The National Comedy Center announces the acquisition of legendary comedian Carl Reiner’s extensive career archives, and names its ongoing preservation work in his honor.
Reiner’s career archives include thousands of pages of creative papers; unpublished comedy material; rare photographs and footage; and industry awards. The comprehensive collection includes annotated drafts of scripts written by Reiner throughout his career – including “Your Show of Shows” sketches, all 158 “Dick Van Dyke Show” scripts, and his film screenplays.
The Carl Reiner Department of Archives and Preservation collects and preserves materials that illuminate the history of comedy, and supports exhibit development, academic research, and educational outreach.
Video clips, Top: an introduction to the National Comedy Center. Bottom: The TODAY Show, Rob Reiner and Mel Brooks Announce National Comedy Center’s Acquisition of Carl Reiner Archives.
“Carl Reiner was all heart and pure joy, and one could not have had a better friend. He brought laughter and soul to my world, and likely yours, for over 70 years. It’s fitting that his archives will be shared and preserved at the National Comedy Center. I cherish every memory of him.”
– Norman Lear
“There will never be another Carl Reiner. I’m thrilled that the Comedy Center is preserving his archives and naming their work in his honor – no one deserves it more than my best friend. Carl’s comedy was timeless and now his name will live on for generations with this wonderful tribute.”
– Mel Brooks
“I can’t think of anyone more deserving of this tremendous honor. Carl Reiner deserves to be celebrated every day, and now he will be, within the halls of this museum dedicated to the art form that Carl loved most – comedy.”
– Dick Van Dyke
“Carl was my greatest mentor – his wisdom, talent, humor, and energy will never be forgotten, all wrapped in his uncommon decency. By naming its archival work after Carl, the National Comedy Center reminds us that it’s these qualities that matter most when creating great work that touches us, makes us laugh and stands the test of time.”– Steve Martin
“Carl Reiner and his brilliant career was a gift to us all. Having his archives at the National Comedy Center is a yet another gift to the comedy community. His achievements and his legacy can now be studied and appreciated by generations to come.”– Billy Crystal
George Carlin’s Grammy Award and Handwritten Notes
Jerry Seinfeld’s “Puffy Shirt” and Emmy Award for Seinfeld
Joan Rivers' Notes on "How to Handle a Heckler"
Rodney Dangerfield’s Handwritten Notes
Tom and Dick Smothers with their Suit Jackets, Guitar, and Bass
Carl Reiner’s Emmy Award and Script from The Dick Van Dyke Show
George Carlin archival exhibition at the National Comedy Center
Johnny Carson’s Mug and Annotated Monologue
Laugh-In Wall Segment and Exhibit
Harold Ramis’ Ghostbusters Suit, Glasses, and Script
Since opening in 2018, the Center has collaborated with artists and estates to preserve materials that represent comedy’s great contributions to our culture: from Charlie Chaplin’s cane, Lucille Ball’s polka-dotted dress, and Lenny Bruce’s court transcripts to Johnny Carson’s Tonight Show monologues, scripts from the Saturday Night Live writers’ room, and George Carlin’s 27,000-piece archive of creative papers.
The museum incorporates audiovisual media, archival collections, and interactive technologies to educate visitors about comedy’s innovators and artists, from Jerry Lewis and Carol Burnett to Andy Kaufman and Richard Pryor, from Eddie Murphy and Harold Ramis to Phyllis Diller and Tina Fey.
For exclusive exhibit content and archive conversations:
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“It was a true honor to serve as a founding advisory board member with Carl Reiner. Carl believed in the importance of this non-profit cultural institution. He and I both knew that it’s up to the artists in our industry, and all those who value comedy’s heritage, to come together and support this vital work, so that comedy’s rich history can be shared and celebrated for generations to come.”– Lewis Black, Founding Chair, National Comedy Center Advisory Board
Please contact firstname.lastname@example.org to:
Schedule remote or in-person research services
The National Comedy Center’s reading room is open for in-person research by appointment for approved scholarly, artistic, and journalistic projects. Remote research services are available on an hourly basis.
Donate materials to the archives
The National Comedy Center is a 501(c)(3) charitable organization, which collects materials that illuminate the comedic process, chronicle the history of comedy, and/or demonstrate comedy’s role as a social, political, and artistic cultural force. Collections include printed and manuscript materials, photographs, artworks, three-dimensional artifacts, clothing and props, and most audiovisual formats.
Make a financial donation
100% of your gift to the National Comedy Center helps us achieve our mission to collect, preserve and make available artifacts that illuminate the history of comedy.
Request reference reproductions
The National Comedy Center provides reference reproductions in the service of research and scholarship. All requests for permission to reproduce materials will be evaluated on a case-by-case basis.
Benefits are cumulative and grow as donations are made at each level