In the 1970s, the Library of Congress decided to take comedy seriously and begin efforts to record and preserve its history. They selected a young producer by the name of Tony Belmont to record interviews and gather material from as many great comedians as possible.
In 1987, Belmont and comedians Steve Allen and Morey Amsterdam wanted to continue the task of preserving comedy. They realized that many of the older generations of comedians were passing away and all of their props, routines, and other materials was being relegated to estate sales, flea markets, and dumpsters. Together they launched the National Comedy Hall of Fame & Museum.
Today, the museum’s collection resides in what was a former bank on the first floor of a building in Holiday, Florida. The vault has been converted into a small theatre where visitors can view thousands of hours of rare films, interviews, and other videos.
The collection includes featured sections on many of comedy’s most famous pioneers, from Amos and Andy to Abbot & Costello, the Three Stooges, The Little Rascals, Charlie Chaplin, Don Knotts, Richard Pryor, Eddie Murphy, Lucille Ball, Phyllis Diller, Robin Williams, George Carlin and a great many more.
The museum is home to a staggering quantity of material including over 600 radio shows and more than 10,000 books, not to mention many one-of-a-kind objects such as “The Thinker” statue from the Dobie Gillis Show
The National Comedy Hall of Fame also hosts well-known comedians throughout the year for special appearances. It also contains a small gift shop where visitors can stock up on classic gags like rubber chickens and whoopee cushions. Plans are underway to expand and convert the space next-door into a comedy club.
Know Before You Go
Hours are Thu-Sat 10:00 a.m.- 5:00 p.m. and Sun 12:00 p.m.- 5:00 p.m.
(Last tickets are usually sold by 4:00 p.m.)
Admission rates are:
Senior, Military & Student: $10
Annual Pass: $50
Group Discounts available. Call (727)-541-7876 for details.
Promotions cannot be stacked with other discounts.