Johnny Carson exhibit

LIBBY McKAY, the museum’s education director, practices her monologue on the stage in the new Johnny Carson exhibit at the museum.

The Elkhorn Valley Museum is putting a new twist on an old event.

This year, the museum will celebrate Johnny Carson’s birthday with a night of comedy and magic, said Ashley Brown, the museum’s executive director.

“This year we decided to switch up Johnny Carson’s birthday celebration that we host every year. Usually we just show the ‘Johnny Goes Home’ special and we serve birthday cake,” Brown said. “We have some regular visitors for that, but we really wanted to liven it up and give it a new face.”

The family friendly acts will be performed by local people who register, Brown said.

“We are bringing in local Nebraska magicians and comedians of all ages.They don’t have to have any prior performance experience,” she said. “It just has to be people who are interested in putting on a five- to eight-minute set for the community.”

Brown said the museum has hosted an event for Carson’s birthday for at least the past 10 years. But this year’s event pays tribute to Carson in a more personal way.

“I think it pays sort of a perfect homage to Johnny Carson, especially to his early career and his boyhood. His first paid gig was to the Norfolk Rotary Club at the age of 12, where he performed a magic show,” Brown said. “We just feel it’s a very fitting way to memorialize Carson himself.”

Someone reached out to Brown and others at the museum asking if there were any venues for comedians in Norfolk at the same time they were brainstorming new ways to celebrate Carson’s birthday, Brown said.

“The timing was just great,” she said. “It was just a good way to bring in local talent who were seeking places to perform outside of Omaha or Lincoln.”

The museum's doors will open at 5 p.m. on Saturday, Oct. 23. Attendees can use this time to view the Carson exhibit. The show itself will go from 6 to 9 p.m.

There is a cover charge for anyone over 3 years old. Snacks and beverages will be available.

Registration for comedian and magician acts is still open. Anyone interested may register online or in person.

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Want to register?

To register online, go to Or stop by the museum at 515 Queen City Blvd. to register in person.

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