Gilda’s LaughFest has quickly become one of the nation’s “must attend” festivals, celebrating laughter for the health of it! This major 10- day Midwest festival is based in Grand Rapids and includes events throughout West Michigan. LaughFest was launched in March 2011 and has featured the likes of Jay Leno, Lewis Black, Wayne Brady, Jim Breuer, Hannibal Buress, Bill Burr, Chris Tucker, Rodney Carrington, Bill Cosby, Mike Epps, Jim Gaffigan, Whoopi Goldberg, Chris Hardwick, Kevin Hart, Pete Holmes, Lily Tomlin, D.L. Hughley, Gabriel Iglesias, Anthony Jeselnik, Joel McHale, Kevin Nealon, Brian Regan, Mike Birbiglia, Amy Schumer, Martin Short, Sinbad, Betty White and many, many more nationally touring artists and acts.

LaughFest features laughter in all its forms from stand-up comedy and improv to film, music, and a variety of seriously funny stuff. Each year has drawn well over 50,000 attendees from 35 states and Canada to Grand Rapids and West Michigan for the free and ticketed events.

West Michigan is serious about our “funny.” LaughFest brings together a diverse audience of children and adults every year in March to honor laughter as an essential part of emotional health and wellbeing. And what better time for a laughter festival than when it’s typically cold, icy, and distinctly un-funny outside? The festival also raises awareness for a very important cause – supporting families on a cancer or grief journey, helping them find their smile in the face of some of life’s emotionally tough stuff. All proceeds from LaughFest benefit the programs offered through Gilda’s Club Grand Rapids, a free community with a comprehensive program of education, structured sharing times, networking, lectures, workshops, and social activities designed to support emotional health. To learn more about Gilda’s Club Grand Rapids, visit

Community Showcases

Do you have a knack for making people laugh? Have you always wanted to be on stage? Then Gilda’s LaughFest wants to invite you to participate in our community showcases!

From now until December 8, 2014, LaughFest is offering individuals of all ages and groups of any size the opportunity to apply to showcase their talents in one of our 2015 showcases. This year’s showcases will include:

Stand-up Comedy Showcase Music Showcase College Sketch/Improv Showcase
Dance Showcase Sketch/Improv Showcase Short Film Showcase
Kids Joke Night College Stand-Up Showcase

In total, we expect to host over 100 community showcases at various locations in downtown Grand Rapids, Lowell and Holland. This gives you plenty of opportunities to participate throughout the 10 days of LaughFest, March 5 – 15, 2015.

All showcases will be non-ticketed, free of charge events.

For more information, please check the Community Showcase FAQ (PDF)

2014 Lineup and Beyond

Jay Leno
Mike Birbiglia
Jim Gaffigan
Chris Tucker
Lily Tomlin
Maria Bamford
The Tenderloins
Todd Barry
Rory Scovel
Ted Alexandro
Miranda Sings
Judah Friedlander
Jen Kirkman
April Macie
Brad Williams
Jeff Allen
James P. Connolly
Tony Deyo
Robert Mac
Pat McGann
Andy Hendrickson
Michael Palascak
Louis Ramey
Rik Roberts
Cameron Esposito
Aparna Nancherla
Johnny Pemberton
Baron Vaughn
Joe Zimmerman
Tone Bell
Kurt Braunohler
Carmen Lynch
Barry Rothbart
Hampton Yount
 50,000 attendees from 35 states, Canada and the United Kingdom

729 artists from 27 states and Canada performed free showcases

1,200 volunteers during the festival

278 events, 212 of which were free

54 festival stages

1 Guinness World Record broken for wearing sunglasses in the dark

1,675 LaughFest sunglasses worn