Jim Gaffigan, Whoopi Goldberg, Marc Maron and a seemingly endless list of other big name comedians are scheduled to perform at the second annual Gilda’s LaughFest, to be held in Grand Rapids, MI next year from March 8 -18. The festival has a unique position within the country’s other comedy festivals, as it was created by Gilda’s Club Grand Rapids to help raise money for its center — one of 52 nationwide — that offers support to cancer patients and their families.
“We are excited to have this level of talent and variety of shows featured in 2012. We want to showcase laughter in all of its forms so that everyone in the Midwest will have a reason to come to Grand Rapids during March,” says Leann Arkema, president and CEO, Gilda’s Club Grand Rapids. “We will continue to feature stand-up comedy, improv, music, dance, speakers, pets, children’s shows, free professional and amateur showcases and a variety of other seriously funny stuff to give everyone the opportunity to laugh together.”
Although more comedians, acts and events will be announced in the coming weeks, we can tell you that in addition to the names mentioned above, the following comics are scheduled to appear: Martin Short, Mike Epps, Bo Burnham, Rodney Carrington, Amy Schumer, Kevin Nealon, Anthony Jeselnik and Anjelah Johnson. Ticket packages will go on sale Nov. 18 at 9 a.m.
In addition to stand-up, the fest will host special events featuring original Saturday Night Live writer Alan Zweibel and Patch Adams (yes, the real Patch Adams), who will appear as part of the festival’s new Laughter Rx series, which will highlight the benefits of laughter to improve both physical and emotional health. Celebrated musical act, The Laurie Berkner Band will also be on hand as part of the festival’s family-friendly series.
“The three key goals of LaughFest are to focus on laughter as part of good emotional health; support the economy, local business and arts organizations,” Arkema adds, “and to raise funds that support the free emotional support program offered to children and adults living with cancer and grief through Gilda’s Club Grand Rapids.”
Gilda’s Club Grand Rapids is a free emotional health program where children, adults, families and friends find their smile and laughter in the midst of a cancer or grief journey. Its comprehensive program includes education, structured sharing times, networking, lectures, workshops and social activities. Named for the late Saturday Night Live comedian, Gilda Radner, Gilda’s Club Grand Rapids is the largest and busiest of the 52 affiliate clubs in North America.
You can get more info about Gilda’s LaughFest at laughfestgr.org.