National Comedy Center to Name Theater in Honor of George and Jolene Brand Schlatter

George and Jolene Brand Schlatter

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National Comedy Center

The National Comedy Center will celebrate legendary comedy producer, director and writer George Schlatter and his wife, former actress Jolene Brand Schlatter, during this year’s Lucille Ball Comedy Festival by naming the Center’s state-of-the-art multimedia theater in their honor. The George and Jolene Brand Schlatter Theater will immerse museum visitors in exhibit experiences showcasing comedy’s significant artists and bodies of work.

George Schlatter changed the face of television when he created and produced the landmark sketch comedy series Laugh-In. The #1 show in America during the height of the countercultural movement, Laugh-In launched powerful comedic voices like Lily Tomlin and influenced generations of future sketch shows like Saturday Night Live and In Living Color.

“The National Comedy Center is an American treasure,” stated George Schlatter. “Jolene and I are so grateful to be honored by this vital cultural institution, which embodies our belief in the importance and impact of comedy as a true art form. This has been main focus of my life’s work, so we are thrilled that the National Comedy Center will continue to present and preserve comedy’s greatest legacies for future generations as well as serve as a resource for new and upcoming comedic artists.”

Throughout Schlatter’s long and storied career, he also created and produced the TV series Real People, produced the first five years of the Grammy Awards, and hundreds of hours of variety series and specials featuring many of comedy and music’s biggest stars, as well as two Presidential inaugural opening ceremonies. Schlatter has received numerous honors and awards including 25 Emmy nominations, and three Emmy awards, plus Television Critics Association Awards, NAACP Image Awards, Golden Globes, the Directors Guild Award, and the Producers Guild “Man of The Year.”

As the creator and producer of The American Comedy Awards, Schlatter was a pioneer in honoring and celebrating comedic artists and performances that stand the test of time. The American Comedy Awards was the first award show to honor comedy as an art form, running for 15 years. Schlatter is also a founding Advisory Board member of the National Comedy Center.

Jolene Brand Schlatter’s acting career included her work with Ernie Kovacs, becoming a regular on the comedy innovator’s TV shows in 1961. Jolene was a series regular in Desilu Productions’ Guestward, Ho! and played Zorro’s only girlfriend in Disney’s 1957-59 cult classic, Zorro. She is credited as the creative force who came up with the catchphrase “Sock It to Me” for Laugh-In and joins husband George on the National Comedy Center’s Advisory Board.

The National Comedy Center

“The National Comedy Center doesn’t merely enshrine artists like George; it celebrates their contributions to a vital and ever-evolving art form,” stated National Comedy Center executive director Journey Gunderson. “Our cultural institution will always recognize and remember—for generations to come—the impact of George Schlatter’s work.

“George knows that comedy is an art form worthy of reverence, and he expects others to take it as seriously as he does. He has done so much to elevate comedy and to raise the level of its cultural esteem.

“Laugh-In shifted the orbit of the art form and sent it in new directions. The show awakened the nation and created an entirely new comic sensibility, whose impacts are still felt in comedy being created today.

“The American Comedy Awards was George’s clearest expression of his career-long commitment to discovering and nurturing comedy’s greatest talents. The Awards were an unprecedented opportunity for comedians to come together in mutual celebration of their craft—and to do so on a grand scale that respected the art form’s rigor and import,” added Gunderson.

George Schlatter’s new book, Still Laughing: A Life in Comedy, was released earlier this month, featuring never-before-told stories from the creation of Laugh-In, one of the most groundbreaking shows in television history. Schlatter will be signing books for Lucille Ball Comedy Festival attendees in the National Comedy Center lobby area on Friday, August 4 at 5:45 pm.