When Norfolk’s previous community festival ended in 2006, an editorial in the Norfolk Daily News suggested creating a new festival in honor of Carson’s memory. With that, the Great American Comedy Festival was born.
Eighteen months of planning led to the inaugural festival in June 2008. It’s been a mid-June tradition ever since, growing each year in stature and scope. In 2012, the festival was named Nebraska’s outstanding tourism event among the state’s larger cities.
Now, in marking seven years of existence in 2014, the festival continues its focus on Johnny Carson. His talent and career were hailed by many, but the words of David Letterman, a longtime friend of Carson’s, perhaps say it best of all: “All of us who came after are pretenders. We will not see the likes of him again.”