We're in the new year of 2013 now, and one of the most anticipated highlights of the year is LaughFest.

LaughFest, a fundraiser for Gilda's Club, has turned out to be, not only a local sensation, but a national hit.  With the top comedians from around the country converging on Grand Rapids for 10 days of laughter, the word has spread, and now people, in only 3 short years, come to Grand Rapids from around the country for the comedy.

Gilda’s LaughFest, the nation’s only community-wide festival of laughter, is now selling individual tickets to all of the shows since the ticket-package sale have now ended.  Tickets can be purchased at ticketmaster.com (search LaughFest), by calling 800-745-3000 or at the Van Andel Arena or DeVos Place box offices. LaughFest opens March 7 and runs through March 17.

Being the third year, LaughFest organizers are always up for a "tweak," so to speak.  They just announced the addition of several shows to this year’s lineup. Additional ticketed shows announced today include:
• Out of the Box Comedy Show: Join an unforgettable evening hosted by Grand Rapids native and comedian Hen Sapp with special guests sure to entertain.
• Don’t We Boys & Charles: The Don't We Boys and Charles are critically acclaimed, nationally touring sketch comedy groups who will take you on a hilarious sketch improv adventure.
• Forever Plaid: This comedic musical revue is about a quartet of high-school chums and their dream of recording an album.
• Giggle Groove: In this fun, off the hook walking tour, participants will eat, dance and create serious fun at some of the best bars and restaurants Grand Rapids has to offer.
• MP Talent Showcase: A fun-filled evening of comedy, music, burlesque, puppetry and so much more!
• Francesca Amari: “A Love Song to Gilda Radner” A cabaret performance chronicling the life of Gilda Radner. It will feature her loves, life stories and her brave battle with cancer – all told through song and Gilda’s own words.
• Seriously Funny Adventure Challenge: This fun-filled challenge will involve teams* (of two or four) racing through downtown Grand Rapids engaging in fun and exciting timed challenges requiring fast thinking.

Gilda's LaughFest 2013

Ticket prices range from $7 for family-friendly events, such as the Super Saturday Kids Zone, to $55.50 for premium seating to headliner Lewis Black. In addition, individual tickets are available for $250 to attend Gilda’s Club Grand Rapids’ annual fundraising dinner event featuring headliner Wayne Brady. Full tables for 10 guests can be purchased for the annual fundraiser for $2,500 by calling Gilda’s LaughFest headquarters.
Other entertainers who have already been announced for this year’s LaughFest include: Jim Breuer, Bill Burr, Joel McHale, Brian Regan, Gary Valentine, Justin Willman, Eric Andre, Neal Brennan, Loni Love, Pete Holmes, Fortune Feimster with Myq Kaplan and Michael Yo, W. Kamau Bell, the Shaquille O’Neal Presents... All-Star Comedy Jam, and others.

The ticket-package sales closed, on Friday, Jan. 4, and there was a 9.4 percent increase in sales over last year with over 2000 packages being sold.  However, there are still plenty of opportunities for everyone to see the top artists participating in this year’s LaughFest, including top sellers Lewis Black, Brian Regan and Joel McHale.”

Due to the number of ticket packages sold, premium level seating options are limited for Lewis Black’s performance, but mid-tier and upper level seats are still available. There are no tickets available for Garfunkel and Oates’ March 8 performance at 8:00 pm. The Clean Comedy showcase has no tickets available for the 7 p.m. shows on March 8 and 9, but there are plenty of seats for the six other performances. One of the eight performances during the Stand-Up Competition with a cash prize of $10,000 has no tickets left.

Visit www.laughfestgr.org or call 616-735-HAHA (4242) to learn more about Gilda’s LaughFest.