Morning Mix


LaughFest hosting free informational events good for the heart and mind

Emphasizing healing through comedy
Posted at 10:34 AM, Mar 10, 2022
and last updated 2022-03-10 10:53:41-05

In less than one week, the sounds of laughter will be emanating from numerous venues throughout Grand Rapids for LaughFest. LaughFest will not only feature comedy acts that are enjoyable and funny but also informative and good for the mind.

The Laughter RX Symposium brings together health care professionals, caregivers, and anyone affected by chronic diseases like cancer in a morning of learning and conversation. Together, explore the beneficial impact laughter can have on physical, emotional, and mental health and its integration in care.

On Friday, March 18 beginning at 8 a.m. at Gilda’s Club Grand Rapids, Clinical Social Work Manager at the Lou Ruvo Center for Brain Health/Cleveland Clinic Nevada will present Improvisation for Caregivers – Increasing Quality of Life in Difficult Times. “Improv for Caregivers” is a class developed by Ruth Almen along with leadership from the Second City and Caring Across Generations. Using evidence-based research has been proven to improve the quality of life for family caregivers and their loved ones by building caregiving skills through improv.

Also being featured will be Nancy Norton’s Part One: The Power of Humor. Nancy Norton, a registered RN who will also be part of the Clean Comedy Showcase, will also be part of the symposium sharing how humor reduces pain, anxiety, fear, and stress while boosting the immune system and overall health. They'll also explore the memory, mental acuity, and problem-solving benefits of humor as well as the role humor plays in relationships, leadership, team bonding, resilience, and job retention.

The Symposium is free for anyone to attend. Those who are working toward continuing education credits in nursing or social work can earn three credits with a $35 fee.

Another free event will be the LaughFest Recovery Showcase on March 17. The Showcase will include three great comedians who all have one thing in common: they are sober! Comedians in the showcase include Aaron Sorrels, Mary Santora, Matt Conn, and Matt Con.

The LaughFest Recovery Showcase is at Monroe Community Church 1020 Monroe Ave NW at 7 p.m.

LaughFest will be taking place on March 16-20.

To learn more information about these shows and to purchase tickets, visit

In addition to supporting Gilda’s Club by attending LaughFest events or by donating directly, patrons can donate funds through a "high-five." This year, for every high-five given, Meijer will match dollar for dollar each donation. So that means for the first $20,000 in high-five donations, Meijer will match up to $20,000, turning your $5 donation into $10, or any amount.

All funds from LaughFest will be given to Gilda's Club, a facility that provides free cancer and grief support programs. Donations can be made at any and all LaughFest events, but also online at