Seth Meyers, Kathy Griffin, and More Headlining Laughfest 2016
This morning, Gilda's Club of Grand Rapids held their annual Laughfest Lineup Announcement at the GRAM, and boy do we have some great acts coming this year!
Seth Meyers, Saturday Night Live alum and current host of Late Night With Seth Meyers will be headlining the Signature Event this year (past hosts include Betty White and Jay Leno), while Kathy Griffin, Marlon Wayans, and more will be performing throughout the festival.
Griffin is a two-time Emmy and Grammy Award winning comedian, writer, producer and television personality; and Wayans, an actor, producer, comedian, writer and film director, who will be starring in the upcoming comedy spoof Fifty Shades of Black. Returning LaughFest veterans include Anjelah Johnson, who has guest starred on shows such as The Shield, Ugly Betty and Curb Your Enthusiasm; and Roy Wood Jr. from the hit show Sullivan & Son.
“We’re excited to bring the diverse talent from all genres,” said Joanne Roehm, LaughFest festival director. “We’ve been blessed to feature many incredibly talented artists over the years and are excited to bring some of our seasoned veterans back as well as add some new fresh faces to the lineup in 2016.”
Other acts announced for LaughFest 2016, include Chris D’Elia of NBC’s hit comedy Undateable; Bert Kreischer, host of Travel Channel’s Trip Flip; stand-up comedian, actress, and accomplished writer Heather McDonald; 2014 American Comedy Award nominee, Aren’t You Embarrassed? host Sebastian Maniscalco; and Jim Norton, co-host of the Opie with Jim Norton Show on Sirius XM.
Bridget Everett, whose film and television credits include Inside Amy Schumer, Trainwreck and the upcoming Netflix series Lady Dynamite; and Ron Funches, who has a regular role in Undateable and was featured in the 2015 Will Farrell/Kevin Hart film Get Hard, will also take part in the 10-day festival.
LaughFest will feature the Clean Comedy Showcase with two programs featuring eight comedians. Two of the artists announced for Showcase I include Erin Foley, cast member on TruTV’s How To Be A Grown Up; and Aaron Aryanpur of FOX’s Laughs show. Showcase II includes Paul Varghese, star of Paul and Oates on iTunes; and Debra DiGiovanni, three-time award recipient of the “Best Female Comic” from the Canadian Comedy Award.
The Best of the Midwest Competition, underwritten by Wolverine Worldwide, will feature eight Midwestern comics battling for a $2,500 cash prize. Competitors are Sydney Adeniyi, Chris Bowers, Kate Brindle, Jim Flannigan, Rob Jenkins, Chris Knutson, Paul Strickland, and Russ Williamson.
The Gun Lake Casino National Stand-Up Comedy Showcase returns to the festival with two showcases featuring a total of eight seriously funny, nationally-known comics: Ahmed Bharoocha, Jesse Joyce, Michelle Wolf, Jenny Zigrino, Annie Lederman, John Roy, Seaton Smith, and Caleb Synan.
The Family Friendly Series presented by Meijer, includes Baby Loves Disco, a dance party featuring real music spun and mixed by DJs blending sounds from the 1970s and ‘80s with today’s hottest dance tunes; and Super Saturday Kids Zone, a themed carnival for kids of ages.
New this year, LaughFest is collaborating with DisArt to bring in recent runner up on America’s Got Talent, Drew Lynch. DisArt, a nonprofit arts and culture organization based in Grand Rapids, works to promote community growth by leveraging the best examples of contemporary, Global Disability Arts. Their 2015 DisArt Festival was one of the largest festivals of its kind, bringing in talented visual artists and performers from several different countries.
Additionally, ticket packages will include the LaughFest’s Best shows, which will feature comedians from across the festival, and shows from local comedy troupes Pop Scholars and River City Improv.
LaughFest 2016 will include more than 200 free and ticketed shows featuring over 100 artists at more than 40 venues in Grand Rapids and Lowell, Michigan during the 10 days of the festival. Ticket packages start at $32 and will be available to the public beginning at 9 a.m. Friday, Dec. 4 online at laughfestgr.org, or by phone at (616) 735-HAHA (4242). Tickets for Meyers’ performance during the Signature Event are currently available for purchase. Table sponsorships are available for $2,500, $5,000 and $10,000 for tables of 10. Individual tickets are available for $250. $100 of the individual ticket cost is tax deductible.
During LaughFest, Gilda’s Club Grand Rapids is again seeking to raise funds to support its children’s programs through the “High Five” campaign. Money raised 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.
“The High Five campaign has allowed us to grow our support and raise funds for children living with cancer or grief,” said Wendy Wigger, president of Gilda’s Club Grand Rapids and LaughFest. “LaughFest has been a wonderful asset for raising awareness of our free cancer, grief and emotional health programs.”
Individual tickets are priced from $7 to $57.50, excluding the Signature Event. These will be available beginning Friday, Jan. 15, 2016 at the Van Andel Arena Box Office, Ticketmaster outlets, LaughFest Central, when it opens in mid-February, through the closing day of LaughFest, and at ticketmaster.com.
Gilda’s LaughFest was created by a team at Gilda’s Club Grand Rapids in 2011. Designed to celebrate laughter for the health of it, LaughFest features free and ticketed events including stand-up, improv, film, authors, community showcases and a variety of seriously funny stuff. Past LaughFest headliners have included George Lopez, Wanda Sykes, Billy Gardell, Jay Leno, Lily Tomlin, Mike Birbiglia, Margaret Cho, Betty White, Whoopi Goldberg, Rodney Carrington, Martin Short, Kevin Nealon, Wayne Brady, Joel McHale, Lewis Black and Brian Regan.
Proceeds from the festival will go to support the free cancer, grief and emotional health programs offered through Gilda’s Club Grand Rapids. Visit laughfestgr.org, or call 616-735HAHA (4242) to learn more about Gilda’s LaughFest.