We had an amazing time on the Summer 2016 USAF Tour and we're going to start 2017 with a 15 Base, 11 State tour featuring…Read More
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- The GIs on KROQ! (Part 1)
- The GIs on KROQ! (Part 2)
The GIs of Comedy is a comedic troupe of troops, who have taken their love of their country and brought it to the comedy stage. Quite simply, as the motto says, they're Standup Comics. All Veterans. Still Serving Their Country. One Joke At A Time.
The GIs of Comedy Tour is the brainchild of comedian, writer, producer, and former US Army Staff Sergeant Thom Tran. Having served in Iraq during Operations Enduring Freedom and Iraqi Freedom, Tran was medically retired in 2005 after he was wounded in combat in Iraq. After returning to civilian life, comedy became the only real therapy for Tran, who continues to struggle with Post-Combat Trauma, as many veterans do.
Originally a small group of warrior comedians, the team now includes nearly a dozen professional touring standup comics who have all served their Country in the US Armed Forces including original members Thom Tran (US Army), Jose Sarduy (US Air Force), Tom Irwin (US Army), and now tour veterans PJ Walsh (US Navy), Les Jennings (US Air Force), Ralph Figueroa (US Army), James P. Connolly (USMC), Jody Fuller, (US Army), Key Lewis (US Navy), Benari Poulten (US Army), Walter Campbell (US Air Force) & Justin Wood (US Army).
"Comedy helps me get through the days. The good ones and the bad ones", says Tran. "I know a lot of troops who are still struggling the way I am. Comedy helped me, so I want to help bring the laughter to them too. I'm an NCO (Non-Commissioned Officer) at heart. My job is to take care of troops. That's what I want to do. That's what we all want to do."
In 2012, The GIs of Comedy partnered with the Special Operations Warrior Foundation, a 4-Star Military charity that raises college scholarship money for the children & families of fallen U.S. Special operations personnel. Since 2012, the group has raises or had raised in their name over $20K for the foundation. The merchandise sold on tour goes to the SOWF. You can help by making a donation at http://www.specialops.org.
Meet The GIs of ComedyUse Arrow to See More
Quick FactsFull Name: Thom Tran; SSG (Retired), US ArmyOccupation: Comedian/ Creator of The GIs of Comedy
Best Known For
- The Deadliest Warrior (Spike TV)
- Call of Duty: Black Ops (Consultant)
- Rattl (Rock Band)
In 2003, Thom was awarded the Purple Heart after being wounded in combat during a firefight in Iraq. Then in 2005 he retired from the Army because of those wounds. Comedy became his therapy after combat, and his goal was to bring that therapy to soldiers who are still deployed. In 2008, Thom toured overseas for 2 weeks performing to troops all over Iraq and Kuwait, and in 2009 was named the USO’s “Funniest Service Member” at a benefit for the Bob Hope USO at LAX.
Thom’s performed all over the United States, now calling Los Angeles his home and can usually be found on stage at the famed Hollywood Improv, the World Famous Comedy Store, and clubs all over LA when he’s not on tour throughout the country.
Thom created the GIs of Comedy hoping to bring the therapy of laughter to troops still serving in combat zones.
Quick FactsFull Name: Jose Sarduy; MAJ, US Air Force ReserveOccupation: Comedian/ XO
Best Known For
- Stand Up & Deliver (NuVo TV)
- Laughs (Fox)
Jose Sarduy splits up his time between flying to gigs all over the country, and flying planes for the Air Force. Still an active member of the United States Air Force Reserve, he’s an accomplished aviator and veteran of Operations Enduring Freedom and Iraqi Freedom.Gathering material from a wealth of life experiences, Jose takes audiences on the rollercoaster ride that’s been his life. From his mother’s ability to kill a chicken with her bare hands, to his Dad’s ability to hit on any woman, anytime, there was never a dull moment.
He’s been featured in the Air Force Times, was selected for as a finalist in the Seattle Comedy Competition in 2009, and the Lucky 21. His comedy career started out in New York and Philadelphia, getting on stage anytime he wasn’t serving. He performs all over the country now and is rapidly becoming an audience favorite for his ability to make deportation, and life threatening moments hysterical!
Quick FactsFull Name: Key Lewis; US NavyOccupation: Comedian
Best Known For
- Funniest Wins (TBS)
Sacramento California born Key Lewis is a high energy, improvisational, storytelling, multiple-personality nutcase! His love for the people and hunger for the stage is his undying motivation. His comedic stories about his interracial childhood, family, and unusual views on relationships, make Key simply a joy to watch. His ability to improvise and interact with all types of crowds makes this up and coming comic and actor one to look out for.
Key served in the US Navy on the USS Arctic AOE-8, based out of San Diego, and after leaving the Navy, now serves with the GIs of Comedy stand up comedy troupe bringing laughter to service members stationed all over the world. Last year Key performed with the GIs of Comedy in Italy, Egypt, and Jordan as part of their international tour.
Key Lewis has appeared on Marlon Wayans TBS’s Funniest Wins, Starz Networks StaannDup, Kevin Harts One Mic Stand as well as Bill Bellamy’s Who’s Got Jokes! Key says, chase your dream, always know your audience; don’t act funny, be funny; don’t be a jerk; don’t worry about the quantity of your material but the quality; the sooner you create a relationship with your crowd, the better you will be.
Quick FactsFull Name: Tom Irwin; PFC (former); US ArmyOccupation: Comedian
Best Known For
- 30 Days in Iraq (One Man Play)
- Rattl (Rock Band)
Tom Irwin spent his time in uniform with the US Army’s 5th Engineers, and now builds his career as a standup comedian in Los Angeles, and touring all over the world.
Tom was an invited guest performer at the White House (yes, THAT White House), as well as being a mainstay at Hollywood’s most famous comedy clubs including the Laugh Factory, and the Ice House.
Although Tom served in the Army during peacetime, his FOUR tours to Iraq to perform for our servicemembers shows his continued dedication to those who continue to serve in the Armed Forces.
Tom also turned one of his nearly month long tours in Iraq into a riveting one man show called “25 Days In Iraq”, which he took throughout the country performing to both civilian and military audiences.
Tom Irwin’s comedy has been featured on National Public Radio’s “Talk of the Nation” and “This American Life”.
Quick FactsFull Name: Walter Campbell, (Retired), USAFOccupation: Comedian
Best Known For
The newest member of the GIs of Comedy, Walter served in the US Air Force honorably for over 20 years and is now one of the East Coast GIs!
Quick FactsFull Name: PJ Walsh; US NavyOccupation: Comedian
Best Known For
- American Ninja Warrior
- Blue Collar Radio
PJ Walsh is known as one of the hardest working comedians behind the microphone, and for good reason. His boundless energy and the strength of his physical comedy have carried him around the globe touring with the stars of the Blue Collar Comedy Tour and found him performing on celebrated stages including Radio City Music Hall, Universal Amphitheater and the Ryman Auditorium with legends such as Bill Engvall, Larry the Cable Guy, Ron White, and Jeff Foxworthy.
A successful show on Sirius Satellite radio & a role in the Lionsgate feature film “Delta Farce” followed.A veteran of the U.S. Navy, PJ served as a combat medic attached to the United States Marine Corp and later worked as THE dentist to the First and Second Families at the White House serving as the dentist to the Clinton Administration. In 2011, PJ partnered with H. G. Fairfield Arts Center for the Environment Inc. a 501 (c) (3) non-profit organization established by Marine & Korean War veteran Katherine Fairfield Freston for “Courage Continues At Home – 30 Shows In 30 Days”. Performing 30 one-hour, stand-up comedy shows throughout the Hudson Valley, New York region.
Quick FactsFull Name: Jody Fuller; Maj, USAROccupation: Comedian
Best Known For
- Chicken Soup for the Soul (Contributing Writer)
Jody Fuller is a comic, speaker, writer, and soldier with three tours of duty in Iraq. He currently holds the rank of Major in the US Army Reserves. Jody is also a lifetime stutterer. After a 4 year stint as an Army medic, he returned home to earn a Bachelor’s Degree in Business Administration. After the tragic events of 9/11, Jody made a decision to return to the Army by way of Officer Candidate School (OCS) at Ft. Benning, GA. In November 2003, he deployed to Iraq for one year as a platoon leader with the 296th Brigade Support Battalion of the Army’s First Stryker Brigade. In 2006, Jody left active duty Army to join the Alabama National Guard and has since deployed to Iraq two additional times. As of 2014, MAJ Fuller continues to serve.
He’s toured extensively with the GIs of Comedy on both state-side and overseas tours including in 2012 on the LOL Comedy Tour to 15 Army installations, and in 2014 for Armed Forces Entertainment to Italy, Jordan, Egypt and Israel.
Quick FactsFull Name: Ralph Figueroa; SGT (former), US ArmyOccupation: Comedian
Ralph Figueroa was born and raised in Southern California. This U.S. Army Veteran proudly served his country for 12 years and continues to serve the Military community by lending his talents to raise awareness.
Ralph's life long dream of making people laugh became a reality when he picked up the microphone for the first time on January 20, 2010 and has since become one of the hardest working comics in the Southern California comedy circuit. He’s been featured at various comedy clubs and colleges throughout California, Arizona, Nevada, Washington, Texas & Illinois and has opened for some of the biggest names in comedy today.
After years of working together at comedy clubs in Los Angeles, GIs of Comedy creator Thom Tran noticed how hard Ralph worked not only as a comic but as an asset to the veteran community in SoCal. His dedication to duty, integrity and most importantly his comedy made his a perfect candidate for the GIs of Comedy tour, and in 2015 was asked to join the group. He will be joining the team on his first international tour to Korea and Japan this year!
Quick FactsFull Name: Justin Wood; SPC (former), US ArmyOccupation: Comedian
The sweetest thing to come from Unionville Center, Ohio since his Grammy's homemade cinnamon apple sauce, Justin Wood, a United States Army veteran, can be seen performing regularly at bars and clubs around Los Angeles. Justin has also founded the show "Comics That Care." A show, through Volunteers of America, performing for homeless veterans.
Since moving to Los Angeles in 2011, Justin was recruited to perform with The GIs of Comedy after a impressive showing at a benefit performance for the West LA Fisher House Foundation.
GIs of Comedy creator Thom Tran felt confident enough in Justin's abilities as a comic as well as a his dedication to his fellow veterans & his ability to present himself and the group honorably, that Justin was sent to perform on behalf of the GIs by himself for a veterans benefit in Miami. Once again proving that not only is he a great comic, but he is a great representative of the GIs of Comedy and veterans around the world, Justin is now a regular touring member of the team.
Quick FactsFull Name: Les Jennings; SGT (former), USAFOccupation: Comedian
Eljaye is one of the newest members of the GIs of Comedy and a welcome addition to the troupe. He’s a Veteran of the United States Air Force, and while serving in Korea, he won the John Levitow Award, the highest honor presented to a graduate of Air Force Enlisted Professional Military Education (PME), including Airman Leadership School, NCO Academy, and the Senior NCO Academy.
After leaving the Air Force Eljaye began competitively competing as a body builder. He was named Mr. Chicago (Gateway Classic), Mr. Illinois, and a second place finish in the Mr. Universe Body Building Competition.
He's since retired from this "Profession" feeling that it's much easier to be in front of a room full of people fully clothed speaking into a microphone, than to be in front of them in a pair of Speedos…..or so he thought.
He uses his low key style to neutralize his appearance…..he's a chiseled, slabbed, muscle of a man complete with tattoos. But his hard exterior has a soft, creamy middle. He truly is the Yin and Yang of Comedy, and the opposite of Thom Tran’s scrawny, wirey exterior and hardcore NCO inside.
Quick FactsFull Name: Benari PoultenOccupation: Comedian/ Writer
Best Known For
A current US Army Reserve Master Sergeant, Benari is an East Coast GI and spends his days working at Comedy Central's "The Nightly Show" when he isn't touring with the team!
15November, 2017 18:00 PMSouthwest AsiaArmed Forces Entertainment Tour VI“The team is going back overseas with Armed Forces Entertainment for our SIXTH International tour, this time, back to Southwest Asia! This tour will feature tour veterans PJ Walsh (US Navy), Benari Poulten (US Army), Jose Sarduy (USAF),Key Lewis (US Navy), Ralph Figueroa (US Army) & new team member Steve Mazan (USN)! See MWR for tour details.
04November, 2017 19:00 PMVisalia Fox TheatreGIs of Comedy in the Central Coast
These guys were hilariously adequate.
We didn't think he could do it, but he found ANOTHER way to disappoint his mother and I.
I wasn't sure if I wanted to see their show or wash my hair...
We're doing a quick run of shows for our 2016 Summer Tour and hopefully gearing up for BIGGER state side tour, and mayyyyyyyyybe an overseas…Read More
We're back on tour for Armed Forces Entertainment performing for U.S. service members in Korea & Japan! Check out our TOURs page for dates and…Read More
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