National Comedy Center in Jamestown reaches funding goal

CONTRIBUTED PHOTO Construction on the National Comedy Center in Jamestown continues. Ground was broken on the project in 2015.

JAMESTOWN, N.Y. (WIVB) – Jamestown will soon become a destination for those who like to laugh.

All of the capital funding for the new National Comedy Center planned for Jamestown has been secured, the group behind the project confirmed Friday.

The group just closed on a Federal New Markets Tax Credit transaction which will provide the project with $5 million of equity funding. The project also received a $3 million grant from the Ralph C. Wilson, Jr. Foundation in April and a $5 million grant from New York State which was unveiled as part of the Buffalo Billion II program.

The National Comedy Center is being billed as the first “national-scale, non-profit cultural institution and visitor experience dedicated to comedy”.

The center will be comprised of a 35,000 sq. ft. exhibit experience and museum which is currently under construction following a 2015 groundbreaking. The center will also feature a year-round calendar of live performance and discussion-leading comedy programming, as well as an educational component to support aspiring artists and providing education in the comedic arts.

“We are thrilled that our capital campaign has been successful and that we can now focus our attention on making this world class attraction come to life”, said Tom Benson, project chairman.

The National Comedy Center has a goal of opening in 2018.


The Project has received $4,359,000 in funding from Empire State Development and New York State Office of Parks, Recreation and Historic Preservation, through rounds four, five and six of the Regional Economic Development Council Initiative. The U.S. Department of Commerce also provided nearly $2 million in grant funding for the Project through its Economic Development Administration program.

 The Gebbie Foundation has been the lead private source of funding, along with the John R. Oishei Foundation, Chautauqua Region Community Foundation, Lenna Foundation, Ralph C. Sheldon Foundation, Johnson Foundation, the Jessie Smith Darrah Fund, and various private donors. provides commenting to allow for constructive discussion on the stories we cover. In order to comment here, you acknowledge you have read and agreed to our Terms of Service. Commenters who violate these terms, including use of vulgar language or racial slurs, will be banned. Please be respectful of the opinions of others. If you see an inappropriate comment, please flag it for our moderators to review. Note: Comments containing links are not allowed.

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