In addition to The Heckler Fund, which offers one time crisis grants to comedians in need, The Laughter Foundation also has plans for the following programs:
PROGRAMS IN DEVELOPMENT
- National and International Laughter Day
- Clown Care Unit (CCU) – Hospital Clowns for hospitals
- Senior Citizen Comedy Clubs – Comedy shows in retirement homes
- The Laughter Institution – Extremely long-term plan and augmentation of The Comedy Museum, the idea is to study laughter as a science, as well as the social and geo-political implications of comedy.
COMEC: The Comedy Museum Exploratory Committee
This program will put together a committee of experts in Comedy, museum building and philanthropy to look into how to build a world-class museum to study and exhibit the art, history and science of Comedy.
Comedy is an art form, as well as a science. And it has it’s own evolutionary history. Its the only art form that people from all walks of life use every day (except Rush Limbaugh, of course!) and yet know very little about how it works. The Comedy Museum will study the phenomenon known as comedy.
Comedy is also a very powerful social and even geo-political tool. From Bugs Bunny making fun of Hitler to the recent Fatwah put out on the Danish cartoonist, Comedy remains a very strong influence on world-wide attitudes.
I’d like to see permanent exhibits like “Influences”. Jack Benny, for example. Who influenced him? and Whom did he influence? (Johnny Carson?) Temporary installations such as “The Dark Side of Comedy: From Hitler to Dahmer” and “Chalk n Cheese,” an ironic examination of the similarities and differences between British and American Comedy.
The museum will have environmental rooms, whereby a visitor will enter a room and suddenly he’ll be transported back to 20th Century Burlesque or Vaudeville or a smokey 1950′s San Francisco nightclub with Lenny Bruce on stage. There will be a purpose built comedy stage within the museum, a world-class cinema, multiple large gallery space, a miniature broadcast space (for recording everything from podcast interviews to live web-streaming interviews with comedians big and small) and a cafe (called The Borscht Belt). The idea is to build it as if it were good enough to hang Picasso’s.
Estimated need for committee: $50,000. Final project estimation: $25,000,000. Target city: San Francisco, the birthplace of American stand-up comedy.