LaughFest kicks off 10 days of seriously funny tonight


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Today marks the start of 10 days of laughter in Grand Rapids with the third annual Gilda’s LaughFest.

Tonight’s kick-off events will begin at 5:30 p.m. at Rosa Parks Circle with an attempt to break the Guinness World Record for the largest gathering of people who are wearing false mustaches. The official count will take place at 6:30 p.m. According to the LaughFest website, the current Guinness World Record holder for this feat is the gathering of 648 participants organized by the St. Louis Rams in September 2012. LaughFest will provide the mustaches to participants.

There also are several opening night parties occurring around downtown tonight. The four participating restaurants hosting these parties beginning at 8 p.m. are Buffalo Wild Wings, GP Sports, Pub 43 and The Woods. Each will offer drink specials, giveaways and other surprises.

Additionally, opening night preview shows will be held at The B.O.B., Pyramid Scheme and McFadden’s, beginning at 8 and 9 p.m. Some of the previews will include a sneak peak of the Clean Comedy Showcase, local comedians and other surprise guests.

In total, the festival will feature more than 200 shows over its 10-day run. Shows will include stand-up, improv, film, authors, community showcases and a variety of seriously funny stuff.

The festival and its signature dinner events have garnered more than $540,000 to date. A Grand Valley State University study conducted last year found that LaughFest generated $2 million in economic impact for the area.

Individual tickets are still on sale through the website.

Highlights for this year’s festival include:

  • 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 also has 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.

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