Gilda's LaughFest has added several artists and shows including John Mulaney andRik Roberts to the March 8–18 community-wide festival of laughter in advance of individual tickets going on sale Friday, Jan. 12. Tickets will go on sale beginning at 10 a.m. and can be purchased at ticketmaster.com (search LaughFest), the Van Andel Arena & DeVos Place Box Offices or by visiting laughfestgr.org.
In addition to Mulaney and Roberts, LaughFest has added shows for Warm Cheese by Teresa Thome, Super Saturday Kids Zone and the Kids Rock Hip Hop Dance Party by 61SYX TEKNIQUE.
Mulaney will perform March 14 at DeVos Performance Hall. Mulaney, an Emmy Award winning writer and comedian most recently starred in the Broadway hit, "Oh, Hello on Broadway” alongside Nick Kroll. In 2015, Mulaney released his third hour stand-up special, a Netflix Original titled “THE COMEBACK KID,” which the AV Club called “his best hour of his career.” He began his career in New York's East Village and has since toured around the world. In 2008, he began writing at “Saturday Night Live” where he appeared as a “Weekend Update” correspondent and co-created characters such as “Stefon” with Bill Hader. He currently writes for IFC's “Documentary Now” and for Netflix's “Big Mouth” on which he voices the character of Andrew. Mulaney's first comedy album, “The Top Part,” was released in 2009. He released his second Comedy Central special and album “New In Town” in 2012, and upon review Ken Tucker of Entertainment Weekly hailed Mulaney as “one of the best stand-up comics alive.”
Roberts, who has spent over twenty years headlining his 100 percent clean comedy show across the U.S. and overseas, will perform at Fountain Street Church March 17 at 2 p.m. Roberts has appeared in Comedy All-Stars, "Stand Up for Families,” Bananas Comedy, “20 Greatest Redneck Moments” and was a writer and performer on “The Henry Cho Comedy Show.” He is heard daily on SiriusXM radio's “LaughUSA” and “Jeff And Larry's Comedy Round-Up” channels and releases a twice monthly “School of Laughs” podcast on iTunes where he discusses all aspects of stand-up.
Warm Cheese, an inspirational work filled with humor and poignancy about Thome's grief journey following the death of her mother, will be performed March 9 at 8 p.m. and March 10 at 2 p.m. at Dog Story Theater. Thome is co-founder and Managing Partner of Michigan-based Fubble Entertainment. She received an Emmy Award for her co-written/co-produced web
series “Backstage Drama.” She was executive producer, co-writer and co-host of the television special, “Holiday Memories of Grand Rapids” (airing the past four years on NBC and ABC affiliates in Grand Rapids, Michigan). Thome is currently serving as production manager for Semi-Cool Productions' new musical “The Trump Family Special.” In November, she appeared at The Moth Los Angeles with her story “Revelations.”
For children of all ages, Super Saturday Kids Zone is a themed carnival for kids featuring surprise guests, inflatable activities, dancing, kid friendly music and games, and will return for LaughFest 2018 on March 17 at Grand Rapids Community College from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.
New this year, Kids Rock Hip Hop Dance Party is an event for toddlers and preschoolers. It will be offered at 11 a.m. and 2 p.m. on March 10 at H.O.M.E. at The B.O.B. and feature Grand Rapids' own 61SYX TEKNIQUE, who will lead this dance party and teach children some break dance and hip hop moves.
Previously announced events for the eighth annual LaughFest included Trevor Noah, performing during Gilda's Club Grand Rapids Signature Event, Tiffany Haddish and returning LaughFest veterans Maria Bamford and Cameron Esposito, among other diverse artists including some festival newcomers and other returning favorites.
The festival will feature the Clean Comedy Showcase March 8–10, the National Stand-up Comedy Showcase March 16–17 and the Best of the Midwest competition on March 14. Other seriously funny shows announced include Pop Scholars, River City Improv, Rockin' Homegrown Jam, LaughFest's Best and the Dirty Show.
The FUNderwear Run will begin at 2 p.m. on Sunday, March 11 in downtown Grand Rapids. New this year, the FUNderwear Run is a .6 mile course starting and ending at New Holland Brewing Company's Knickerbocker, located at 417 Bridge St. NW. Racers are encouraged to wear their finest (and funniest!) underwear over their running clothes to create a hilarious and one-of-a-kind moment in support of the free cancer, grief and emotional health support programs offered through Gilda's Club Grand Rapids.
Another annual family fun-filled event, the Seriously Funny Family Adventure Challenge, presented by Blue Cross Blue Shield and Blue Care Network of Michigan, will begin at noon on March 18. This free challenge begins at the B.O.B. and involves teams of two to four racing across the downtown areas of Grand Rapids to engage in scavenger-hunt-like timed challenges.
During the 10-day festival, LaughFest 2018 will include more than 200 free and ticketed shows featuring over 100 artists at more than 40 venues in Grand Rapids, Holland, Lowell, and new this year Wayland's Gun Lake Casino.
Gilda's LaughFest was created by the team at Gilda's Club Grand Rapids in 2011. Designed to celebrate laughter for the health of it and raise visibility and funds for Gilda's Club mission, LaughFest features free and ticketed events including stand-up, improv, film, showcases and a variety of seriously funny stuff.
Past LaughFest headliners have included Howie Mandel, Seth Meyers, George Lopez, Wanda Sykes, Billy Gardell, Iliza, Amy Schumer, Jay Leno, Lily Tomlin, Chris Tucker, Pete Holmes, Sinbad, Margaret Cho, Betty White, Whoopi Goldberg, Mike Epps, Kathleen Madigan, Martin Short, Kevin Nealon, Wayne Brady, Jim Breuer, Joel McHale, Lewis Black and Brian Regan.