Today, the nation's first-ever community-wide festival of laughter, Gilda's LaughFest, announced the first round of talent and shows for the festival's fifth year to be held March 5 to 15, 2015. The announcement included a diverse range of performers that are new to the festival, as well as some past favorites returning to take part in the festival's fifth year.
The headliners announced include: George Lopez, Patton Oswalt, Wanda Sykes and LaughFest veterans Bo Burnham, YouTube star and singer/songwriter comedian; Pete Holmes, who will be perform two shows and record a live podcast; and Colin Mochrie and Brad Sherwood of Whose Line Is It Anyway? Ticket packages for the festival go on-sale Friday, Nov. 14.
"In planning our fifth year, we were looking to bring back some of our most popular acts from festival's past while continuing to bring fresh faces to West Michigan," said Joanne Roehm, festival director of LaughFest. "Following four successful years, the festival's foundation will continue the tradition of laughter by featuring stand-up comedy, improv, music, dance, speakers, pets, children's shows, free professional and amateur showcases, and a variety of other events that will allow everyone an opportunity to laugh."
Other acts announced for LaughFest 2015 include Lavell Crawford of Breaking Bad; Billy Gardell, star of CBS' Mike and Molly; and stand-up comedian and podcaster Brian Posehn.
The festival will continue to feature the Blue & Late Night Comedy Series, presented by Bud Light. Two of the artists announced include Jerrod Carmichael of the recent feature filmNeighbors, and Iliza Schlesinger who is the only female and the youngest comedian to hold the title of NBC's Last Comic Standing.The Best of the Midwest Competition, underwritten by Wolverine Worldwide, will feature 10 Midwestern comics battling for a $2,500 cash prize. Competitors are Jeff Arcuri, Tom Brady, Katrina Brown, Danny Kallas, Bryan McCree, Mike Merryfield, Carmen Morales, Tommy Ryman, Norm Stulz, and BT.
Bissell Presents the Clean Comedy Showcase with two showcases featuring eight comedians who specialize in providing clean adult humor. Artists include Todd Andrews, Tracey Ashley, Sid Davis, Erin Foley, Dale Jones, Joe List, Andrew Norelli and PJ Walsh, who previously performed at LaughFest.
The Gun Lake Casino National Stand-Up Comedy Showcase returns to the festival and features 10 seriously funny, nationally-known comics: Joe DeRosa, Kyle Grooms, Ian Karmel, Randy Liedtke, Jared Logan, Alingon Mitra, Sara Schaefer, Dan Soder, Liza Tryeger and Sheng Wang.
The Family Friendly Series Presented by Meijer, includes performances by Recess Monkey, a high energy kids' band; Super Saturday Kids Zone, a themed carnival for all ages; and Saturday Nite Teen Zone, a 13 and up activity fused evening for kids.
Additionally, ticket packages will include the LaughFest's Best shows, which will feature comedians from across the festival, and shows from local comedy troupes River City Improv and Pop Scholars.
Gilda's Club Grand Rapids is again seeking to raise funds to support its children's programs through the "High Five" campaign. Money raised during LaughFest through this campaign will go towards children living with cancer or grief, and for in-school emotional health programs. Individuals interested in donating to the "High Five" campaign may do so by purchasing a button for a $5 donation at participating restaurants and business in West Michigan, or through the LaughFest website.
LaughFest 2015 will include more than 200 free and ticketed shows featuring over 100 artists at more than 40 venues in Grand Rapids, Lowell and Holland during the 10 days of the festival. Festival ticket packages start at $32 and will be available to the public beginning at 9 a.m. Friday, Nov. 14 online at laughfestgr.org, or by phone at (616) 735-HAHA (4242). A special pre-sale opportunity will be available on Thursday, Nov. 13 for members of the LaughFest Friends program at the $100 level. Information about membership is available at www.laughfestgr.org/membership2015.
Individual tickets are priced from $7 to $70, excluding the Signature Event. These will be available beginning Friday, Jan. 9, 2015 at the Van Andel Arena Box Office or at Ticketmaster outlets, or LaughFest Central, when it opens in mid-February, through the closing day of LaughFest.
The talent for Gilda's Club Grand Rapid's fundraising Signature Event held during LaughFest will be announced at a later date, along with additional talent for the festival. Previous artists who have appeared during the Signature Event include Betty White, Martin Short and Kevin Nealon, Wayne Brady, and Jay Leno.
Gilda's LaughFest was created by a team at Gilda's Club Grand Rapids in 2011. Since inception, LaughFest has averaged 55,000 attendees per year. Proceeds from the festival will go to support the free cancer, grief and emotional health programs offered through Gilda's Club Grand Rapids.
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