KNX In-Depth presents a special one-hour show in celebration of Memorial Day weekend.
Hosts Charles Feldman and Mike Simpson chat with veterans who have seen combat in Iraq and the first Gulf War -- but now they crack jokes.
Their hope is to help fellow vets get through their trauma and heal through laughter.
Guests include: Thom Tran (US Army), Les ‘LJ’ Jennings (USAF), Steve Mazan (USN), James P. Connolly (USMC) came together in the studio to discuss how having their military backgrounds have played a role in using comedy for a greater good.
The group is clearly comfortable together, riffing off each other and saying how much camaraderie, humor, and respect goes into being comics who can tell jokes from their unique viewpoint. They joke that blackmail brought all of them together but really it was friendships forged by two of the men’s wives.
Called The GIs of Comedy, the group of around a dozen, was created in 2010 by Thom Tran when he decided that laughter was the best medicine for healing some of the physical and psychological wounds he received in combat, and those of his military brothers.
“We walked in the boots, we wore the same uniform, we charged the same desert so they get it a little better,” he said.
Steve Mazan, who served in the U.S. Navy on a submarine, added there’s always something to make fun of in the military.
“GIs of Comedy gave me an opportunity to give back to the military that has given me so much,” Les said.
None of the four have left behind their respective military attachment after serving and moving onto comedy.
Les recalled the discipline from the military that helped him grow up and get off the streets.
James said he was one of those soldiers who wanted to get out and did not want to feel ‘labeled.’
“Comedians and Marines are very similar to me. We are stubborn, put our head down and live a life that most people wouldn’t even want to do,” James said.
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