Oct 26, 2023
National Comedy Center new home to Joan Rivers archive; exhibit planned
Can we talk? That was Joan Rivers' signature line, which signaled the start of a
Can we talk?
That was Joan Rivers' signature line, which signaled the start of a sure-fire, thigh-slapping performance from the whacky, snarky, outspoken comedienne who most recently made a career out of fashion criticism on red carpets everywhere.
Her personal archives, including joke cards, tickets to her shows and personal notes about how to handle hecklers, are now preserved at the National Comedy Center in Jamestown, New York.
On Thursday, what would have been her 90th birthday, her daughter Melissa Rivers announced the donation to the museum.
The National Comedy Center plans to unveil an interactive Joan Rivers exhibit in 2025, including an opportunity for guests to explore the joke file, which includes 564 jokes filed under subjects such as PARENTS HATED ME (see: NOT WANTED) and more than 300 within the STEWARDESSES category. In a category called 28 AND SINGLE (see: WEDDINGS), Rivers wrote: "I was left standing at the altar so long my bouquet took root!"; under EDGAR (see: MARRIAGE, HONEYMOON) she wrote: "My honeymoon was a disaster. The next day, he screamed, ‘Don't tell me you can't cook either;’" and in COOKING she recorded a classic line, made famous on one of her 31 "The Ed Sullivan Show" appearances: "If the Lord wanted me to cook, I’d have aluminum hands. These hands were meant to hold charge cards."
Also announced Thursday was the impending release of a four-disc CD set "Joan Rivers ― The Diva Rides Again," which will include 5 hours of previously unreleased recordings, material spanning six decades, as well as a 16-page book of liner notes with never-before-seen photos. The set is available for preorder on Amazon, Target.com and Walmart.com, and will be released Aug. 18 on streaming platforms such as iTunes and Spotify.
More:At National Comedy Center in Jamestown, you're in on the joke with hands-on, personalized exhibits
What: National Comedy Center, the United States' Congressionally-designated comedy archive, maintains a collection of more than 150,000 pieces chronicling the contributions of comedy innovators such as Lucille Ball and Desi Arnaz, George Carlin, The Smothers Brothers, as well as "Saturday Night Live," "In Living Color," and Johnny Carson's "Tonight Show." Artifacts from the careers of dozens of artists, including Charlie Chaplin, Phyllis Diller, Richard Pryor, Eddie Murphy, Gabriel Iglesias and Mindy Kaling are on view on a rotating basis.
Where: 203 W. Second St., Jamestown, New York; 716-484-2222, comedycenter.org
When: The Comedy Center is open Thursdays through Mondays, 10 a.m. to 5 p.m., Tuesdays, 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. (Memorial Day through Labor Day only.) It is closed Wednesdays.
How much: Ticket prices range from free to $33.50. Find details at comedycenter.org/admission/. Special events and fees might be applicable.
Contact Jennie Geisler at [email protected]. Or at 814-870-1885.More: What Where When How much