October 16, 2018

The National Comedy Center – Making the Visitor the Center of the Experience

A different kind of museum opened this past August to rave reviews and record crowds. The National Comedy Center in Jamestown, New York uses the latest in immersive technology to make each individual visitor the star of their visit. Electrosonic is proud to say we played an integral role in developing the center and its experiences.

The immersive experience begins the moment you walk into the building. An interactive RFID bracelet is given to every guest, with a personalized comedy profile based on the information filled out. So to a large degree, every visit to the Center is customized, unique to the preferences of the individual. And as the person moves through the exhibit experiences, the profile of exactly what they find amusing and enjoyable is refined.

Armed with that learning technology, visitors can take in more than 50 immersive exhibits. Guests can actually step into the shoes of their favorite comedians, try their hand at comedy writing or performing, along with educational games and competitions. For example, one the highlights of the Center is “Comedy Karaoke.”

Visitors can go up on an actual stage and do a comedy routine, complete with a teleprompter. It can be a famous bit from one of their favorite comedians or a personalized one based on their comedy profile. Friends and family can laugh and cheer along, and capture video of the performance on their smartphones.

Another example of experiential technology is the George Carlin exhibit. This is in the 18 years of age and older section of the Center, and features Carlin’s famous “seven words you can’t say on television” routine. As a guest enters the exhibit, each of these seven words are projected at them in a directional blast, depending on their exact location in the room. At the same time, a digital image is captured of their reaction. These pictures of hilarious surprise have become extremely popular with guests.

Of course, no one company can put together a Center like this by itself. Electrosonic worked with many partners from April 2017 through the opening in August. It truly takes a village to create a world class museum like the National Comedy Center. An analogy we like to use at Electrosonic is we’re the Dell inside the Microsoft computer, the technology making everything work.

Cortina Productions was an important partner for interactive technology. Herzog and Company provided content production, and Adirondack Studios handled the fabrication of the actual rooms. Electrosonic worked closely the design firm Jack Rouse and Associates, in particular its vice president Ron Bunt. We also enjoy a close relationship with Samsung that helps us deliver the latest in LED wall technology for clients.

The success of the National Comedy Center is a boon to the general area. Jamestown is about 90 minutes south of Buffalo, is the hometown of Lucille Ball and was once known as the “furniture capital of the world.” The state of New York provided $5 million in funding for the Center, and it’s expected this public/private partnership will generate significant economic development opportunities for all of Western New York.

Projects like this one illustrate how strong the market is for truly immersive experiences, whether from a museum, a theme park or from a corporate brand. We strongly urge you to visit and see for yourself!

Alexander Hann

Alexander Hann, Communications Specialist, understands the challenges that clients face when they are making decisions about technology. He uses his extensive experience of communicating complex concepts to write about the latest developments in technology in a way that clearly explains benefits for business and technical decision-makers.