On a makeshift stage cobbled together with crates and canvas, my body pumped full of prochlorperazine and scopolamine, fighting off dehydration, exhaustion and seasickness, bobbing atop the high seas on the landing pad of a Navy ship, I see the laughing faces of the troops and I smile as I think, “This is worth it.”
Over the last couple of years I have been more than fortunate to be part of Comics On Duty, the ongoing series of comedy shows for the U.S. Armed Forces. Executive producer Rich Davis takes the tour, now in its 19th year, all over the world to wherever the troops are. This time it was fellow comedian JR Brow and I heading off to undisclosed locations on ships at sea!
Can’t tell you exactly where we were. Remember the old saying, “Loose lips sink ships”? They’ve updated it:
Of course, to get out to the middle of the ocean, you need to catch a heavy duty ride, and the marines did not disappoint! They hauled us out there on the very unique, awesome V-22 Osprey. It’s a real life Transformer. It takes off like a helicopter! It flies like a plane! It’s Ospreymus Prime. Here’s a shot of our escort Osprey, taken from the open back end of our Osprey:
Daaaamn! That guy is tailgating!
While on board the USS Bataan, we did a couple of fun, packed shows. These sailors and marines were, as they always are, some of the best audiences I get to perform for.
Their hospitality was again on par as they showed us what they do and told us their stories. That’s probably the best part, for me, in performing for the troops: hearing from the guys/gals who have volunteered to protect our freedoms. Of course, it doesn’t hurt that I get to see and do some cool things, too. Here I am, doing Extreme Planking (with some help from Rich):
Yeah, I know, I’m supposed to be facing down. But that’s hard to do when you’re getting sucked into the jet engine of a AV-8B Harrier II! (Just like the one Arnold Schwarzenegger hopped into in True Lies. That was before he hopped into his maid.)
Then, it was off to the USS Whidbey Island, sort of a smaller version of the Bataan. As such, I really felt the waves much more than before. That, plus the non-stop schedule, and the heat of the sun put me in a bad way. Here I am with a M4 Carbine and M203 Grenade Launcher and a M2000 Angry Face:
The ship’s doc gave me a bunch of meds and I got about 15 minutes of rest before the show. The photo at the top of this blog was taken on the landing pad of the Whidbey, just moments after I vomited and sprinted to do the show.
I’m not complaining. I wouldn’t have any basis to do so considering this is what the troops do every day. What I am saying is that as awesome as it is performing on television or at sold out clubs and theaters, being allowed the privilege of entertaining the U.S. Armed Forces is the best thing about my job.