The United States’ Official Home for Comedy History

The National Comedy Center’s archive is the only national-scale research and conservation facility dedicated to preserving comedy’s heritage. Since its establishment in 2018, the archive has collaborated with numerous artists and estates to preserve and provide access to objects, documents, photographs, and recordings that represent comedy’s great artistic, social, and political contributions to American culture.


The archive is home to over 100,000 objects, including Lucille Ball’s polka dot dress and Lenny Bruce’s typewriter, creative papers from the minds of innovators like George Carlin and Betty White, and production records from the writers’ rooms of landmark series like In Living Color and Saturday Night Live. In addition to its preservation activities, the archive supports exhibit development, academic research, and educational outreach initiatives across the organization.


In March 2021, the archive was renamed in honor of founding advisory board member and comedy legend Carl Reiner, whose own comprehensive career archives joined the permanent collections.

Explore More from the Archives (click to advance)

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:
National Comedy Center Anywhere

Contributors to Archival Collections and Exhibits Include:

  • Alan and Robin Zweibel, Saturday Night Live Collections
  • The Andy Kaufman Memorial Trust
  • Billy Crystal
  • Bob Booker
  • Carl Reiner and Family
  • Carol Burnett & Bob Mackie
  • Carson Entertainment Group, Johnny Carson Collections
  • Dan Aykroyd
  • Desilu, Too & Estate of Lucille Ball and Desi Arnaz
  • Dr. Demento
  • The Ernie Kovacs and Edie Adams Estate
  • Gabriel “Fluffy” Iglesias
  • The Garry Shandling Estate
  • George Schlatter
  • George Shapiro and Jerry Seinfeld
  • Georgiana Guy-Rodrigues and the Rose Marie Estate
  • The Harold Ramis Family
  • Joan Dangerfield, Rodney Dangerfield Collections
  • The John Rich Estate
  • The Jonathan Winters Family
  • Kelly Carlin & the George Carlin Estate
  • The Lenny Bruce Memorial Foundation
  • Lewis Black
  • Lily Tomlin and Jane Wagner
  • Mark and Alison Russell
  • Marx Brothers, Inc. and Bill Marx
  • Melissa Rivers and the Joan Rivers Estate
  • NBCUniversal Archives, Eddie Murphy Collections
  • Paramount Pictures, Richard Pryor Collections
  • Paul and Christine Anderson, Brad Anderson Collections
  • Paul Feig
  • The Red Skelton Museum of American Comedy
  • Richard Lewis
  • Robert Sherman and the Allan Sherman Estate
  • Rusty Warren and Elizabeth Rizzo
  • Sarah and Shelley Berman
  • Tamara Rawitt
  • Tommy and Dick Smothers
  • Upright Citizens Brigade
  • Weird Al Yankovic


Contributors to archival interviews include:
Bill Burr, Billy Crystal, Conan O’Brien, Danny DeVito, Gabriel Iglesias, George Lopez, Gilbert Gottfried, Janeane Garofalo, Jay Leno, Jeff Foxworthy, Jimmy Fallon, Judd Apatow, Keegan-Michael Key, Kenan Thompson, Larry David, Margaret Cho, Mike Myers, Mo’Nique, Norman Lear, Patton Oswalt, Ray Romano, Robert Klein, Samantha Bee, Sarah Silverman, Sebastian Maniscalco, Tiffany Haddish, Tommy Davidson, Weird Al Yankovic and many others.


Please contact [email protected] 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.

Support the Preservation of Comedy History

Please contact [email protected]

“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

Support the
Preservation of Comedy’s Heritage

All donations above $50 will be recognized in an honor roll on the Carl Reiner Department of Archives & Preservation webpage.
Donors to the Carl Reiner Department of Archives and Preservation will receive the following benefits:

Benefits are cumulative and grow as donations are made at each level

  • $50 (and up)
    Access to a quarterly Archives and Preservation e-newsletter
  • $100 (and up)
    Named recognition on the Carl Reiner Department of Archives and Preservation website & receive a NCC tshirt
  • $250 (and up)
    Two (2) complimentary admission passes to the National Comedy Center and Lucy Desi Museum (one-time use)
  • $500 (and up)
    Two (2) Annual (for one year) memberships
  • $1,000 (and up)
    Permanent naming recognition inside the National Comedy Center’s galleries
  • $5,000 (and up)
    Private National Comedy Center gallery and archives tour
  • $10,000 (and up)
    Permanent naming on the National Comedy Center’s Founders Wall
  • In addition to the benefits above donors at:
  • $30,000 (and up)
    will also have a Permanently Named Internship within the Carl Reiner Department of Archives and Preservation
  • $50,000 (and up)
    will also receive a Permanently Named Fellowship within the Carl Reiner Department of Archives and Preservation
  • $100,000 (and up)
    will also receive a Permanently Named Staff Position within the Carl Reiner Department of Archives and Preservation