We need your help! LaughFest would not be possible without our seriously awesome volunteers.

Anyone aged 16+ can volunteer with LaughFest. We welcome individual volunteers and volunteer groups. Become one of over 600+ volunteers helping to put smiles on the faces of 50,000+ festival attendees each March!



Visit the Volunteer Portal below to fill out a volunteer application. Volunteer applications for 2019 are now open! CLICK HERE to access the Volunteer Portal and locate the volunteer application. If you are first time volunteer, please create a log in before applying.

Get signed up for whichever teams are the best fit for you and register for upcoming special team training sessions.

Need help getting started and navigating the Volunteer Portal? Check out this training video!


Want to volunteer together with a groups of friends, students and colleagues? We’d love to have you with us! We’ll work directly with you to recommend festival events, special projects and find the best fit for your group of any size.

CLICK HERE to fill out a quick form and let us know more about your group and indicate your availability/interests.



Smile Team (Event Assistants)

As a Smile Team volunteer, you’ll have opportunities to help welcome festival-goers, provide directions, answer questions and to assist with ushering, coat check, door guarding, set-up & tear-down and help with retail & beverage sales at events.

Most LaughFest shifts are between 3 and 6 hours and take place mornings/afternoons/evening/late-night weekdays and on the weekends. Smile Team applications go live in mid-January. For more details in the meantime, email volunteer@laughfestgr.org.


Special Volunteer Teams

At Events – Volunteers on special teams have opportunities to help at events with photography, collecting donations, and with lights/cameras/audio.

Behind the Scenes – Special teams help behind the scenes with the packing of merchandise, the transportation of supplies/staff/talent and can assist LaughFest staff right in the office.

At LaughFest Central – Be a friendly face at our events ticket hub & flagship festival merchandise storefront, LaughFest Central, and help concierge a full-festival experience for guests.

Join a Special Team that is the best fit for you based on your interests! Special Team applications go live in mid-January. For more details in the meantime, email volunteer@laughfestgr.org.


Leadership Volunteers

Interested in high-level volunteer opportunities? Join our Venue Captain Team and ‘run the show’ at events. Serve as a mentor to new volunteers, manage volunteer sign-in and sign-out and give assignments, oversee special teams volunteers, ensure a warm & welcoming atmosphere for guests and troubleshoot issues as they arise.

Volunteer Leads are:

  • Willing to commit to five or more shifts
  • Willing to put in the time and become an “expert” on all things Gilda’s Club, Gilda Radner and LaughFest
  • Willing to attend specialized Venue Captain training
  • Friendly, enthusiastic and flexible (able to Flip It Up! and encourage flexibility in others)
  • Natural peacekeepers and peacemakers
  • Good communicators
  • Well organized
  • Comfortable in a management role

Venue Captain applications go live in mid-January. For more details in the meantime, email volunteer@laughfestgr.org.



In 2011, people thought that we were seriously crazy when we said we wanted to put on a 10-day festival of laughter. Now going into our 9th festival, LaughFest is wildly successful, garnering praise from artists and attendees alike! How does Gilda’s LaughFest manage put on so many diverse events at multiple venues during the course of the festival?

ONLY WITH LOTS OF VOLUNTEERS! Our volunteers are not only part of what makes LaughFest so great, they are also a big part of what makes it possible in the first place.

When you volunteer for LaughFest, you are instrumental in creating a fantastic festival experience for all. We have needs before, during, and after the festival, so you can volunteer to help out in many different ways. While you are volunteering, a Gilda’s LaughFest staff member or volunteer leader will work with you to provide direction, answer questions, and make sure you’re having a lot of laughs along the way!

There are no minimum or maximum volunteer requirements to volunteer with us. Whether you choose to volunteer a little or a lot, know you will be bringing smiles and laughter to the lives of many…all while helping support the year-round work happening at Gilda’s Club Grand Rapids!



DisArt DistopiaOur friends at DisArt, sat down with one of our volunteers during their DisTopia podcast and put together a guide on how LaughFest volunteers should approach and how to talk to and how to help Disabled people who are headed out to LaughFest. Listen to the whole podcast (10:37 in length).

Brief summary of the 8 Guidelines presented in this podcast:

  1. Disability is a normal part of the human condition
  2. There is not just one way to experience disability
  3. The language we use is important
  4. Don’t assume, ask
  5. Wheelchairs, walkers, other assistive devices and support animals should be considered part of the person
  6. The majority of disabilities are invisible
  7. We are all in search of some sort of connection
  8. Pay attention to your own biases

Read a transcript of the podcast. 

DisArt Presentation at Volunteer Kick-Off: View the video  |  Read the transcript.


Presented by:





Underwritten by:




Questions?  Please email volunteer@laughfestgr.org or call (616) 735-HAHA.