Inaugural LaughFest boasts Birbiglia, Cosby, Cho; will benefit cancer patients


Grand Rapids, Michigan isn’t exactly the first place you think of when you’re mentally running down the nation’s biggest stand-up comedy cities (you guys don’t do that?). So, when I first heard a few months ago about a new comedy festival Gilda’s LaughFest taking place in the aforementioned town, I was a bit skeptical. I was wrong to feel that way.

These laugh wranglers have their shit together.

The 10-day fest runs from March 10 – 20 and will host the likes of Mike Birbiglia, Margaret Cho, Bill Cosby, Betty White and a ton more. Proceeds from the shows will go toward Gilda’s Club of Grand Rapids which runs programs to support cancer patients (both children and adults) and their families and friends. The organization, named after comedian and original cast member of Saturday Night Live Gilda Radner, who died of cancer in 1989 when she was only 42, maintains facilities across the country.

As part of the festivities, organizers are producing two comedy competitions– the Best of the Midwest and a national competition; the latter will feature the likes of Kyle Kinane, Lisa Landry, Jessi Campbell, Dan Cummins and more. And I’ve been asked to participate in judging both contests; not a bad gig, right?

You can find out more about the festival and get ticket buying info at their official Facebook page, on Twitter and of course the fest’s official site at

See you in Michigan in a few weeks, comedy punks!

Dylan P. Gadino

Dylan is the founder and editor emeritus of Laughspin.

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