Statement from Journey Gunderson, Executive Director

Statement from Journey Gunderson, Executive Director

The National Comedy Center finished a close second out of 20 for the USA Today “Best New Attraction” in the country award. After spending time in the lead spot, #2 is, incidentally, a polite word for how I initially felt about not finishing #1, but let’s look at all the reasons we should still be high-fiving this outstanding achievement.

Top Ten Reasons to be thrilled about the USA Today Top Ten Outcome

10.  We were nominated “Best New Attraction” in the country by a panel of nationally-recognized travel experts, and took 2nd out of 20, period.

9.  We rallied an enormous amount of positive energy around this, together, as a community — from the regional community to the comedy community jumping behind this – from our Visitors Bureau, Chamber and every attraction and hotel in Chautauqua County offering support; to local schools and colleges; dozens of companies, tons of private citizens, state officials, “I Love NY” and “Visit Buffalo Niagara;” comedy and entertainment leaders and comedy fans throughout the country; and, of course, our dedicated board and staff.  This was fun.

8.  Jamestown, the home of the National Comedy Center, is one of the smallest metro areas of any nominee.  The fact that we finished second in the nation is pride-worthy.  This community was up against cities like Tulsa (population 950,000), Chicago, Orlando, New York City, St. Louis, etc.

7.  We finished as the top new museum attraction on the list.

6.  We finished as the top ticketed attraction on the list.

5.  We spent considerable time in the #1 spot.  (…“Glory days…”)

4.  We are genuinely thrilled that an attraction like “Gathering Place for Tulsa” (#1) exists.  A FREE, $465 million, 100-acre public multi-park attraction with a 5-acre playground, lodge, boathouse, skate park, slide and water parks, etc. (seriously, have you seen this place?) is extraordinarily special and our hat is off to Tulsa and the George Kaiser Family Foundation for making this a reality.  …Mr. Kaiser, do you by chance enjoy… comedy?

3.  We were bolstered and beyond enthused to see quotes like these appear on the USA Today 10Best Voting page about the National Comedy Center: “My family and I visited a few weeks ago and it is one of the coolest things that I have ever experienced.”

2.  Yes, #2 and tremendously proud of it: The comedy world has a long and treasured history of much beloved and iconic “Second Bananas.” Who doesn’t love Harvey Korman and Tim Conway?

1.  Now it’s official, as if we all didn’t already know: We have one of the best new attractions in the nation right here in Jamestown, New York, and this contest has only increased national visibility for what an extraordinary, blockbuster, fun experience it is for everyone who visits.  The story of comedy lives HERE.

I am proud, appreciative and moved.  Thank you for your support.

Journey Gunderson, Executive Director