Al ASAD, Iraq -- The sounds of rolling laughter could be heard echoing out of the Al Asad Morale, Welfare and Recreation Center as service members enjoyed a comedic performance, April 10.
Three comedians, Chris Simpson, Tobe Hixx and Jamal Doman, treated service members to a night of hilarity with a two-hour comedy show.
The show, which toured through various bases in Iraq, was organized by AKA Productions, the largest private provider of entertainment for the United States military stationed around the world.
The comedians, all veterans of military performances, participated in the tour for different reasons, but said supporting the troops was what mattered to them most.
“I know a lot of comics who said they didn’t want to do it, but I jumped at the chance,” said Doman. “To me its part of doing my American duty, I guess you would say. Just to bring the troops’ spirits up and make them laugh, and take their minds off whatever its on, at least for an hour or two.”
The comics said the military audiences they perform for are a little different from the ones back home.
“The weird thing about audiences here, is that they are so not used to seeing people from the states. They are so excited to see you,” said Simpson. “They go nuts. It’s really cool. I like it. Especially if you mess with them a little bit.”
“You don’t have to worry about them getting as rowdy as they do back in the states,” added Doman with a smile. “But, I’ve never performed in front of an audience where everyone has guns. That kind of brings up the pressure a little bit. You have to be funny when everybody in the room is packing.”
After the show, the comedians set aside time to talk with service members and sign autographs.
“It’s just for the troops basically,” said Hixx. “I just like meeting Soldiers and talking to them, trying to encourage them and letting them know we appreciate them. That’s why we come.”
The service members were just glad to have some time to laugh.
“It was awesome,” said Cpl. Carlin Thrower, an intelligence analyst with Marine Wing Headquarters Squadron 2. “I had a good time. There were a lot of people that came out to the show.”
The comics have two more shows on their tour before heading back to the states, according to Simpson.
“This is our seventh show I think,” said Simpson. “We’ve been everywhere from little bases with fifty people on them, doing jokes in the cafeteria. We did one show in a garage on a truck. It’s been fun.”
All three comedians said they had fun on the tour, and are looking forward to coming out again.
“I’d absolutely come out again” said Simpson. “I had a blast. The military people take care of you. Certain bases don’t have much, but whatever they have, you know, they rolled out for us.”