GRAND RAPIDS, Mich., Nov. 14, 2013 - Gilda's LaughFest, the nation's first community-wide festival of laughter, has added LaughFest returning comedian Mike Birbiglia to the 2014 festival lineup and has announced that ticket packages will go on sale Friday, Nov. 15, at 9 a.m. Individual tickets and table sponsorships to the "Signature Event with Jay Leno" will also be available.

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LaughFest adds Mike Birbiglia to lineup; Ticket Packages to go on Sale Nov. 15 at 9 a.m.


GRAND RAPIDS, Mich., Nov. 14, 2013 - Gilda's LaughFest, the nation's first community-wide festival of laughter, has added LaughFest returning comedian Mike Birbiglia to the 2014 festival lineup and has announced that ticket packages will go on sale Friday, Nov. 15, at 9 a.m. Individual tickets and table sponsorships to the "Signature Event with Jay Leno" will also be available.

With two successful Off-Broadway shows, three Comedy Central specials and four comedy albums under his belt, Birbiglia, is a critically acclaimed performer and an audience favorite. His Off-Broadway show, My Girlfriend's Boyfriend, won the Lucille Lortel Award for Outstanding Solo Show and was named a Critics Pick by The New York Times, New York Magazine and Time Out New York. Both The Onion and USA Today named Birbiglia's album, My Secret Public Journal Live, one of the Best Comedy Albums of the Decade. He will appear during LaughFest on Sunday, March 9 at 7 p.m. Tickets to see Birbiglia's show are a part of the ticket packages that go on sale tomorrow at 9 a.m. He last performed at LaughFest in 2011.

Ticket packages will be sold online at laughfestgr.org or by calling (616)735-HAHA (4242) through Friday, Jan. 3, 2014. Individual tickets sales will open to the general public on Friday, Jan. 10, 2014. The 10-day festival of laughterwill open in Grand Rapids, March 6, 2014 and run through March 16, 2014.

Purchasing festival ticket packages early will ensure securing the best seat available before individual tickets go on sale. Ticket package specifics include:
• Build-your-own package: To make package purchases easier, LaughFest officials are offering a "Build-your-own" package. Buyers must select from two different sections. A minimum of one ticket in each of the two sections must be purchased. Build-your-own packages start at $32.
• Pre-built ticket packages: Pre-built packages, which range in price from $60 to $175, allow ticket holders to see three shows for one price.
o LATE NIGHT PACKAGE: $60 - Maria Bamford, Judah Friedlander and Jen Kirkman
o CLEAN COMEDY PACKAGE: $129.50 - Jim Gaffigan, Clean Comedy Showcase II including dinner, Sinbad
o HEADLINERS PACKAGE: $175 - Jim Gaffigan, Lily Tomlin and Chris Tucker
• You Pick - $25 gift certificates: Purchase individually or add to any ticket package order. Available in $25 increments, gift certificates are good towards any ticket package and must be redeemed by Jan. 3, 2014.

Show guidelines, which are included next to every show name, provide an overall sense of the content and age-appropriateness of festival events and shows. Beyond family-friendly events, the guidelines are not meant to be a guarantee of strict adherences by the artists, as material is often subjective and open to interpretation by those in the audience.

Entertainers who have already been announced for this year's LaughFest include: Jay Leno, Lily Tomlin, Chris Tucker, LaughFest veterans Jim Gaffigan and Sinbad, Maria Bamford, Miranda Sings, Todd Barry, Rory Scovel and Nick Thune, The Tenderloins, Judah Friedlander and Jen Kirkman.

Also previously announced was the "$50,000 Challenge" by five local companies to raise funds for Gilda's Club Grand Rapids Children's cancer, grief and emotional health programs. The goal is to have LaughFest organizers secure $50,000 worth of five dollar gifts from the community. Participating companies, Terryberry, Feyen Zylstra, Pioneer Construction, Eenhoorn and American International Foods, will match every $5 gift with $5 of their own, up to $50,000 in matching funds. Individuals interested in giving a "High Five" may do so by purchasing a button at a participating restaurant or business in the greater Grand Rapids area or by donating at laughfestgr.org.

Gilda's LaughFest was created by a team at Gilda's Club Grand Rapids in 2011. Since inception, LaughFest has averaged 55,000 attendees per year. Proceeds from the festival will go to support the free cancer, grief and emotional health programs offered through Gilda's Club Grand Rapids. Visit www.laughfestgr.org or call 616-735-HAHA (4242) to learn more about Gilda's LaughFest.

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Gilda's Club Grand Rapids provides free emotional healthcare to children adults, families and friends on any kind of cancer journey or those grieving the death of someone in their life due to any cause. The comprehensive program, delivered by licensed healthcare professionals includes education, structured sharing times, networking, lectures, workshops and social activities. Gilda's Club Grand Rapids is one of the largest and busiest of the 52 affiliates in North America. The organization runs entirely on charitable donations and currently serves more than 10,000 individuals each year at its clubhouses in Grand Rapids and Lowell, Mich., in various schools and in five community centers. For more information, visit www.gildasclubgr.org.