interred in Los Angeles. Her remains were later exhumed and relocated to Jamestown, where heart-shaped markers — reminders of I Love Lucy — in the cemetery lead to her gravesite.
Arnone Eckwahl adds that the National Comedy Center is “one of the most interactive museums in the world” and notes that it’s “all predicated on your sense of humour.”
The attraction is described as the “United States official cultural institution and non-profit museum dedicated to presenting the vital story of comedy and preserving its heritage for future generations. The Comedy Centre features exclusive collections, world-class exhibits, and cutting-edge interactive technology to create immersive experiences, extraordinary meetings and memorable special events filled with laughter,” the museum states.
Those guests will go “on a one-of-a-kind journey through the world of comedy as they explore iconic stand-up performances, movies, TV and radio shows, cartoons, comic strips and music.”
Different types of comedy — such as vaudeville and slapstick — are explored.
Visitors can actually have their sense of humour analyzed, with the results emailed to them.
They’ll also receive a written “joke on the go” prior to leaving, providing a parting chuckle.
Arnone Eckwahl says the National Comedy Center is happy to provide a showcase for comedy.
“We hope to instil a deep appreciation of the art form,” she states.