Jay Leno, Lily Tomlin & Chris Tucker to Headline 2014 Gilda's LaughFest
The nation's first-ever community-wide festival of laughter, Gilda's LaughFest, has announced its line-up of talent and shows for the festival's fourth year to be held March 6 to 16, 2014. The headliners announced include: Lily Tomlin, making a special appearance in partnership with Broadway Grand Rapids; Chris Tucker; and LaughFest veterans, Mike Birbiglia, Jim Gaffigan, and Sinbad. This year's Signature Event will feature Emmy award winning comedian, longtime TV personality and late-night talk show host Jay Leno. Several other acts were also announced for LaughFest, along with a "$50,000 Challenge" by five local companies to raise funds for the High Five campaign, which benefits Gilda's Club Grand Rapids Children's cancer, grief, and in school emotional health programs.
"As we enter our fourth year, we are thrilled to continue building upon such a great community festival," said Joanne Roehm, festival director of LaughFest. "The first three years have given us a solid foundation and we're continuing this tradition of laughter by featuring 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."
In addition to the headliners, who were announced, other acts coming to LaughFest 2014 include Netflix's Arrested Development actress, Maria Bamford; YouTube sensation Miranda Sings with special guest Colleen Ballinger; comedy trio Todd Barry, Rory Scovel and Nick Thune; and stars of TruTV's Impractical Jokers, The Tenderloins, made up of Sal Vulcano, Joe Gatto, James Murray and Brian Quinn.
Officials also detailed the Gun Lake Casino Presents National Stand-Up Comedy Showcase, which features two showcases with 10 seriously funny comics: Cameron Esposito, Aparna Nancherla, Johnny Pemberton, Baron Vaughn, Joe Zimmerman, Tone Bell, Kurt Braunohler, Carmen Lynch, Barry Rothbart, and Hampton Yount.
The Best of the Midwest Competition, underwritten by Wolverine Worldwide, will feature 10 Midwestern comics duking it out for the $2,500 cash prize. Competitors are Johnny Beehner, Kevin Bozeman, John Conroy, Maggie Faris, AJ Finney, Drew Frees, Mike Lebovitz, Matt McClowry, Bryan Morris and Ms. Pat.
Bissell Presents the Clean Comedy Showcase, underwritten by Blue Cross Blue Shield, featuring two showcases with eight comedians who specialize in bringing serious laughs without vulgarity. Performers include James P. Connolly, Tony Deyo, Robert Mac, Pat McGann, Andy Hendrickson, Michael Palascak, Louis Ramey, and Rik Roberts.
The Family Friendly Series, presented by Meijer, includes performances by Milkshake, a band on a mission to create great rock music for kids; Super Saturday Kids Zone, a themed carnival for all ages; Saturday Nite Teen Zone, a 13 and up hangout for teens; the Seriously Funny Family Adventure Challenge, which requires teams to work together to solve challenges around downtown Grand Rapids; and People and Pets, celebrating how funny our furry (or not so furry) friends can be.
The Bud Light Presents Blue & Late Night Comedy Series features two great performers, 30 Rock's Judah Friedlander, and author and Chelsea Lately writer and round table guest, Jen Kirkman.