By: Jeffrey Kaczmarczyk
March 11, 2015
Comedian Sinbad hardly recognizes the Grand Rapids he once knew.
While growing up in Benton Harbor, Sinbad regularly would come to Grand Rapids to play basketball.
Gilda’s LaughFest brought Sinbad back to town on Tuesday for its fifth annual benefit gala to raise money for Gilda’s Club Grand Rapids.
The fifth and final entertainer of the night, Sinbad, after a long routine about relations between husbands and wives and parents and kids, was generous with admiration for Gilda’s Club Grand Rapids.
The organization, which provides assistance to individuals and families coping with cancer, is the nation’s largest in its network.
“Who’d have thought that? Of all the places in the world,” Sinbad said. “Twenty years ago you could buy a house here for $3,000.”
If that were true, money raised Tuesday could buy more than 40 of those houses.
Comedians Kathleen Madigan, Jim Breuer and Justin Willman, with host Michael Kosta, supplied the laughs while LaughFest’s High Five campaign collected $61,528 at the gala dinner and show in DeVos Place convention center.
The High Five tally was matched by a $35,000 contribution from the Cook Foundation and another $35,000 match from Meijer Inc., for a total of $131,528.
All five of the entertainers have appeared previously since the debut of the community-based festival of laughter in 2011.
Growing old was a common theme for Madigan, Breuer and Sinbad who together entertained for nearly two hours, hosted by Kosta, who was the inaugural winner of LaughFest’s National Stand-Up Comedy Competition in 2011.