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Laughfest kicks off 11th year Thursday

Local festival offering discounted laughs Friday
Local festival offering discounted laughs Friday
Local festival offering discounted laughs Friday
Posted at 4:41 PM, Mar 11, 2021
and last updated 2021-03-11 21:46:10-05

GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. — Laughfest GR kicks off Thursday with four full days of seriously funny comedy.

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It’s the festival's 11th year and despite the virtual format, Gilda’s Club Grand Rapids said there will truly be something for everyone.

Laughfest is in 2021, promising all the star-power and good times and from years past.

Wendy Wigger, the President of Gilda’s Club Grand Rapids said, “If there’s ever a time that we needed something to laugh about and to stay connected around, this is the year that that needs to happen.”

Wigger said while the had to cut their 2020 events short due to COVID-19 exactly one year ago, their services remain constant.

“One thing that we really understand is cancer and grief never take a break, even during COVID, and while we may need to be physically distant, we need to remain socially connected,” Wigger said.

Laughfest runs March 11th through the 14th with all virtual shows.

Much of the content is free/donation based, but this year’s format offers a unique chance to see all six headliners including Michelle Wolf, Tom Papa, and Justin willman.

Wigger explained, “It’s a $40 premium digital pass that gives you access to all six shows, whether you choose to do one or you choose to do all six.”

She went on to say that those premium shows are a one-time thing that you won’t be able to go back a watch again.

“It’s almost as if you were coming to a real show. If you are 10 minutes late for the theater, you’re going to miss the 10 minutes of the show.”

The free content promises to be just as spectacular.

Joe Anderson, the Artistic Director of the Comedy Project will be putting on a few events, from the VIP Comedy Showcase, to the ‘3 Mics and a Movie’ showcase.

“Nothing bonds people faster than laughing together at the same thing and so that sense of community is really important and obviously really beneficial,” he said.

Anderson encourages everyone to make a family or date night out of the shows they choose.

“It’s not going to look like a Zoom window or some Google Meet or something, they are happening either at theaters locally or virtually and there’s going to be multi-camera stuff .It’s gonna be really a cool high-production level show,” Anderson said.

As we kick off another year of fun, Wigger hopes everyone remembers the serious behind the funny.

She said, “The beautiful thing about Laughfest is that not only is it a great festival, but it’s also for a great cause and it has created wonderful awareness for Gilda’s Club Grand Rapids, and our cancer and grief program, and all the emotional health support that we provide free and free comes at a cost, so the proceeds from the festival to help us offset some of the costs for the programs that we deliver.”

For a full list of events, to donate, or purchase Laughfest swag visit

If you happen to miss any of the free shows live, you can re-watch them anytime through Sunday.