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Laughfest announces comedic lineup for 2014

GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. (NEWSCHANNEL 3) - Seriously funny business in Grand Rapids Tuesday morning as the folks behind Laughfest announced the 2014 lineup.

Some big names heading to the 10-day comedy festival including Lily Tomlin. The Detroit native is making a special appearance in partnership with Broadway Grand Rapids.

 This year's Signature Event will feature Emmy award winning comedian, longtime TV personality and late-night talk show host Jay Leno.

Also performing this year will be Chris Tucker; and LaughFest veterans, Jim Gaffigan and Sinbad.

Several other acts were also announced for LaughFest, along with a "$50,000 Challenge" by five local companies to raise funds specifically for Gilda's Club Grand Rapids Children's cancer, grief and emotional health programs.

"As we enter our fourth year, we are thrilled to continue building upon such a great community festival," said Joanne Roehm, festival director of LaughFest. "The first three years have given us a solid foundation and we're continuing this tradition of laughter by featuring stand-up comedy, improv, music, dance, speakers, pets, children's shows, free professional and amateur showcases and a variety of other acts to give everyone the opportunity to laugh together." Roehm also noted that more announcements of talent and details will be made as the festival draws closer.

Here is the release detailing the other performers who will be taking the stage:

In addition to the headliners, who were announced, other acts coming to LaughFest 2014 include Netflix's Arrested Development actress, Maria Bamford; YouTube sensation Miranda Sings with special guest Colleen Ballinger; comedy trio Todd Barry, Rory Scovel and Nick Thune; and stars of TruTV's Impractical Jokers, The Tenderloins, made up of Sal Vulcano, Joe Gatto, James Murray and Brian Quinn.

Officials also detailed the Gun Lake Casino Presents National Stand-Up Comedy Showcase, which features two showcases with 10 seriously funny comics: Cameron Esposito, Aparna Nancherla, Johnny Pemberton, Baron Vaughn, Joe Zimmerman, Tone Bell, Kurt Braunohler, Carmen Lynch, Barry Rothbart, and Hampton Yount.

The Best of the Midwest Competition, underwritten by Wolverine Worldwide, will feature 10 Midwestern comics duking it out for the $2,500 cash prize. Competitors are Johnny Beehner, Kevin Bozeman, John Conroy, Maggie Faris, AJ Finney, Drew Frees, Mike Lebovitz, Matt McClowry, Bryan Morris and Ms. Pat.

Bissell Presents the Clean Comedy Showcase, underwritten by Blue Cross Blue Shield, features two showcases with eight comedians who specialize in bringing serious laughs without vulgarity. Performers include James P. Connolly, Tony Deyo, Robert Mac, Pat McGann, Andy Hendrickson, Michael Palascak, Louis Ramey, and Rik Roberts.

The Family Friendly Series, presented by Meijer, includes performances by Milkshake, a band on a mission to create great rock music for kids; Super Saturday Kids Zone, a themed carnival for all ages; and Saturday Nite Teen Zone, a 13 and up hangout for teens.

The Bud Light Presents Blue & Late Night Comedy Series features two great performers, 30 Rock's Judah Friedlander, and author and Chelsea Lately writer and round table guest, Jen Kirkman.

Rounding out the day's announcements was LaughFest's Best, which features late night shows with little sampling of comedians from across the festival. And local comedy troupe River City Improv, representing Calvin College, will put on a show that weaves skits, games and songs with audience suggestions to create a unique entertainment experience.

As a way to raise funds specifically to support programs at Gilda's Club Grand Rapids, five community sponsors have come forward to match funds raised through the "High Five" campaign. This year the campaign aims to raise $100,000 for children living with cancer or grief, and for in-school emotional health programs. Local companies Terryberry, Feyen Zylstra, Pioneer Construction, Eenhoorn, and American International Foods will match each $5 donation, up to $50,000. Individuals interested in donating to the "High Five" campaign may do so by purchasing a button at a participating restaurant or business in West Michigan, or by donating at www.laughfestgr.org <http://www.laughfestgr.org/>.