Comedy Center Exhibit Highlights Carl Reiner’s Career | News, Sports, Jobs


The National Comedy Center honored Carl Reiner’s legacy by hosting a ribbon-cutting ceremony for its latest exhibit featuring iconic moments from Reiner’s career in comedy. Photo of PJ by Timothy Frudd

The National Comedy Center in Jamestown held a ribbon-cutting ceremony on Wednesday for its new exhibit honoring the legacy of Carl Reiner.

Reiner’s family visited the Comedy Center and participated in the ceremony. Rob, Lucas and Annie Reiner also shared memories of their father’s prestigious career.

The Comedy Center has unveiled the new exhibit featuring iconic moments from Reiner’s career on the occasion of his 100th anniversary. Her children hope the exhibit will help continue the legacy of Reiner, who died in June 2020.

“I can’t thank you enough for being here,” Journey Gunderson, National Comedy Center, executive director, said Wednesday. “It has been a remarkable experience for our team to process, preserve and now present over 75 boxes of material from one of the most prolific comedic minds the world will ever know.”

Gunderson commented on the career of Reiner, who was an actor, director, screenwriter and comedian who won 11 Emmy Awards and a Grammy Award. Reiner’s career included such popular works as “Your Show of Shows”, “The Dick Van Dyke Show” and the Grammy winner “2000 year old man.”

“Carl Reiner’s more than seven decades in comedy have been remarkable not only for their consistency, but also for their longevity and their ability to inspire legions of performers for generations to come,” Gunderson said. “Carl Reiner’s gift to us all is a witty, intelligent, light-hearted and ultimately very human comedy.”

Reiner served on the advisory board of the National Comedy Center until his death.

“It was a privilege for the National Comedy Center to have him on our advisory board,” Gunderson said. “We were privileged to have Carl as a founding member of the National Comedy Center Advisory Board.”

Reiner’s impact on comedy inspired the name of the comedy center’s preservation department.

Lucas Reiner expressed the family’s gratitude for the center’s exhibit. “This place is like a mecca for comedians and my dad is very happy to be here,” he said. “I’m sure he’s in this room right now. It’s just an honor to be here.

Pictured, left to right, Rob, Annie and Lucas Reiner at a ribbon-cutting ceremony Wednesday for a new exhibit about Carl Reiner at the National Comedy Center in Jamestown. The three siblings shared memories of their father, who died in 2020. PJ Photos by Timothy Frudd

Annie Reiner said the exhibit was a touching tribute to her father. “He was funny, we all know that, but this show reminded me of what a sweet man he was,” she says.

She said her father was a successful and famous comedian for many decades because of the way he connected with people.

“I think it’s because he had this very open heart and that was who he was,” she says. “I think it touched people and drew them to him.”

Rob Reiner echoed his sister’s comments and said his father was loved and respected by everyone.

“He was a really lovely man” he said. “I said when he passed away two years ago, that in all my life I’ve never met anyone who had a bad word to say about him. He was just the nicest man.

Rob Reiner said the family bought a television so they could watch their dad on “Show of shows”.

“He started on television in the late 1940s.” he said. “The truth is he was on TV before we owned a TV.”

He shared a memory of how his father would signal to his children that he loved them even on camera. “He said, ‘I’m not allowed to wave. They don’t like me waving at them. But you’ll see, I’ll do like that with my tie. I’ll straighten my tie and I’ll be the one to tell you I love you and go to bed. said Rob Reiner.

Before cutting the ribbon for the featured exhibit, Rob Reiner expressed the family’s excitement over their participation in the ceremony honoring their father’s legacy.

“We’re really excited to be here,” he said. “It’s a great honor for him.”

After the dedication ceremony, the Reiner family spoke to reporters about Carl Reiner’s lasting legacy and the National Comedy Center’s touching tribute. Rob Reiner said his father’s career wasn’t just about being famous or making people laugh.

“He wanted everyone to be happy” he said. “His main goal in life was to make people happy, to make them laugh, to have a good time, so this museum and exhibit will do that for people.”

Annie Reiner told reporters that the exhibit was very personal to her. “It was extremely moving for me to see him again and to see his whole life again,” said Annie Reiner. “Just seeing that he’s still in the world means a lot.”

Rob Reiner explained that his father’s comedic platform allowed him to touch the lives of millions.

“He touched so many people” he said. “Obviously we’re his children, so we have the most emotional connection, but you look at Dick Van Dyke and Steve Martin and Mel Brooks and all the people he worked with and how he touched their lives and then that ultimately touches everyone’s life.”

Annie Reiner explained that she learned from her father’s life that comedy is not just about making people laugh and that it is fundamental in everyday life.

“Comedy is really about telling the truth in a way that people can tolerate,” she says. “We need other ways to speak truths that no one can bear. He was very good with that, and in his whole life he lived that. Anything bad that happened, he could always defuse.

Lucas Reiner said his father used comedy to express the truth about humanity.

“The fallibility of human beings was something he constantly emphasized,” he said. “I think he found a fun and creative way to express that.”

Rob Reiner said one of his father’s biggest roles was serving as an MC for events around the world.

“He was the MC of the world” he said. “I have never seen anyone more brilliant. I’ve seen it hundreds of times. He never failed. He could crawl to the line and almost never crossed it. He knew the audience. He voiced what everyone was going through, and the place would explode.

The Chautauqua institution also held a celebration of Reiner’s legacy on Wednesday night. Pat Hazell hosted the event, with special video tributes from Dick Van Dyke, Steve Martin, Lily Tomlin, Mel Brooks and Bette Midler. The event highlighted Reiner’s comedy career and provided special memories of his children, Rob, Lucas and Annie.

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