Dynamic Variation:

LaughFest

March 8-12, 2023

Did you know that the world’s first-ever community-wide festival of laughter takes place every spring in Grand Rapids, Michigan? Launched in 2011, the festival has earned a reputation as one of the nation’s marquee events for both participants and performers. Over the years, LaughFest has hosted such comedy legends as Whoopi Goldberg, Kevin Hart, Jay Leno, George Lopez, Howie Mandel, Seth Meyers, Amy Schumer, Wanda Sykes, Lily Tomlin, Chris Tucker and Betty White, as well as many up-and-coming comedians that have gone on to great acclaim.

LaughFest was created by Gilda’s Club Grand Rapids, a FREE emotional support community for people affected by cancer, to celebrate laughter for the health of it. Proceeds from LaughFest benefit Gilda’s Club, and 100% of those funds stay in West Michigan.

Here’s what you need to know for your LaughFest visit:

LaughFest:

Will there be a LaughFest 2023?

Yes! LaughFest 2023 takes place March 8-12. As in years past, it will feature stand-up, improv, showcases and a variety of other seriously funny stuff.

How long does LaughFest in Grand Rapids last?

LaughFest runs for five days – every one of them jam-packed with events and activities for all ages.

Where is LaughFest located?

LaughFest events and activities take place at venues throughout Grand Rapids, as well as in the nearby cities of Lowell and Holland, and at Gun Lake Casino in Wayland (about 20 minutes from downtown GR).

Which comedians are appearing at LaughFest in 2023?

This year’s lineup includes Tig Notaro, Pete Holmes, D.J. Demers, Daphnique Springs, Mike Vecchione and Charlie Berens, who will headline the Red Door Gala fundraiser a few days after LaughFest.

LaughFest also includes fun-filled events and shows like LaughFest: Night at the Museum, LaughFest Trivia Night of Stars, Karakjokee, Pop Scholars, River City Improv and The Dirty Show. Visit the LaughFest website for dates and details on these shows and many more.

Can I participate in LaughFest?

One of the best things about LaughFest is the opportunity to take part in the proceedings. This year, the Seriously Funny Family Adventure Challenge invites household teams to race across downtown Grand Rapids to engage in fun and exciting challenges and brainteasers. Other participatory events include Holland Kids Joke Time and LaughFest Trivia Night of Stars.

The Laughter Rx Symposium is a conference that offers continuing education credit opportunities for health care professionals and social workers. It is available in a hybrid format with in-person and virtual attendance options. It will take place March 9 this year.

Following the festival on March 16, Gilda’s Club will host its annual Red Door Gala at Frederik Meijer Gardens & Sculpture Park. The Red Door Gala is a fundraiser that celebrates the thousands of lives impacted by Gilda’s Club and provides entertainment from a nationally known comic talent. This year’s entertainer is Charlie Berens, the Emmy-winning journalist, comedian, host and creator of the Manitowoc Minute. Visit the Red Door Gala website for sponsorship and table opportunities.

Is there an opening ceremony for LaughFest?

Traditionally, LaughFest kicks off with a community event that attempts to break a world record. In the past, people have gathered in downtown Grand Rapids to participate in a rubber chicken toss, don false mustaches, strap on cardboard chicken beaks, wear sunglasses after dark and other silly fun. Stay tuned for news about the 2023 opening ceremony.

Is LaughFest appropriate for kids?

LaughFest includes shows and activities for all ages, including a Clean Comedy Showcase featuring comedians pre-selected for their unique ability to bring laughs without vulgarity. LaughFest provides a Content Guidance Key for all its events, rating them as Family Friendly, Clean Adult Laughs or Anything Goes! to help you decide about the entertainment you want to experience.

What is the cost of admission at LaughFest?

LaughFest offers a range of ticketed and free events. Free events include the Seriously Funny Adventure Challenge, Sunday Night Funnies, Family Improv, the Cancer Survivor Showcase, All Y’All Showcase, Drums for All! and more. Tickets for ticketed events may be purchased at the LaughFest website or by searching LaughFest at ticketmaster.com. It’s a good idea to buy tickets early because many events sell out.

Can I volunteer at LaughFest?

Yes! Volunteers serve in various roles from welcoming attendees, providing directions and answering questions on the Smile Team to serving on special teams that oversee merchandise, transportation, photography and more. Anyone 16 years old or older can volunteer. 

If you’re interested in volunteering, visit the festival’s website or email Volunteer Manager Rob Johns.

How do I get around LaughFest?

The LaughFest website includes a page on parking and mobility options.

How can I get the latest news on LaughFest?

Follow LaughFest on social (Facebook, Instagram, Twitter) and sign up for email updates at the LaughFest website (scroll to the bottom of the page).

Events
Events

10 Seriously Funny Facts About LaughFest

    GR text Must
    Read
  • 7 min

Gilda’s LaughFest debuted in 2011 in Grand Rapids as the first-ever community-wide comedy festival in the nation. Every year, internationally-renowned comedians and local talent tickle the…

Save on Attractions with Our Culture Pass

Receive admission into many cultural attractions around Grand Rapids as well as additional exclusive discounts with our $20.00 Culture Pass.