by Tyler Lecceadone
Gilda’s LaughFest, the nation’s only community-wide festival of laughter, announced additional performances and shows for the 2015 Festival, which takes place March 5 to 15, 2015. Individual tickets for all events will be available for purchase on Friday, January 9 at 10 a.m.
New performances and shows added include Nick Thune and Brody Stevens, Costaki Economopoulos, Blackout Diaries, Big Jay Oakerson with Ben Roy, Jim Jefferies, the Homegrown Show, and Ryan Hamilton. Additionally, following the sell out of her two previously announced shows, Iliza Shlesinger has added new shows on March 7 to her LaughFest appearance.
On March 6 and 7, Thune and Stevens will perform at the Pyramid Scheme. Thune has appeared on the Tonight Show eight times, as well as Conan, The Late Show with Jimmy Fallon, and he has his own Comedy Central Show. Stevens is the executive producer and star of Comedy Central’s Brody Stevens: Enjoy It!, and the host of two popular podcasts, The Steven Brody Stevens Festival of Friendship and Brode and Esther.
Economopoulos has been a stand-up comedian for 20 years, and has written for the likes of Bette Midler, Jay Leno, MTV and BET. He is best known for his regular appearances on the nationally syndicated Bob & Tom Radio Show, and his weekly Quick Snaps radio segment parodying the National Football League. Economopoulos will perform on March 7 at Grand Volute in Lowell, Mich.
Blackout Diaries is an interactive show featuring standup comedians and regular people telling true drinking stories, while the audience asks questions. Described as being a “bit like adding tequila to the Socratic Method,” this show was created by its host Sean Flannery (Comedy Central, NPR and more) and routinely sells out in the home city of Chicago. Blackout Diaries takes place on March 8 at Perrin Brewing Company.
Oakerson and Roy will perform a free, ticketed show on March 12 at the Orbit Room as part of the Blue & Late Night Series presented by Bud Light. Oakerson performs a story-based style of stand-up comedy, and has appeared on Comedy Underground with Dave Attell, FX’s Louie, Inside Amy Schumer and Late Night with Jimmy Fallon. Roy is a fast rising star in the comedy world, with a set showing on HBO Canada and his own one-hour show at the New York Comedy Festival.
Also, on March 12, Jefferies will perform at Fountain Street Church. An Australian stand-up comedian, Jefferies first established himself as one of the outstanding comedians of his generation in Europe, and has since found success in the U.S. following his HBO special I Swear to God.
The Homegrown Show will be hosted by local West Michigan comedian Matt Lauria. Taking place on March 12 at the BOB, this show will feature professional touring comedians that reside in the Grand Rapids area. These comics have credits that include Late Night with Jimmy Fallon, The Bob & Tom Show, and comedy festivals from San Francisco to Atlanta.
Named one of Rolling Stone’s five comics to watch, Ryan Hamilton is known for performing to a variety of audiences while making each show an individual experience. He has performed on Conan, Last Comic Standing, Comedy Central, and Showtime, and has won The Great American Comedy Festival and Sierra Mist’s America’s Next Great Comic Search. His performance will take place on March 14 at the Knickerbocker Theatre in Holland, Mich.
Entertainers previously announced for LaughFest 2015 include: George Lopez, Wanda Sykes, Billy Gardell, Patton Oswalt, Bo Burnham, Pete Holmes, Colin Mochrie & Brad Sherwood, Lavell Crawford, Jerrod Carmichael and Brian Posehn.
LaughFest 2015 will include more than 200 free and ticketed shows featuring over 100 artists at more than 40 venues in Grand Rapids, Lowell and Holland during the 10 days of the festival.
Individual tickets are priced from $7 to $70, excluding the Signature Event. These will be available beginning Friday, Jan. 9, 2015 at the Van Andel Arena Box Office or at Ticketmaster outlets, or LaughFest Central, when it opens in mid-February, through the closing day of the festival.
Gilda’s LaughFest was created by a team at Gilda’s Club Grand Rapids in 2011. Since inception, LaughFest has averaged over 50,000 attendees per year. Proceeds from the festival support the free cancer, grief and emotional health programs offered through Gilda’s Club Grand Rapids. Visit laughfestgr.org or call 616-735-HAHA (4242) to learn more about Gilda’s LaughFest.
Gilda’s Club Grand Rapids provides free emotional healthcare to children adults, families and friends on any kind of cancer journey or those grieving the death of someone in their life due to any cause. The comprehensive program, delivered by licensed healthcare professionals includes education, structured sharing times, networking, lectures, workshops and social activities. Gilda’s Club Grand Rapids is one of the largest and busiest of the 52 affiliates in North America. The organization runs entirely on charitable donations and currently serves more than 10,000 individuals each year at its clubhouses in Grand Rapids and Lowell, Mich., in various schools and in five community centers. For more information, visit www.gildasclubgr.org.