GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. (WOOD) — Local comedians are polishing their act as a West Michigan tradition designed to celebrate laughter returns this week.

Gilda’s LaughFest begins Wednesday. The annual event aims to raise awareness for the cancer and emotional health support program offered through Gilda’s Club Grand Rapids.

Attendees can catch performances from nationally-known comedians throughout the festival — along with the opportunity to see local comedians to showcase their talents.

One of the comedians featured is Allen Trieu of Grand Rapids.

“For me as a comedian I think it important to introduce people to different styles,” said Trieu.

Trieu is hosting LaughFest’s clean comedy show on Friday night and is also taking part in what’s known as “The Dirty Show”

“I think comedy is a place where there should be something for everybody. I think during LaughFest it’s important that anybody can go see a show and enjoy themselves. We span the entire range of standup comedy during Laughfest,” said Trieu.

Trieu is also hosting “Kids Joke Time,” a showcase designed for kids to show off their standup skills.

“That’s been one of the fun shows to do throughout the festival. What makes it fun is that you can see the lightbulb click the first time they get up and start getting some laughs,” said Trieu.

Trieu is locally recognized for his quick thinking and stinging comebacks, winning four Grand Rapids Roast Battles. He’s also known in the sports world as a football recruiting analyst.

“Standup is a nice release for me but sports is what I do on a daily basis,” said Trieu. “Comedy gives me the release I need after talking to high school students and their parents all day about recruiting.”

LaughFest 2023 will include nearly 50 free and ticketed shows venues in Grand Rapids, Holland, Lowell and Wayland’s Gun Lake Casino.

LaughFest individual tickets are available for purchase at, and in-person at the Van Andel Arena or DeVos Place Box Office. Proceeds from LaughFest and LaughFest’s High Five Campaign benefits the support programs offered through Gilda’s Club Grand Rapids.