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LaughFest Announces 2014 Festival!

Get seriously excited! We announced our first round of key talent and shows for the fourth year of LaughFest. The nation’s first-ever, community-wide festival of laughter will be held on March 6-16, 2014.

So who did we announce?

One of America’s foremost comediennes, Lily Tomlin; American actor and comedian, Chris Tucker; and LaughFest veterans, Jim Gaffigan and Sinbad. We are excited to announce that this year’s Signature Event will feature Emmy award winning comedian, longtime TV personality and late-night talk show host Jay Leno!

Other seriously funny acts include Netflix’s Arrested Development actress, Maria Bamford; YouTube sensation Miranda Sings with special guest Colleen Ballinger; comedy trio Todd Barry, Rory Scovel and Nick Thune; and stars of TruTV’s Impractical Jokers, The Tenderloins, made up of Sal Vulcano, Joe Gatto, James Murray and Brian Quinn.

New this year, presented by Gun Lake Casino, is the National Stand-Up Comedy Showcase, which features two showcases with 10 seriously funny comics: Cameron Esposito, Aparna Nancherla, Johnny Pemberton, Baron Vaughn, Joe Zimmerman, Tone Bell, Kurt Braunohler, Carmen Lynch, Barry Rothbart, and Hampton Yount.

The Best of the Midwest Competition will return, and is underwritten by Wolverine Worldwide. It will feature 10 Midwestern comics duking it out for the $2,500 cash prize! The competitors are Johnny Beehner, Kevin Bozeman, John Conroy, Maggie Faris, AJ Finney, Drew Frees, Mike Lebovitz, Matt McClowry, Bryan Morris and Ms. Pat.

The Clean Comedy Showcase presented by Bissell and underwritten by Blue Cross Blue Shield will also make a return to LaughFest 2014. It features two showcases with eight comedians who specialize in bringing serious laughs without vulgarity. The performers include James P. Connolly, Tony Deyo, Robert Mac, Pat McGann, Andy Hendrickson, Michael Palascak, Louis Ramey, and Rik Roberts.

For the Family Friendly Series, presented by Meijer, get ready to rock with performances by Milkshake, a band on a mission to create great rock music for kids! There will also be the Super Saturday Kids Zone, a themed carnival for all ages, and the Saturday Nite Teen Zone, a 13 and up hangout for teens.

The Bud Light Presents Blue & Late Night Comedy Series features two great performers, 30 Rock’s Judah Friedlander, and author and Chelsea Lately writer and round table guest, Jen Kirkman. These two shows won’t want to be missed!

Rounding out the announcements is LaughFest’s Best, which features late night shows with little sampling of comedians from across the festival. You never know who might show up! And local comedy troupe River City Improv, representing Calvin College, who will put on a show that weaves skits, games and songs with audience suggestions to create a unique entertainment experience.

We will once again be running the “High Five” campaign, which aims to raise $100,000 for children living with cancer or grief and for in-school emotional health programs. Local companies Terryberry, Feyen Zylstra, Pioneer Construction, Eenhoorn, and American International Foods will turn every $5 donation into a $10 donation, matching up to $50,000 of funds raised through the “High Five” campaign. Individuals interested in donating a “High Five” may do so by purchasing a button at a participating restaurant or business in West Michigan, or donate by clicking here. Won’t you high five us?

Do you think this is all the talent coming to LaughFest 2014? Try again! We will be announcing more people in a few weeks so stay tuned!

LaughFest 2013 will include 200 plus free and ticketed shows that feature over 60 artists at 40-plus venues in Grand Rapids, Lowell, and Holland during the 10 days of the festival. Festival ticket packages range from $60 to $175 and will be available to the public beginning Friday, November 15, 2013 at 9 a.m. online at www.laughfestgr.org or by phone at (616) 735-HAHA (4242).

Individual tickets are priced from $7 to $60, excluding the Signature Event. These will be available beginning Friday, January 10, 2014 at the VanAndel Arena Box Office or at Ticketmaster outlets through closing day of the Festival.