Art News

National Museum of American History Showcases Life and Laughs of Phyllis Diller

WASHINGTON, D.C.- The Smithsonian’s National Museum of American History will open a new display in the Albert H. Small Documents Gallery Aug. 12. “Have You Heard the One…? The Phyllis Diller Gag File” brings to life one of America’s most iconic and influential comediennes. At the center of the display is the gag file, a steel cabinet with 48 file-drawers containing more than 50,000 jokes and gags typewritten on index cards by Diller during her career. It also includes some of Diller’s most iconic costume pieces—an unkempt wig, wrist-length gloves, cloth-covered ankle boots and a bejeweled cigarette holder, all of which became synonymous with her comedic persona. As her career progressed, Diller also worked her jokes into various books, which reached an even wider audience. “Phyllis Diller used her experience as a wife and mother to create a satirical persona outside the tradition