The first-ever Grand Rapids LaughFest kicks off this Thursday (March 10) in Grand Rapids. The city-wide festival runs March 10-20, 2011 and is presented by Gilda’s Club Grand Rapids, an independent branch of Gilda’s Club Worldwide. The organization was founded in honor of comedienne Gilda Radner with the goal of helping men, women and children with cancer and their friends and families, meet to learn how to live with cancer, whatever the outcome.
One neat thing about LaughFest is that the schedule holds a lot of no-cost/low-cost events, beginning with the attempt to break the Guinness World Record for rubber chicken tossing at Rosa Parks Circle at 7:30 PM (just show up – chickens will be provided!). This feature from the Grand Rapids Press on LaughFest says:
LaughFest organizers hope to make West Michigan a very happy place with performances by more than 50 headliners plus another 300 amateur or theatrical performers. More than 110 events are open for free in 29 venues and 14 restaurants and bars.
Ten days before the opening of the 10-day event, nearly 27,000 tickets had been sold to ticket buyers from 17 U.S. states plus Canada as well as from 80 percent of Michigan’s 83 counties.
â€œThe names I keep hearing are Cosby and White,â€ said Bill Cosby, who appears March 13 in DeVos Hall. â€œI think that’s very, very interesting that the big names would be those people who are in their 70s,â€ he said. â€œOne would think that Comedy Central would be able to spin out a whole bunch of potentials who would draw a younger crowd.â€
Actually, that’s been taken care of. Comedians such as Margaret Cho, Mike Birbiglia, Kevin Hart, Stephen Lynch and Kathleen Madigan are among those performing during the event-packed festival.