In the summer of 1991, Morey Amsterdam, Jan Murray, Sid Caesar, Milton Berle and Tony Belmont got together at the L.A. Friar’s Club to discuss the idea of establishing The National Comedy Hall of Fame. At the time, there was no organization that honored the work of comedians or the long-running history of comedy.
The group initiated the project and Tony, as the point man, never looked back. With an illustrious career in entertainment and music, which included interviewing hundreds of comedians and managing performers like Senor Wences and Morey Amsterdam, Tony was well-equipped to open the official museum of comedy history. Tony conducted the research and executed a myriad of steps to make the dream a reality. He visited over 100 museums, earned credentials in museum management and design, and handled legal and business requirements for the new organization. Tony even helped The Lucille Ball Desi Arnaz Museum renovate to become The National Comedy Center in Jamestown, New York.
Due to his hard work, The Library of Congress authorized The National Comedy Hall of Fame as the official museum of comedy history for the United States. The organization first operated as a travelling museum, visiting various cities all across the country and later found a home at John’s Pass Village and Boardwalk in Madeira Beach, Florida. The current museum is located at 2435 US-19 Holiday, Florida.
Tony connected with hundreds of comedians and various luminaries in entertainment to form the National Comedy Hall of Fame voting board. Nominations of potential inductees were presented and processed through a series of voting protocols with the help of The New York Friars Club, and as a result, The National Comedy Hall of Fame was ready for induction ceremonies.