JAMESTOWN — The National Comedy Center will add a historic Johnny Carson archive to its collection of legendary comedic artifacts.
The new Johnny Carson archive will exhibit in 2021 and 2022 in a partnership with Elkhorn Valley Museum in Nebraska and the Carson Entertainment Group.
Announced Friday on what would have been Carson’s 95th birthday, the NCC will lead preservation of the Carson collection.
The archives include screen-used artifacts, wardrobe, creative documents and awards that will be jointly exhibited by the National Comedy Center and the Elkhorn Valley Museum. The National Comedy Center will oversee the digital preservation and conservation of this historic collection, which chronicles Carson’s early life, career and legendary thirty-year reign as the king of late night television and one of the most beloved personalities in comedy history.
In 2022, the National Comedy Center will celebrate the 60th anniversary of Johnny Carson’s legendary run as the host of The Tonight Show with a new multi-media exhibit: 30 Years of Late Night Television, 30 Years Later — at the National Comedy Center’s state-of-the-art museum.
The exhibit will feature never-before-seen documents and creative papers (including Tonight Show monologues personally annotated by Carson), rare artifacts and wardrobe, and archival video from Carson’s storied television career. Curated selections from The Tonight Show will present a comedic time capsule of world events for three decades, including legendary monologues, classic Carson characters like Carnac the Magnificent, Floyd R. Turbo and Art Fern, and historic performances by many of stand-up comedy’s greatest talents — often seen in their earliest national television appearances.
“Johnny Carson is one of the most beloved and influential late night hosts of all time. For 30 years, Johnny kept the country laughing through good times and bad, while also introducing us to many of the greatest stand-up comedians ever to take the stage,” stated National Comedy Center Executive Director Journey Gunderson. “The story of comedy in America simply cannot be told properly without presenting Johnny Carson’s enormous and invaluable contribution to the art form. We are excited to be partnering with the Elkhorn Valley Museum and Carson Entertainment Group to preserve Johnny’s legacy for generations to come.”