Culture

George Carlin Hologram to 'Headline' National Museum of Comedy [UPDATED]

(AP Photo/E Pablo Kosmicki)

CORRECTION: A PUBLICIST FOR THE MUSEUM EMAILED PJ MEDIA AND SAID THE FOLLOWING:

The Hollywood Reporter and Rolling Stone articles have been updated, George Carlin WILL NOT be a hologram as part of the Hologram Comedy Club. We released this statement last night:

The National Comedy Center has no plans for a George Carlin hologram at the forthcoming museum. The Center announced the acquisition of the George Carlin archives. Kliph Nesteroff was mistaken in his interpretation of the forthcoming exhibit experience components, two of which do include a hologram theater, and an interactive George Carlin exhibit featuring material from his extensive archive.

(Original post below)

Stand-up has always existed on the fringes of the performing arts. We’re the cousins everyone likes to have around for entertainment value at parties but when it’s all over they want us to leave in a hurry to make sure none of the weirdness rubs off. We were generally socially maladjusted kids who became funny because it required less effort than transitioning into serial killing. Comics are a rag-tag bunch who aren’t well understood by “normal” people largely because we don’t always understand ourselves.

Still, as an art form (many dispute that it is, but I’m a believer–see if Bono can write a joke) it endures, especially in the United States, and it looks like we’re about to become a little more legit.

If you’re going to build an expensive humor museum — the first ever of its kind, as the state of New York is doing — better tap someone good to oversee the place. Enter the National Museum of Comedy — a $50 million-plus campus in Jamestown, where Lucille Ball was born — and enter the comedy historian Kliph Nesteroff. The author of the recent book The Comedians: Drunks, Thieves, Scoundrels and the History of American Comedy (audiobook and paperback out Nov. 8) was recently named chief curator.

That’s right, people, we have an official historian and soon we will have a museum. The best part is that they’ve booked a heavyweight to headline:

The main gimmick to bring people to Jamestown — which you may imagine is not an easy thing to convince people to do — is the George Carlin hologram. So they’re building this fake comedy club in one corner and George will be onstage, performing like old times. The Carlin estate is partly sponsoring the museum, and the museum has just acquired Carlin’s archives — he’s the credibility here. People have tried to do comedy museums before and failed. When you hear “comedy museum” and you’re a comedian, your first thought isn’t, “Oh, that’s cool,” it’s “Oh, that sounds terrible.” But in the comedy community, there are very few who would say that weren’t influenced by George Carlin. It helps.

It’s probably a “fake comedy club” because it doesn’t smell of beer and shame and the headlining hologram is getting paid well. Bachelorette parties will still probably descend on the place and be too loud every Saturday night, though.

Seriously (I mean that), if you’re going to pick one guy to be your hologram headliner, Carlin is one of the only sound choices to make. Along with Richard Pryor, Carlin took Lenny Bruce’s raw, honest approach to comedy, refined it, and completely transformed stand-up. Carlin’s brilliantly funny observations on the English language also give much of his humor a timeless quality.

This venture seems to be properly planned and funded, so I hope it will all become a reality. If it ends up being a dysfunctional mess, well, that will a be a tribute to stand-up too.