28 Oct Stars of Laugh-In Reunite at National Comedy Center Celebration for Comedy Legend George Schlatter
Immersive Multimedia Theater to be Named in Honor of George and Jolene Schlatter
Los Angeles, CA – October 24, 2022 – The National Comedy Center, the United States’ official cultural institution dedicated to the art form of comedy, honored legendary comedy producer, director and writer George Schlatter and his wife Jolene Schlatter at a star-studded reception at The Comedy Store in West Hollywood on October 23rd, which featured a reunion of Laugh-In stars Lily Tomlin, Goldie Hawn and Jo Anne Worley, plus Bill Maher and many other artists who have worked with or been inspired by Schlatter over his six-decade career in comedy and entertainment.
Journey Gunderson, National Comedy Center executive director, announced at the event that the National Comedy Center’s new immersive multimedia theater within the museum will be named in honor of the Schlatters. The George and Jolene Brand Schlatter Theatre will immerse museum visitors in exhibit experiences showcasing comedy’s significant artists and bodies of work, including a new retrospective on George Schlatter’s career and indelible legacy in comedy opening in 2023.
The National Comedy Center’s non-profit mission is to present the vital story of comedy and preserve its heritage for future generations. The museum in Jamestown, NY—the hometown of Lucille Ball—is one of the most interactive, and technologically-advanced in the world, showcasing comedy’s great minds and unique voices with immersive exhibits and exclusive collections that engage, inspire, educate and entertain. It was named the “Best New Museum” in the country by USA Today and one of the “World’s Greatest Places” by TIME magazine.
“The National Comedy Center is an American treasure,” stated George Schlatter. “Jolene and I are so grateful to be honored by this vital cultural institution, which embodies our belief in the importance and impact of comedy as a true art form. This has been main focus of my life’s work, so we are thrilled that the National Comedy Center will continue to present and preserve comedy’s greatest legacies for future generations as well as serve as a resource for new and upcoming comedic artists.”
“The National Comedy Center doesn’t merely enshrine artists like George; it celebrates their contributions to a vital and ever-evolving art form,” stated National Comedy Center executive director Journey Gunderson. “So, today we are here to ensure that we’ll always recognize and remember—for generations to come—the impact of George Schlatter’s work.
“George knows that comedy is an art form worthy of reverence, and he expects others to take it as seriously as he does. He has done so much to elevate comedy and to raise the level of its cultural esteem.
“Laugh-In shifted the orbit of the art form and sent it in new directions. The show awakened the nation and created an entirely new comic sensibility, whose impacts are still felt in comedy being created today.
“The American Comedy Awards was George’s clearest expression of his career-long commitment to discovering and nurturing comedy’s greatest talents. The Awards were an unprecedented opportunity for comedians to come together in mutual celebration of their craft—and to do so on a grand scale that respected the art form’s rigor and import,” added Gunderson.
The venue for Sunday’s event had special significance, since The Comedy Store is the former site of the renowned Ciro’s nightclub where Schlatter launched his show business career as the greeter, booker and the “Executive in Charge of Emergency Departures” over 65 years ago.
George Schlatter changed the face of television when he created and produced the landmark sketch comedy series Laugh-In. Throughout his long and storied career, he also created and produced the TV series Real People, produced the first five years of the Grammy Awards, and hundreds of hours of variety series and specials featuring many of comedy and music’s biggest stars, as well as two Presidential inaugural opening ceremonies. Schlatter has received numerous honors and awards including 25 Emmy nominations, and three Emmy awards, plus Television Critics Association Awards, NAACP Image Awards, Golden Globes, the Directors Guild Award, and the Producers Guild “Man of The Year.”
As the creator and producer of The American Comedy Awards, Schlatter was a pioneer in honoring and celebrating comedic artists and performances that stand the test of time. The American Comedy Awards was the first award show to honor comedy as an art form, running for 15 years.
Schlatter is also a founding Advisory Board member of the National Comedy Center.
Jolene Brand Schlatter’s acting career included her work with Ernie Kovacs, becoming a regular on the comedy innovator’s TV shows in 1961. Jolene was a series regular in Desilu Productions’ Guestward, Ho! and played Zorro’s only girlfriend in Disney’s 1957-59 cult classic, Zorro. She is credited as the creative force who came up with the catchphrase “Sock It to Me” for Laugh-In and joins husband George on the National Comedy Center’s Advisory Board.
The National Comedy Center is the United States’ official cultural institution and museum dedicated to presenting the vital story of comedy and preserving its heritage for future generations, as formally designated by the U.S. Congress. Opened in 2018, the museum complex encompasses 37,000-square-feet of space in Lucille Ball’s hometown of Jamestown, NY. The Center has collaborated with dozens of artists and estates to preserve materials that represent comedy’s significant artistic, social, and political contributions to American culture, including collections illustrating the careers of legendary artists including Betty White, Carl Reiner, George Carlin Johnny Carson, Lenny Bruce and The Smothers Brothers, and the development of groundbreaking creative work such as sketch comedy series In Living Color. The Center’s Carl Reiner Department of Archives and Preservation is an incubator for comedy history and a resource for educating artists, students, scholars, and the public about comedy’s great minds and unique voices. The Department leads research, conservation, and exhibition activities including acquiring artifacts, documents, and audiovisual materials that chronicle the story of comedy across all genres and eras of the art form.
The National Comedy Center is a 501(c)(3) non-profit cultural institution whose mission is funded by philanthropic support. Donations and grants support the museum and its work to present the vital story of comedy and preserve its heritage for future generations. Visit comedycenter.org.
About the National Comedy Center
The National Comedy Center is the United States’ official cultural institution and museum dedicated to presenting the vital story of comedy and preserving its heritage for future generations, as formally designated by the U.S. Congress. Opened in 2018 in Jamestown, New York, the museum complex offers an unprecedented, immersive visitor experience using state-of-the-art technology, interactivity and personalization.
USA Today named the National Comedy Center the “Best New Museum in the Country, TIME magazine named it one of its “World’s Greatest Places” and U.S. News & World Report selected it as one of the “25 Top Family Weekend Getaways in the U.S.,” while Condé Nast Traveler called the National Comedy Center “one of the best museums in the country,” and People magazine named it one of “100 Reasons to Love America.”
In 2021, the National Comedy Center was featured in The New York Times, on CBS Saturday Morning, CBS Sunday Morning and on NBC’s TODAY Show, which called it “the Smithsonian of Comedy.”
Visitors from all 50 states and eighteen countries have given the Center a rare 5/5 raring on TripAdvisor, ranking among the highest in the attraction and tourism industry.
Based on the vision of Jamestown native Lucille Ball for her hometown to become a destination for comedy, the non-profit National Comedy Center showcases comedy’s great minds and unique voices in ways that engage, inspire, educate and entertain. The Comedy Center’s mission is to provide education on the comedic arts in the form of commentary and contextualization of its bodies of work across all eras and genres of the art form.
The National Comedy Center has collaborated with dozens of artists and estates to preserve materials that represent comedy’s significant artistic, social, and political contributions to American culture including collections illustrating the careers of legendary artists like George Carlin, Lucille Ball and Desi Arnaz, Lenny Bruce, The Smothers Brothers, Betty White, and the development of groundbreaking creative work such as sketch comedy series In Living Color, Saturday Night Live and more. Two new exhibits opened this past summer – Johnny Carson: The Immersive Experience Hosted by Jimmy Fallon, a multi-screen theater presentation celebrating Johnny Carson’s 30 years hosting The Tonight Show 30 years later, and Carl Reiner: Keep Laughing, a multi-media, interactive exhibit that honors and celebrates Carl Reiner during his centennial year.
Within the Comedy Center’s museum galleries, more than 50 interactive exhibits and immersive experiences employ cutting-edge technology to present the story of comedy from its origins to the present day – using archival documents, artifacts, and media as their core. Its educational programming on the art form has featured George Lopez, Tiffany Haddish, Margaret Cho, Norman Lear, Debra Messing, Rain Pryor, Jay Leno, Kenan Thompson, Gabriel Iglesias, Ben Stiller, John Cleese, Jimmy Fallon, Lin-Manuel Miranda, “Weird Al” Yankovic, and many more.
Design for the National Comedy Center was led by the most prominent cultural and interactive design firms in the world, whose portfolios collectively include the award-winning 9/11 Memorial Museum, The National Underground Railroad Freedom Center, SNL: The Experience, and more.
The National Comedy Center operates the Lucille Ball Desi Arnaz Museum, which explores the lives, careers and legacy of the “First Couple of Comedy” and the incredible impact they had on the world, as well as the pioneering role and remarkable influence that I Love Lucy and Desilu Studios had on the entertainment industry for generations to come.
The Lucille Ball Comedy Festival, produced and presented by the National Comedy Center in Jamestown, NY has showcased comedy’s greatest stars and rising young comedians, including Jerry Seinfeld, Trevor Noah, Lily Tomlin, John Mulaney, Jay Leno, Amy Schumer, Sebastian, Maniscalco W. Kamau Bell, Jim Gaffigan, Paula Poundstone, Joan Rivers, and more than one hundred other comedic artists. This past summer, the 2022 festival featured Margaret Cho, Jeff Foxworthy, SNL alumni David Spade, Rob Schneider and Kevin Nealon, and over 50 live events.
The National Comedy Center is a 501(c)(3) non-profit cultural institution whose mission is funded by philanthropic support. Donations and grants support the museum and its work to present the vital story of comedy and preserve its heritage for future generations.