Junior Elizabeth Ferry worked as an archives and curation intern at the National Comedy Center during this past summer. At this internship, Ferry’s duties included three roles — working at the center’s Lucille Ball Desi Arnaz Museum, working for the National Comedy Center itself and helping with the Lucille Ball Comedy Fest, or “Lucy Fest.”
“[The National Comedy Center] is the first American Institution solely dedicated to the art of comedy,” Ferry said. “We were preparing for the grand opening.”
Lucy Fest allowed Ferry to establish new connections and realize the completion of her work, she said.
“I got to meet hardcore Lucy and comedy fans from all over the country, and I also got to meet the comedians and family members from the items I curated,” she said. “They were standing in front of them. It was cool.”
Ferry said comedy is often ignored as an art form. While classical versions of art are given large budgets and countless ways to preserve their history, The Nation Comedy Center is alone in its focus on comedy.
“[The creation of the comedy museum] has never been done before,” Ferry said. “No one has given a space for comedy, because comedy isn’t taken seriously. We have art museums and big symphonies. Comedy is looked down upon but it is a serious art form and a societal tool.”
Ferry found out about the internship while she was looking for museum jobs on Google and applied.
“I thought it was going to be a longshot,” she said. “But I got it”
Saint Mary’s helped Ferry secure this opportunity, she said.
“I got a grant from the Career Crossing Office. Without that, I wouldn’t have been able to go,” Ferry said. “They helped me with my resume and all other resources that Saint Mary’s gave us were instrumental.”
Ferry explained that she is dedicated to the preservation of the history of comedy in both stand-up and television form.
“Comedy has always been a part of the human experience. Humans love humor,” Ferry said.
Ferry’s focus on curation allowed her access to items from throughout television comedy history. Her favorite items included Lindsey Lohan’s dress from “Mean Girls,” campaign materials from “Parks and Recreation,” Jim‘s “Dundie” from “The Office” and Charlie Chaplin’s cane.
“We were very fortunate to get a wide range of artifacts there really was something for everybody,” Ferry said. “I would sit in this room full of things from the lives of these incredible people that helped set the stage for stand-up right now and what we are able to do with it. I mean I love stand-up … I think it’s an incredible tool in society for getting your voice out.”
Ferry also spoke about how comedy’s effect on societal change. She used the example of comedian Lenny Bruce, who was active in the 1950s and was arrested for obscenity charges and served a major figure in first amendment rights issues involving comedy due to his routines. He was posthumously pardoned of all charges.
“Lenny Bruce is a perfect example for why we need to take comedy seriously,” Ferry said. “He is an example of how comedy can change American life.”
Ferry said she believes comedy is a critical form of expression.
“Comedians are an integral part of the American framework,” she said. “Comedy itself challenges us to look at the world around us.”