Get ready to laugh: Gilda’s LaughFest announces 2013 lineup


Gilda's LaughFest 2013 will be held March 7-March 17 in Grand Rapids, Lowell and Holland. Photo by Charlsie Dewey

Decked out in yellow boas and bow ties and surrounded by the signature LaughFest smile, a crowd gathered within the Grand Rapids Art Museum lobby Tuesday to hear the lineup for Gilda’s LaughFest 2013.

Now in its third year, LaughFest has become a nationally known, much anticipated 10-day festival of laughter. Visitors from approximately 25 states and Canada have attended during the previous two years. The festival and its signature dinner events have garnered more than $540,000 to date. Additionally, a Grand Valley State University study conducted last year found that LaughFest generated $2 million worth of economic impact for the area.

In addition to an enviable lineup of comedians, this morning’s announcement also included information regarding a $50,000 High Five Challenge. The Wege Foundation will match every $5 donation up to $50,000. LaughFest organizers hope that this matching challenge will help the event raise an additional $100,000 for the children’s grief program at Gilda’s Club Grand Rapids.

“We are excited about the continued growth of LaughFest and are extremely pleased to bring to West Michigan a third year of seriously funny talent and events,” said Wendy Wigger, vice president of communications for Gilda’s Club Grand Rapids. “We will continue to feature stand-up comedy, improv, music, dance, speakers, pets, children’s shows, free professional and amateur showcases and a variety of other acts to give everyone the opportunity to laugh together.”

The LaughFest 2013 lineup includes:

  • Wayne Brady, current host of CBS’ “Let’s Make a Deal” and Emmy-award winner for “Whose Line is it Anyway?”
  • Lewis Black, Grammy-award winning comedian and one of the most prolific and popular performers working today. Black has taped four specials for the “Comedy Central Presents” series.
  • Jim Breuer, “Saturday Night Live” alum. Breuer also starred with Dave Chappelle in the movie “Half Baked.”
  • Bill Burr, “Breaking Bad” actor and comedian, who also had a popular recurring role on the second season of the “Dave Chappelle Show.”
  • Joel McHale, E! Network host of “The Soup” and actor on NBC’s comedy series “Community.” He has also appeared in a slew of films.
  • Brian Regan, one of the premier stand-up comedians in the country.
  • Fortune Feimster, roundtable regular on late night talk show “Chelsea Lately.”
  • Garfunkel and Oates, Los Angeles comedy duo of Kate Micucci and Riki Lindhome, who have been named “2010 Top 10 Comics to Watch” by Variety magazine.
  • Gary Valentine, actor and comedian, who spent nine seasons as “Cousin Danny” on CBS’ “King of Queens.”
  • Justin Willman, host of hit shows “Cupcake Wars” and “Last Cake Standing” on the Food Network.
  • Chris Hardwick, host of the Nerdist podcast with Matt Mira and Jonah Ray.

Additionally, D.L. Hughley, Bruce Bruce, Finesse Mitchell and Gary Owen will perform in the Shaquille O’Neal All-Star Comedy Jam.

Also announced was a special live stage show for children, “Strawberry Shortcake: Follow Your Berry Own Beat,” with special guests The Doodlebops!

More than 60 artists are expected to perform during LaughFest 2013, which is scheduled for March 7-17, in Grand Rapids, Lowell and Holland. For more information, visit

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