National Comedy Center in Jamestown, NY, acquires George Carlin’s archives

“A place for his stuff.”

That’s how Kelly Carlin shared the news last night with friends. Carlin shared a lot more at a public event last night at the Paley Center for Media in New York City, where the National Comedy Center convened a special panel of all-star comedians to discuss satire and celebrate its acquisition of George Carlin’s archives.

The event and acquisition also timed as close as possible to the late legendary comedian’s birthday. George Carlin, who died in 2008, would have been 79 tomorrow.

“There comes a time in one’s life when it’s time to let go of our parent’s stuff,” Kelly Carlin said. “For me this has been a literal process. Through the writing of my memoir and touring my solo show, I’ve gotten to be with my father in many ways, and let go of, honor and transform our past together. I am truly excited that there will be a place for my dad’s stuff—permanently. The folks at the National Comedy Center are thoughtful, respectful and excited about the art of comedy. I can think of no other place for my dad’s legacy to be permanently honored, archived and preserved for future generations.”

Material, clippings, jokes and more saved up by the comedian over 50-plus years will go into the National Comedy Center’s planned museum in Jamestown, NY — scheduled to open in 2017. The museum is a major expansion in constructing a new center separate from the Lucille Ball-Desi Arnez Center for Comedy there — Ball’s hometown already has hosted the Lucille Ball Comedy Festival for years there, and this year’s fest from Aug. 4-7, 2016, will feature Lewis Black, Trevor Noah, Brian Regan, a panel with the Farrelly Brothers and more.

Last year’s groundbreaking for the museum coincided with the festival and featured Jerry Seinfeld, David Letterman’s creative team, and families of Milton Berle, Joan Rivers, Harold Ramis and Carlin.

Kelly Carlin previously told The Comic’s Comic about going through his boxes and boxes (“My dad left me lots of shit. And I use the word ‘shit’ because it’s his stuff, not mine. So it’s shit.”) and how she has mined her own experiences with her father into a memoir and one-woman show. Carlin told me last night that the first posthumous CD of her father’s previously unreleased live material should be released in the fall. Here’s one previously unreleased clip of George Carlin talking about organization names.

One thing you won’t see or hear among the archives at the National Comedy Center next year: A George Carlin hologram.

Though the center previously announced a partnership with Hologram USA to install a “Hologram Comedy Club” in the new museum in Jamestown featuring glowing images of dead comedians performing iconic material in a club setting once more, Kelly Carlin told me that’s not going to include her own father.

Here are some of the things you will see in the National Comedy Center’s George Carlin Archives, though.

A scribbled and edited word-for-word transcript for a planned Late Night with David Letterman in 1992.


A handwritten set list for his final performance on The Ed Sullivan Show in 1971.


The official charges filed against Carlin in 1972 after Milwaukee police arrested him for swearing during his Summerfest performance.


“George Carlin helped redefine the art form of stand-up comedy and we are honored to help steward his legacy in this way. With this incredible archive we can provide a window into his creative process for generations to come,” said Journey Gunderson, the National Comedy Center’s executive director.

Gunderson helped welcome Robert Klein, Larry Wilmore, Lewis Black and Lizz Winstead to the Paley Center last night for a panel on “Satire and Democracy,” moderated by author Kliph Nesteroff (“The Comedians”), who’ll also serve as chief curator for the Jamestown museum.

The National Comedy Center is a non-profit backed by public and private funds, including so far more than $3.5 million from New York State, Empire State Development and I Love NY™.

Sean L. McCarthy

Editor and publisher since 2007, when he was named New York's Funniest Reporter. Former newspaper reporter at the New York Daily News, Boston Herald and smaller dailies and community papers across America. Loves comedy so much he founded this site.

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