Top Comedians Perform at Gilda's Laughfest March 5-15


EDGE Media Network Contributor

Thursday February 26, 2015

Gilda's LaughFest announced that this year's Signature Event will celebrate the festival's fifth year, and five years of smiles in West Michigan, with a lineup of returning LaughFest comedians coming together for the first time ever. Additionally, LaughFest has announced the remaining acts for the 2015 Festival, which runs from March 5-15.

The Signature Event will take place on Tuesday, March 10 at DeVos place and will be hosted by Michael Kosta, the winner of LaughFest's 2011 stand-up competition. The event will feature headlining acts from LaughFest's past years including Jim Breuer, Kathleen Madigan, Sinbad and Justin Willman. Additional LaughFest acts announced today include Cristela Alonzo, Orny Adams, Hen Sapp, Improv Cinema and Don't We Boys with Dubalicous.

"This is our fifth festival and Signature Event, so to celebrate those five years of smiles and Gilda Radner's legacy of laughter, along with the fifteen year anniversary of Gilda's Club Grand Rapids, we're bringing back some of LaughFest's most talked about acts to our Signature Event," said Wendy Wigger, president of Gilda's Club Grand Rapids and LaughFest. "These performers will come together for an amazing evening of laughter and entertainment while supporting the mission of Gilda's Club."

"I've always been aware of the way that Gilda paved the way for female comics," said Breuer, who was named one of Comedy Central's 100 Greatest Stand-ups of All Time. "She left such a lasting impression on the comedy industry and SNL fans. While she left us way too soon, her legacy lives on through the incredible work of Gilda's Club. I had a great time at LaughFest in 2013 and can't wait to get back to Grand Rapids to be a part of this amazing event."

Winner of the American Comedy and Phyllis Diller awards for Best Female Comedian, Madigan has a successful comedy career that spans 25 years. She's appeared with late night performers Jay Leno, David Letterman, Conan O'Brien and Craig Ferguson. Her third hour-long special, "Madigan Again," was named one of the best comedy albums of 2013 by iTunes.

"I was really happy to hear that I was invited back to Gilda's LaughFest in Grand Rapids," said Madigan. "I did it in 2011 and was blown away with this relatively small city that just blew the doors off of how to do a festival. I've been correctly quoted that it's the best festival in the country right now. No politics, just all funny people. I was a big Gilda Radner fan and paying tribute to her with a great festival is perfect. And, from performing in Michigan for 25 years, it's hard to find better crowds. I'm coming early to watch other comics. Can't wait!"

A two-time LaughFest veteran and Michigan native, Sinbad is also internationally known for his movie roles including "Planes," "Jingle All the Way," "Houseguest" and "Necessary Roughness." He also appeared in five of his own HBO comedy specials, his annual HBO music concert series, and has found great success with his two Comedy Central specials, 2010's "Where U Been" and 2014's "Make Me Wanna Holla."

Willman is a magician, comedian and TV personality. He is a frequent guest on the "Tonight Show," "Ellen" and "Chelsea Lately." He also hosts hit shows "Cupcake Wars," and "Win, Lose or Draw." The Los Angeles Times dubbed him, "a new breed of magician who's making magic cool again for grown-ups." Time Out says his live show "has to be seen to be disbelieved."

Kosta, a Michigan native, is currently the resident clown on Fox Sports 1's flagship series "Crowd Goes Wild." There, Kosta and Regis Philbin lead a panel of sports experts in a lighthearted look at the world of sports. He has appeared on "The Tonight Show with Jay Leno," "Chelsea Lately" and "Conan." He also starred in his own special on Comedy Central, and can currently be seen as a correspondent for E!'s" The Soup Investigates."

"What Gilda's Club Grand Rapids has done is truly amazing," said Kosta. "To have a festival of this caliber in my home state makes me so proud, and I was honored to be the winner of the inaugural year's stand-up comedy competition. When I was here for LaughFest, I had the opportunity to tour Gilda's Club and learn more about the important work they are doing for people living with cancer and grief -- and I'm so proud to be associated with it. I've been trying to get back to the festival for years - I'm glad they finally invited me back to be part of such a special event!"

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

Signature Event tickets are currently available for purchase. Table sponsorships are available for $2,500, $5,000 and $10,000 for tables of 10. Individual tickets are available for $250. $100 of the individual ticket cost is tax deductible. In addition to the Signature Event performers, LaughFest also announced the final five shows for the 2015 festival. Tickets for these shows are on sale now.

Gilda's LaughFest was created by a team at Gilda's Club Grand Rapids in 2011. Since inception, LaughFest has averaged 55,000 attendees per year. Proceeds from the festival will go to support the free cancer, grief and emotional health programs offered through Gilda's Club Grand Rapids.

For information or tickets, call 616-735-HAHA (4242) or visit