By Andrea Sciamanna
The ninth annual Gilda’s LaughFest of Grand Rapids will be bringing the laughs from March 7 to 17.
LaughFest tickets are still for sale with events ranging anywhere from $10 to $35. The celebrity performances range from $15 to $65.
The 10-day festival will include comedic performances from headliners Brian Regan, Jo Koy, Ali Wong, Matt Bellassai, Ed Asner, Nate Bargatze and Loni Love as well as other events celebrating the positive effects that laughter can bring to emotional wellness.
Since 2001, Gilda’s Club Grand Rapids, a local non-profit organization, has been promoting the positive effects laughter has on children, adults, families and friends during a cancer journey and those grieving over a death due to any cause.
Gilda’s Club serves more than 10,000 individuals each year at its clubhouses in Grand Rapids and Lowell, Michigan.
LaughFest will include other events besides the well-known comedic performances during its 10-day festival. One of the events is the called “The Comedy Project.”
“The Comedy Project” will feature several shows throughout the festival. Some of the shows are “Ctl Alt Deflect,” a Second-City-style comedy revue, “MSW3 (Murder, She Wrote),” a Riff Trax and Mystery Science Theater style show, and finally, “The Million Dollar Variety Show,” featuring comedian and juggler Will Ottman, vaudevillian performer extraordinaire Audria Larsen and comedian and magician Trino.
The recurring event FUNderwear Run will be returning this year as well. The event is a 5K course both starting and ending at New Holland Brewing Company’s Grand Rapids location, The Knickerbocker. Racers are encouraged to show up in their most hilarious and flashiest underwear over their traditional running clothes to help create laughs and smiles. Those sporting the most creative underwear may receive a prize in the best underwear contest.
Race entry is $25 for those who register before Feb. 25 and will include an official race t-shirt, drink ticket and finisher medal. However, registration after Feb. 25 will be $30.
Other shows previously announced include the Clean Comedy Showcase, the National Stand-up Comedy Showcase, the Best of the Midwest Competition, Pop Scholars, River City Improv, Rockin’ Homegrown Jam, The Dirty Show and LaughFest’s Best.
Some comedic performances are deemed too raunchy for children, however there are plenty of kid-friendly events. Some of these events include the Kids Rock Hip Hop Dance Party on March 9 at 10 a.m. and noon at The B.O.B. and Super Saturday Kids Zone on March 16 from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. at Grand Rapids Community College’s Gerald R. Ford Fieldhouse.
For those looking to get involved, LaughFest is looking for volunteers. Volunteers can help with several teams such as promotion, ushering, selling merchandise, office support and other staffing needs. Registration is now open and runs through Feb. 4 for new and returning volunteers.
Tickets can be purchased through the LaughFest website or other vendors like ticketmaster.com (search LaughFest), the Van Andel Arena & DeVos Place Box Offices, or by calling 616-735-HAHA (4242).
See the LaughFest website for a list of all events and show prices.