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get your laugh on—however you slice it, get that lov- able laughing feeling back into your life. From silly stage shows to dance parties and magic comedians, it’s time to chortle unabashedly and start all your sentences with, “did ya hear the one about…?” Laugh lines? Bring it on!


augh ‘til it hurts. That might just be the case this March as LaughFest descends upon Grand Rapids. With an impressive amount of family friendly events and activities, join the festival in making this month the time to get your smile back,

BABY LOVES DISCO Crush inside The B.O.B. 20 Monroe Ave. NW, Grand Rapids

Mar. 11 & Mar. 12, 10:30 a.m. and 2 p.m. $7;

Parents and children will be laughing and mov- ing uncontrollably inside Crush nightclub. Don’t bring the wee ones there too often? We can imagine. Shake things up a bit with a dance

party for toddlers and pre-schoolers featuring disco tunes from the ‘70s and ‘80s. Celebrating laughter for the health of it, this LaughFest event benefits programs offered through Gilda’s Club Grand Rapids so you can sweat it out with a little dancing and creative choreography that’ll have your family giggling right out the door. Family friendly gets turned on its head break dance style with this event that’s guaranteed to get little boo- ties grooving. What’s funnier than watching little kids dance?

MADAGASCAR LIVE Miller Auditorium, 2200 Auditorium Dr., Kalamazoo Mar. 8, 7 pm; Mar. 9, 4 & 7 p.m. $15-$85;, (269) 387-2300

Follow some zany animal characters on an unexpected journey to Africa in Madagascar Live at Miller Auditorium. Alex the Lion, Marty the Zebra, Melman the Giraffe and Gloria the Hippo are brought to life through imaginative sets and costumes, action-packed adventure and original songs. “We fully expect

to see kids dancing in their seats,” says Miller Auditorium’s Bethany Gauthier. The blockbuster DreamWorks film is brought to the stage in a show for the entire family featuring New York’s Central Park Zoo animals setting off to discover how to survive in the wild. Of course, everyone’s favorite plotting penguins are on hand as well. “I’m a big fan of the penguins — they’re hilarious. So much so, they have their own spin off cartoon show,” Gauthier said. Bottom line: the penguins have a slot in the Nickelodeon lineup—which translates to major street cred with the kids.


MAC KING St. Cecilia Music Center, 24 Ransom Ave. NE, Grand Rapids Mar. 19, 2 p.m. $10-$17.50 ;

You don’t have to travel all the way to Vegas to see Mac King, “Magician of the Year” (so says the Magic Castle in Hollywood). LaughFest, the festival of laughs, snags King to perform at St. Cecilia Music Center. Hailed by many as the premiere comedy

magician in the world, King stars in the long-running Mac King Comedy Magic Show at Harrah’s in Las Vegas. Combining his trademark visual style of magic with simple humor, King is the perfect choice for an all ages how. “People laugh at different things,” says Wendy Wigger of LaughFest. “We may not all laugh at the same things, but we all laugh and we thought Mac King’s show would be fun and inviting.”

GABRIEL IGLESIAS DeVos Performance Hall, 303 Monroe Ave. NW, Grand Rapids Mar. 20, 8 p.m. $27.50-$37.50;

The gifted performer Gabriel Iglesias creates hysterics at the DeVos Performance Hall and teens ages thir- teen and up are welcome. “I would look at them as being PG-13,” Wendy Wigger of LaughFest said about the festival’s teen-friendly comedians and shows. “We wanted people to have a

rating system so families could know what they were getting into.” Iglesias, the “fluffly” comic in the Hawaiian shirt presents a show filled with storytelling, parodies and sound effects that bring all his personal issues to life. Parents can cackle right along with their kids without wincing or feeling embarrassed as Iglesias offers up a fairly clean and animated comedy style for a night of big belly laughs (no pun intended). n

by Melissa Black |


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