The National Comedy Center is celebrating the grand opening of its brand new exhibit showcasing the legacy of Johnny Carson and the impact he had on The Tonight Show and the comedy industry.
“The Johnny Carson Immerse Experience is presented in a theatrical environment where visitors are enveloped in history,” Journey Gunderson, director of the National Comedy Center, said. “It takes you on a journey through Johnny Carson’s Tonight Show legacy.”
The exhibit is designed to fully immerse visitors in Johnny Carson’s rich history on The Tonight Show.
Gunderson said visitors will be surrounded by storytelling, media and sound.
The new exhibit will feature Jimmy Fallon as the host of the hologram, providing visitors with a unique experience.
“We actually captured Jimmy Fallon in New York at 30 Rock and filmed him in his studio to host the hologram specifically for the National Comedy Center exhibit in Jamestown,” Gunderson said.“There really is no better host for this than the current host of The Tonight Show who reflects on the man who really set the standard for late night.”
In addition to Jimmy Fallon acting as the exhibit’s hologram host, the National Comedy Center has also collaborated with other comedians and individuals who have been significantly impacted by Carson.
Gunderson said the comedy center conducted original interviews for the show with Steve Martin, Martin Short, Bette Midler, George Wallace, Byron Allen, Jay Leno and others.
The museum exhibit will also feature artifacts from The Tonight Show, including the iconic rainbow curtain that appeared on The Tonight show between 1969 and 1987.
Gunderson thinks the new Johnny Carson exhibit, along with the recently opened Carl Reiner exhibit and the Comedy Center’s award as one of the best new museums in the country, will inspire more people to take an interest in the town of Jamestown.
“This is a national comedy story, and I believe it will only increase visitors’ interest in making the pilgrimage from Jamestown to the National Comedy Center,” she says. “A visit to Jamestown is now at the top of more to-do lists nationwide every day.”
Gunderson also reflected on the impact Carson had on the comedy industry.
“Not only did Carson set the blueprint for what late-night television could and should be, from being the ‘monologue king’ to making a guest interview on the couch something that elevated the career of anyone who happened to be lucky enough to be in that position,” she says.
For three decades, Carson introduced America to new comedians and variety acts who ultimately found success through their performance on The Tonight Show.
“An appearance on The Tonight Show changed a life forever” Gunderson said.
In conjunction with the opening of the National Comedy Center exhibit, Pat Hazell will host a one-night 7 p.m. performance at the Reg Lenna Center for the Arts featuring several acts who appeared on The Tonight Show Starring Johnny Carson.
“The stage show at Reg Lenna on Saturday night will be a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to reflect on The Tonight Show with the people whose lives have been changed and whom America has come to know and love. “, Gunderson said.
Gunderson said the show at Reg Lenna is the perfect way to celebrate the opening of the museum’s exhibit.
“Not only do you hear about people whose lives have been changed, you actually see their performance,” she says.
Some of the artists will recreate their performances from The Tonight Show. The show and exhibit opening will honor Carson’s legacy for the 30th anniversary of his last show.
“It’s going to be a really fun and entertaining evening, both thoughtful and exciting,” Gunderson said.