For Immediate Release

CONTACT: Tyler Lecceadone






GRAND RAPIDS, Mich., Jan. 25, 2017 –With Gilda’s LaughFest nearly one month away, the nation’s first community wide festival of laughter today announced 12 additional shows and events, including family friendly activities, as part of the 10-day festival, March 9-19. Also announced, individual ticket sales for all LaughFest events will begin Friday, Jan. 27, at 10 a.m. Tickets can be purchased at (search LaughFest), the Van Andel Arena & DeVos Place Box Offices or by visiting


Additional artists announced include Keith Alberstadt, Samuel Comroe, Hen Sapp, and Rory Scovel. Jeannette Rizzi’s one-woman show Blindsided is part of the festival’s annual LaughteRx series. Additional shows coming to LaughFest include Blackout Diaries, The Dirty Show, Homegrown Show, The Irish Comedy Tour, and PechaKucha. Baby Loves Disco and Super Saturday Kids Zone return as part of the Family Friendly Series presented by Meijer.


Alberstadt, from Nashville, Tennessee, has been performing comedy for over a decade. He has been a contributing writer for Saturday Night Live’s Weekend Update and Late Night with Jimmy Fallon. Alberstadt’s performance will take place at the Grand Volute Event Center in Lowell on March 10.


In partnership with DisArt, a Grand Rapids-based arts and culture organization that facilitates contemporary and performing arts programs that center on disability, identity, and community making, Comroe will share his personal experience with living with Tourettes Syndrome through stand-up comedy.  He has been featured on Conan and BET’s Real Husbands of Hollywood with Kevin Hart and received top honors during San Francisco Comedy Competition and The Ricky Gervais Just Saying Stand-up Competition. Comore will perform on March 16 at the BOB in downtown Grand Rapids.


Sapp, a Christian comedian, has been involved with LaughFest since the first year. This year, Sapp’s “Colorblind Comedy Show” includes special guests The Brights and Melvin Bender. The Brights are branded as up and coming Humorous Marriage Entertainers and Bender has been in the comedy business for over 17 years, opening for Kevin Hart and Kathleen Madigan. Sapp’s performance will take place March 18 at the Godwin Heights High School auditorium.

Scovel’s stand-up has been featured on Comedy Central, Conan, and Late Night with Jimmy Fallon. Most recently, he finished shooting the New Line feature The House, alongside Will Ferrell and Amy Poehler. Scovel will perform multiple shows at the Pyramid Scheme, March 17-18.


Rizzi will perform her one woman show as part of the festival’s LaughteRx series, which focuses on health and laughter. Rizzi, who uses comedy to help people who have lost someone unexpectedly cope with their struggle, will bring her show Blindsided to Dog Story Theater on March 18. Rizzi has dedicated her life’s work to helping others work life out.


The Dirty Show will once again be part of LaughFest’s lineup for the fifth consecutive year. The show, which is rated for mature audiences, ages 21 and older, brings the audience a raucous and over the top performance.  The Dirty Show is scheduled for March 17 at the Pyramid Scheme.


Blackout Diaries, an interactive comedy show based out of Chicago, is scheduled for March 10 at Vander Mill Cider’s Grand Rapids location. The show features comics and individuals willing to tell true drinking stories while allowing the audience to ask questions. The show is hosted by its creator, Sean Flannery of Comedy Central Network who has been a regular contributor to National Public Radio.


The Homegrown Show is returning to LaughFest for its sixth year on March 16, at the Pyramid Scheme. It’s a mix of five comics that tour the country plus musical guests with a show that offers a variety of comedy, but call Grand Rapids home.


On March 16, 20 Monroe Live will feature its first ever LaughFest event, the Irish Comedy Tour.  The Irish Comedy Tour combines the atmosphere of a Dublin pub with jokes about Irish stereotypes and myths. The performance includes comedians Derek Richards of Detroit, Boston‐born Mike McCarthy, Damon Leibert of Nova Scotia, and a native Irishman Derrick Kean.


PechaKucha Grand Rapids will be hosting a special LaughFest edition at Wealthy Theatre on March 15. PechaKucha is a simple presentation format where 20 images are shown for 20 seconds each. The audience talks along with the images as they move automatically. The informal and fun gathering brings together creativity and humor.


The Family Friendly Series presented by Meijer includes Super Saturday Kids Zone on March 11, and Baby Loves Disco, March 18. Baby Loves Disco is a community event that brings kids together with parents for a dance party blending music from the ‘70s and ‘80s with today’s hottest dance tunes. Super Saturday Kids Zone is a carnival for all ages featuring inflatable games, music, crafts, a Velcro wall, a healthy lunch and snacks and more.


Previously announced acts for LaughFest 2017 include: Howie Mandel, Pete Holmes & Friends, Joel McHale, Kevin Heffernan, Steve Lemme, Iliza and Sinbad.  Katt Williams, in partnership with Smash Productions, will headline an encore performance on March 26.


Howie Mandel Signature Event tickets are currently available for purchase. Table sponsorships are available for $3,000 for tables of 10. Individual tickets, which include dinner and a tax-deductible gift to Gilda’s Club Grand Rapids are available for $250. Show-only tickets are available for $100. Individual tickets and table purchases for Mandel are available by contacting Gilda’s LaughFest at, or 616-735-HAHA (4242).


LaughFest 2017 will include free and ticketed events featuring over 100 artists at venues in Grand Rapids, Lowell and Holland during the 10-day festival. The Best of the Midwest Competition, the National Stand-up Comedy Showcase, the Clean Comedy Showcase, FUNderwear Run, Seriously Funny Adventure and other festival favorites will be returning for LaughFest 2017.


Gilda’s LaughFest was created by a team at Gilda’s Club Grand Rapids in 2011. Since inception, LaughFest has averaged 50,000 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.


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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 44 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