LaughFest relived through new streamable album


Courtesy to LaughFest’s Facebook

Mary Racette

For anyone who missed out on the 10th Anniversary of Gilda’s Club LaughFest, a streamable album from The Clean Comedy Showcase is now available. The album, titled “Seriously Funny,” can be streamed on Pandora or Sirius XM’s Laugh USA Channel. 

The proceeds of “Seriously Funny” will go towards Gilda’s Club Grand Rapids. Gilda’s Club is run entirely on donations and offers free emotional healthcare for anyone who has been affected by cancer or is grieving a loved one who has passed away due to any cause. The non-profit started LaughFest in 2010 as a fundraiser for their services, and 10 years later, the event has grown into a community tradition.

Fourteen sets from four different comedians are featured on “Seriously Funny.” The Clean Comedy Showcase ran from March 5-7, but now, selected sets are available for anyone to enjoy for free. 

Comedians whose stand-up sets are humorous, but not vulgar, are included in The Clean Comedy Showcase. It is a family-friendly showcase aimed to make everyone laugh.

“We wanted to do something special to commemorate the 10th anniversary of the festival and with The Clean Comedy Showcase being one of our most popular shows since the festival’s inception, it felt like a great fit,” said Joanne Roehm, the strategic initiatives and LaughFest director of Gilda’s Club Grand Rapids.

Through LaughFest’s collaboration with The Syn and 800lb Gorilla Records, Roehm hopes the album will give exposure to the festival and the artists involved. 

Joe Zimmerman is a New York City-based stand-up comedian whose sets on “Seriously Funny” range in topics from male friendship to birdwatching.

The recording featured on “Seriously Funny” was taken from Zimmerman’s last night at LaughFest, which he said happened to be the performance he was most proud of. Luckily for Zimmerman and the rest of The Clean Comedy Showcase comedians, they were able to get their sets in before the festival had to cancel the rest of the shows due to COVID-19. 

It turned out to be the perfect moment to record because content has dwindled since then,” said Zimmerman. 

The accessibility of the showcase has not only given the artists an opportunity to spread their work beyond their live performances, but it has provided listeners with free entertainment that they can enjoy from the comfort of their own homes. Since live shows have been canceled, there has been an increase in the value of streamable and virtual entertainment.

“There has been a lot of ways people have found comfort and joy in these down times,” Zimmerman said. “For me, it’s been watching weird streaming classes, but I know for a lot of people it is listening to and watching stand up comedy, so hopefully this will reach some of those people who are enjoying that when they are home.”

The meaning behind the album shifted since the time it was recorded. Zimmerman said while at first the album was just about celebrating the 10th anniversary of LaughFest and putting content out online, it became much more than that once everything was canceled.

Roehm said, “Right now, we need to laugh more than ever. We’re hopeful this album will bring a little joy during a difficult time as we all continue to navigate COVID-19.”