How We Got Started

Our Story

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. He conducted research and executed a myriad of steps to make the dream a reality. Tony even instructed the team at The Lucille Ball Desi Arnaz Museum to renovate and expand 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. 



Tony & Debbie Reynolds

Larry Linville & Tony

Tony, Steve Allen's Son & Jayne Meadows

Tony & Senor Wences

Norm Crosby, Tony, Mimi Hines & Phil Ford

Margot Kidder

Tony & Robin Williams

Tony & Marty Allen

Hugo Zacchini, Lou Ferrigno & Tony

Brett Butler & Tony

Tommy Bonds, Tony & Gorden Lee

Cannon & Ball, Tony & Barbara Harrington

Jimmy Nelson, Tony & Mickey Rooney

Mickey Rooney & Senor Wences

Mimi Hines, Hugo Zacchini & Tony Belmont

Mimi Hines, Tony, Lance Burton & Others In Vegas

Drawing from his experience as a music promoter and producer of award shows, Tony kicked-off the National Comedy Hall of Fame® with a 90-minute television special to honor Minnie Pearl, a country comedian icon, live from the Grand Ole Opry. That night, emcee Ralph Emory ended the show by honoring Minnie Pearl with her induction into the National Comedy Hall of Fame®. The show was a hit with an audience of over 13 million, at that time the highest rating ever for the Grand Ole Opry.


Since it’s inception in 1991, the National Comedy Hall of Fame® has inducted 23 comedians into the NCHOF in front of national audiences over the past 25 years. Among them are Abbott & Costello, Laurel & Hardy, Milton Berle, Charlie Chaplin, George Kirby and Jimmy Durante. Not only were celebrities present during induction ceremonies, but also some of the most powerful politicians in the world, such as Nelson Mandela, George Bush Sr., Bill Clinton, NY Mayor Giuliani, and more. 

Our Accreditation’s 

Memberships & Recognition’s Of Being The Only National Comedy Hall of Fame®


Museum Information

Phone: 727-541-7876


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