Tribute and exhibition in honor of the legendary Johnny Carson | News, Sports, Jobs

Johnny Carson’s “Tonight Show” is presented at the National Comedy Center in Jamestown.

JAMESTOWN — The National Comedy Center will present Carson Tonight: Johnny’s Comedy and Variety Acts Live!, an onstage comedy and variety tribute to The Tonight Show of Johnny Carson, Saturday at the Reg Lenna Center for the Arts.

The event also marks the official opening of the National Comedy Center’s new multi-screen exhibit, Johnny Carson: The Immersive Experience, celebrating Carson’s career and legacy at the museum.

A roster of talented performers and personalities from Carson’s 30-year run night reconnects in Jamestown on Saturday. Hosted by Seinfeld writer Pat Hazell, who conceived the idea and starred on Carson’s Tonight Show in 1989, the show will feature master magician Lance Burton, comedian Cathy Ladman, ventriloquist Jay Johnson, l wildlife expert Joan Embery, champion storyteller Don Reed, The Passing Zone juggling team Jon Wee and Owen Morse, Mighty Carson art player Teresa Ganzel and Jeff Sotzing, president of Carson Entertainment Group.

“Throughout Johnny’s 30 years on The Tonight Show, he’s loved showcasing exceptional talent – from stand-up comedy to magic to variety of all kinds,” said Sotzing, who is also a former producer on Carson’s Tonight Show. “What a joy it will be to reunite with such a stellar guest list from The Tonight Show as we remember and honor Johnny at the National Comedy Center, and to open this state-of-the-art exhibit celebrating his extraordinary career.”

See CARSON, Page A3

Featured guests include:

¯ Magician Lance Burton has spent three decades as a headliner in Las Vegas, performing more than 15,000 shows. Carson once said of Burton, “A beautiful class number. The best I have ever seen.

¯ Cathy Ladman made nine appearances on The Tonight Show and won an American Comedy Award for Best Female Comic

¯ Jay Johnson, a Tony Award-winning ventriloquist and comedian best known for playing the roles of Bob & Chuck on the television series Soap.

¯ Joan Embery raises awareness of animal and wildlife conservation through her books, tours and television appearances. She was one of Carson’s favorite guests and appeared with him over 70 times on The Tonight Show.

¯ The Passing Zone juggling duo were finalists on America’s Got Talent and are regulars on Penn & Teller’s: Fool Us. They deliver high-octane entertainment filled with laughs and wild stunts.

¯ Don Reed is a comedic storyteller who was awarded Best Performance of the Year by NPR’s Snap Judgment in 2016.

¯ Teresa Ganzel made numerous appearances with Carson as the Matinee Lady member of the popular “Tea Time Movie” sketches.

“As we mark the 30th anniversary of Johnny’s last Tonight Show, this National Comedy Center event is such a special way to salute Johnny and the incredible performers he showcased every night at 11:30 p.m.,” Hazel said. “We are thrilled to bring together such a talented group for a one night only celebration, as we relive the laughter and magic of that incredible era of late night television. Each of these performers are the absolute best in this what he does – comedians, magicians, ventriloquists, jugglers – they are all remarkably and uniquely talented.And when Johnny Carson introduced them, there was no doubt that he lit the rocket for their careers – there was no better stamp of approval or more important way to shine than on Johnny’s Tonight Show Most of these artists were brought back to the show multiple times because Johnny really liked what they could do, as did viewers of the country.

Tickets for this event are available at


The National Comedy Center is celebrating the Carson within its museum this summer with a new multi-screen exhibit, marking the 60th anniversary of his extraordinary run as host of NBC’s The Tonight Show, as well as of the 30th anniversary of its last broadcast. . Johnny Carson: The Immersive Experience will officially open Saturday at the National Comedy Center’s state-of-the-art theater, but a “preview” of the exhibition in development is now presented within the museum.

This new theatrical experience includes 30 digital projection screens that surround the audience, along with newly improved holographic technology. Video presentations will include interviews with Steve Martin, Martin Short, Bette Midler, Jay Leno, Mel Brooks, Billy Crystal, Byron Allen, George Lopez, Carol Leifer, George Wallace, Paula Poundstone, Conan O’Brien, Sebastian Maniscalco and more , along with archival video from Carson’s Tonight Show, including legendary Carson monologues and classic Carson characters like Carnac the Magnificent, Floyd R. Turbo and Art Fern. Historic Tonight Show performances from many of stand-up comedy’s biggest talents will also be featured.

The National Comedy Center exhibit will not only showcase Carson’s career, but also highlight The Tonight Show’s formative and pivotal role as the most influential platform for stand-up comedy in the three decades in which Carson served as the show’s host.

A special highlight of the exhibit is a display of Tonight Show artifacts and wardrobe in the galleries of the Comedy Center, including part of the original and iconic Tonight Show rainbow curtain, the wardrobe Johnny’s dress for classic characters Art Fern and Floyd R. Turbo, a jacket worn by Tonight Show frontman Doc Severinsen, and the dress worn by Bette Midler during her memorable appearance as Johnny’s Tonight Show’s final guest .

Sotzing, president of Carson Entertainment Group and nephew of Carson, provided the Comedy Center with rare Carson creative documents and papers for the center’s permanent archival collection. Sotzing has held several production roles on The Tonight Show and has managed Johnny Carson’s legacy and program licensing since Carson’s retirement in 1992.

“Johnny Carson is one of the most beloved and influential late night entertainers of all time. For 30 years, Johnny has made the country laugh in good times and bad, while introducing us to many of the greatest stand-up comedians to ever take the stage,” said Journey Gunderson, executive director of the National Comedy Center. “The history of comedy in America simply cannot be told properly without showcasing Johnny Carson’s enormous and invaluable contribution to the art form. We are thrilled to partner with Carson Entertainment Group to usher in this new experience. immersive and preserve Johnny’s legacy for generations to come.

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