The Rapidian

Wealthy Theatre & LaughFest - Full Preview!

Underwriting support from:

Wealthy Theatre / LaughFest Tickets

CMC Member tickets are just $5 for every Gilda's Club LaughFest event; CMC Members get ticket discounts on many WT events, and bar privileges.

/Gilda's Club

/Christopher Apap

Gilda's Club LaughFest is here! Community Media Center's Wealthy Theatre is proud to be a participating venue, with ten days of "more than movies" - events featuring special guests, appearances, Q&A opportunities, food, brew 'n view options, impersonators and puppets!

Like the highly publicized Wealthy Theatre premier screening of "American: The Bill Hicks Story" (see below) all WT events will have special features, making every night more than just a movie! From a Pee Wee Herman impersonator at the family-friendly screening of "Pee Wee's Big Adventure" to the Winchester Restaurant "What The Truck!" mobile food truck parked outside during "Shaun of the Dead" to the GR Hip Hop Coalition helping us introduce Spike Lee's "Original Kings of Comedy" as our closing event Mar it's going to be an exceptional, interesting and nowhere-but-here week of events at your 100-year old community venue, Wealthy Theatre!

All films are only $7 and can be purchased here.

Storyline descriptions (below) contain information from the Internet Movie Database (IMDb).

Friday, March 11 at 8:00 PM (18+) - "Punching the Clown"

With special guest Henry Phillips live in person, this presentation of “Punching The Clown” will be unlike any other! Mr. Phillips will introduce the movie and take questions and greet fans afterward.

Winner of the Audience Award at the Slamdance Film Festival, this uproarious and smart new comedy tells the story of Henry Phillips, a hapless modern day troubadour who grinds his way through the heartland, living out of his car and singing his twisted satirical songs to anyone who will listen. After a booking mishap involving a Christian fundraiser, he decides he’s hit rock bottom. Seeking to shake things up, he moves to L.A. where his luck changes overnight. Thanks less to his inept manager than to a wild case of mistaken identity, he falls backwards into a string of packed gigs, a record deal and even the promise of love. But he who lives by the whimsy of show business dies by it, and reality hits him like a fist in the face: an innocent miscommunication over a bagel brands him a neo-Nazi in the world of tabloid journalism. Luckily, somewhere between rock bottom and nowhere lies the perfect terrain for his dark and hilarious songs. Hailed by comedy icon Sarah Silverman as “the best movie about comedy I’ve seen so far,” this hilarious and evocative film is “totally primed for a fervent cult following.”

Saturday, March 12 at 4:00 PM (13+)  - "Pee Wee's Big Adventure"

Families welcome for this matinee screening with Pee-Wee impersonator (Philip Anderson) will greet everyone as they arrive in the lobby along with Miss Yvonne. Pee Wee and Miss Yvonne will then, at key moments in the movie, encourage audience participation with special “word of the day” surprises and audience dance-a-long to familiar songs like “Tequila!” It’s going to be the most fun-packed, original screening of “Pee Wee’s Big Adventure” ever!

The cartoonish and childish character Pee Wee Herman goes on a big adventure for the first time ever when his beloved shiny new bicycle is stolen by his nemesis Francis Buxton, a fellow man-child and neighborhood rich “kid.” He sets off on an obsessive cross-country journey, determined to recover it. Pee-wee's awkward and childish antics belie his attempts to be cool and mature.


Tuesday, March 15 at 8:00 PM (17+) - "Office Space"

Never screened before at Wealthy Theatre, Meanwhile Movie Series is proud to present as part of LaughFest the hilarious movie, "Office Space."

Wealthy Theatre Director Erin Wilson said, "Yeah... I'm gonna' need you to... go ahead and come in Tuesday, and see this movie, okay? That'd be terrific. Thanks. Oh - I'm also going to need you to go ahead and come in Wednesday, to see 'Shaun of the Dead,' okay? Grrreat."

Peter Gibbons just can’t seem to catch a break. His girlfriend is cheating on him, he has an obnoxious neighbor, and he’s completely miserable with his job as a small cog in a company called Initech. Then he visits a hypnotherapist, who dies just after putting Peter into a state of complete bliss. Free of worrying about making a living, he no longer feels the need to keep his job, just as the company is going through a massive downsizing. However, his new attitude only makes him more valuable in the company’s eyes, and his friends Michael and Samir are fired instead. Together, they scheme to plant a virus inside Initech’s computer system that will pull money into their own account.


Wednesday, March 16 at 8:00 PM (18+) - "Shaun of the Dead"

Paul Lee, owner of The Winchester restaurant (named after the bar in this movie!) will have his famous What The Truck! outside Wealthy Theatre before "Shaun of the Dead" with delicious food available as you make your way to this High-Def screening of SOTD!

British horror/comedy Shaun of the Dead is a scream in all senses of the word. Brain-hungry zombies shamble through the streets of London, but all unambitious electronics salesman Shaun (Simon Pegg) cares about is his girlfriend Liz (Kate Ashfield), who just dumped him. With the help of his slacker roommate Ed (Nick Frost), Shaun fights his way across town to rescue Liz, but the petty concerns of life keep getting in the way. When they’re trying to use vinyl records to decapitate a pair of zombies, Shaun and Ed bicker about which bands deserve preservation–New Order they keep, but Sade becomes a lethal frisbee. Many zombie movies are comedies by accident, but Shaun of the Dead is deliberately and brilliantly funny, while still delivering a few delicious jolts of fear. Also featuring the stealthy comic presence of Bill Nighy (Love Actually) and some familar faces from The Office.


Thursday, March 17 at 8:00 PM (18+) - "American: The Bill Hicks Story"

The late Bill Hicks frequently ranks in the top ten most important American comedians in history, yet many people don’t know his story. The Wealthy Theatre screening of “American” is the North American premiere of the movie that finally gets it right about the late, great Bill Hicks – a pioneer in the mold of Lenny Bruce and George Carlin, who was taken (by cancer) before his time. Wealthy Theatre and LaughFest are proud to feature a Q&A session after the movie that includes live Skype with the producers in London, England along with Bill’s brother Steve Hicks (in person) and Bill’s longtime fellow comedian Dwight Slade, both of whom knew Bill well. It's very likely we'll also be Skyping in Bill's mother, who fans may remember from her appearance on the David Letterman Show a few years ago. There will perhaps never be a screening of “American” like this again, and we expect a great crowd in the Peter Wege Auditorium.

Growing up in Texas, Bill Hicks first started performing comedy at the age of 15. He soon became a regular in Houston’s comedy circuit before moving to LA and embarking on a touring schedule playing up to 300 shows a year, all in a country where he was largely unknown. In 1990, Hicks performed in the United Kingdom for the first time and became an instant star, finding fame and notoriety which had escaped him in the US. Just as Hicks seemed on the verge of a commercial breakthrough in America, he was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer and died on February 24, 1994 at just 32. Using never-before-seen animation techniques we hear Bill’s story for the first time through the people who knew him best, his family and friends, showing a timeless legacy that’s as fresh and relevant today as it was when he wrote it.


Friday, March 18 at 8:00 PM (13+) - "Hairspray"

Entertainer April Evangelista will be here as famous John Waters actress “Divine,” greeting patrons as they enter in true Divine fashion – fabulous debauchery and raucous good times at Wealthy Theatre’s LaughFest screening of “Hairspray.”

‘Pleasantly Plump’ teenager Tracy Turnblad achieves her dream of becoming a regular on the Corny Collins Dance Show. Now a teen hero, she starts using her fame to speak out for the causes she believes in, most of all integration. In doing so, she earns the wrath of the show’s former star, Amber Von Tussle, as well as Amber’s manipulative, pro-segregation parents. The rivalry comes to a head as Amber and Tracy vie for the title of Miss Auto Show 1963.


Saturday, March 19 at 8:00 PM (18+) - "Team America: World Police"

Michigan's own Dreamland Theatre will be presenting an extensive display of marionettes in the Wealthy Theatre lobby and demonstrating movement and performance of the intricately crafted puppets before the screening. Get here early and see first-hand what’s involved with this style of puppetry before watching the funniest movie starring marionettes in the history of the world.

An elite U.S. counter-terrorism squad loses a member while decimating half of Paris in the reckless pursuit of Middle Eastern maniacs and a Broadway actor with a traumatic childhood secret is naturally hired to replace him. Oh–and they’re all marionettes. South Park maestros Trey Parker and Matt Stone (along with co-writer Pam Brady) came up with this shameless satire of pea-brained Hollywood action flicks and even smaller-minded global politics, so don’t expect subtlety or even a hint of good taste.


Sunday, March 20 at 8:00 PM (18+) - "Original Kings of Comedy"

This matinee screening of Spike Lee’s “The Original Kings of Comedy” will be introduced by local comedian DK Hamilton and the Grand Rapids Hip-Hop Coalition.

The Original Kings of Comedy achieves the seemingly impossible task of capturing the rollicking and sly comedy routines of stand-up and sitcom vets Steve Harvey, D.L. Hughley, Cedric the Entertainer, and Bernie Mac in the magic of experiencing a live concert show. Director Spike Lee and his crew plant a multitude of cameras in a packed stadium and onstage (as well as backstage, as they follow the comedians) to catch the vivid immediacy of the show, which is as much about the audience as it is about the jokes. And the jokes are funny.

All films are only $7 and can be purchased here.

We hope to see you through the week at Wealthy Theatre! 

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Yes, LF is full of super sweet and funny stuff.  Every day even.  It must be noted that the line up of films showing at Wealthy Theatre during the run is prime.  Never have I seen a line up of sure winners, every night of the week.  These movies are very inexpensive and can be even cheaper if you are a Grand Rapids Community Media Center member.  Check out for more info on membership.  Hope to see you at WT during the festivities.  Nice.