Write616 and Fubble Entertainment are teaming up with LaughFest to offer a new event held at Fountain Street Church. Our panel, made up of four writers, will read works they have written that use humor to address the hardships and difficulties we all face in life. Moderator Fred Stella will direct a Q&A with the audience. This event will be a first step in learning about how writing can be good therapy.


Meet the panelists:

Tommy Allen is a Calvin College graduate and publisher of the online magazine Rapid Growth (www.rapidgrowthmedia.com). He is an award-winning visionary receiving Media Person of the Year and a Community Spirit Award. In 2013 he stepped away from his emcee work to debut new material as a stand up-comic and has since been performing around the city at various venues. Allen is known for his honest delivery about growing up in a fundamentalist household but also his many years at religious institutions of higher learning. When Allen is not volunteering in his community, he does slow down to spend time with his partner of 20+ years engaging in old couple activities like trying to teach their aging rescue dog new tricks. (She will have none of it.)

Elizabeth Kerlikowske is president of Kalamazoo Friends of Poetry. They do many things, one of which is an annual “Can Poetry Be Funny?” reading (and it always is!) She is the author of eight books/chapbooks, appears in many anthologies, and was awarded the Community Medal for the Arts in 2017.  She graduated from Ottawa Hills High School and attended GRCC.

Teresa Thome is a two-time Emmy award winning producer and a writer/performer living in Grand Rapids and Los Angeles. She is Co-founder and Managing Partner of Fubble Entertainment.  Her solo show, “Warm Cheese”, dealing with the loss of her mother, most recently performed at the Hollywood Fringe Festival will be presented at LaughFest this year. Some of her previous projects include work with LaughFest and its Signature Event (Betty White/Martin Short/Alan Zweibel) (Creative Producer/Writer), the children’s show, “Come On Over” (Producer), “Fashionista and Glamour Girl” with Joan Rivers (Producer), “I’ve Got a Life in Kalamazoo” with Ed Asner and Marion Ross (Producer/Writer) and Grand Rapids Community Theatre: The Documentary (Producer). Her essay “Mogen David” was presented in the ArtPrize Anthology curated by Great Lakes Commonwealth of Letters (now Write 616).  Oh, and she’s married to the moderator.

Never behind the microphone without a sarcastic remark, Andrew Wasson melds humor, wit, and poetry to tackle topics and situations that make us our awkward, human selves. A native of Grand Ledge, Andrew currently resides in Kalamazoo, where he is the host of Put UP or Shut UP Open Mic at Blaze Hookah Lounge. Always restless, Andrew has appeared on the Kalamazoo Lively Arts television program, the Electric Poetry radio show, and regularly competes in regional poetry slams. A self-professed “comedy nerd”, Andrew utilizes the influences of comedians and writers like Mel Brooks, Bo Burnham, Bill Burr, and Chuck Palahniuk when creating and performing his poetry. He hopes to use his humor to make poetry more accessible (and honestly, less boring), and to help people enjoy themselves.

Fred Stella, Moderator, has extensive experience in comedic performance, personal counseling and has an infectious, often-imitated-but never-replicated, laugh. He has lectured on grief & humor for Gilda’s Club, both through LaughFest & at the clubhouse. He is the Outreach Minister (Pracharak) for the West Michigan Hindu Temple, President of Interfaith Dialogue Association & the proud spouse of Teresa Thome.


The LaughteRx Series is presented by: