The National Comedy Center's George Carlin exhibit, where visitors can explore the late comedian's archives of notes and other material, as seen July 24, 2018.
AP Photo/Carolyn Thompson
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Comedian Billy Crystal asks the question in a video that welcomes visitors to the National Comedy Center.It may be as good a reason as any for the construction of the high-tech new center devoted to what has made people laugh from Vaudeville to now.The nonprofit center in Jamestown was inspired by hometown hero, Lucille Ball, who envisioned a place where comedy would be celebrated as an art form. The city of about 30,000 people in the southwest corner of New York already is home to the annual Lucille Ball Comedy Festival and the Lucille Ball Desi Arnaz Museum.The 3,437-square-meter, $50 million center received $9 million in funding from New York State, along with private and federal support."Comedy is important to celebrate as an art form because it's not been celebrated at all, ever," comedian Lewis Black says on the center's welcoming video. He is part of the center's largely celebrity advisory board, along with Gaffigan, Carl Reiner, Laraine Newman, W. Kamau Bell, Paula Poundstone and others.
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