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A&M military tradition beckons GI comedians to Rudder

Published: Tuesday, March 26, 2013

Updated: Tuesday, March 26, 2013 00:03

GIs of comedy


From left: Tom Irwin, Jose Sarduy and Thon Tran used comedy as a means of coping with stress from their military tours and now tour the country to perform shows for soldiers and supporters.

“GIs of Comedy,” composed of former Army and Air Force personnel, will bring its comedy skit to Rudder Auditorium on Tuesday.

Thom Tran, Jose Sarduy and Tom Irday have partnered with executive producers R. Ben Garant and Thomas Lennon — writers of the “Night at the Museum” franchise and creators of “Reno! 911” — to continue serving military supporters through comedy, one laugh at a time.

“We’re really excited to come to A&M,” Tran said. “We have heard that the Corps is a big part of A&M and has this rich military history. It is such a great opportunity to perform for cadets as well as for College Station.”

Thom Tran, retired Staff Sergeant of the U.S. Army Special Operations Command and creator of the GIs of Comedy tour, served in Iraq during Operations Enduring Freedom and Iraqi Freedom. After being wounded in 2005, he returned to the U.S. and suffered from post-traumatic stress disorder. Comedy became his preferred type of therapy as he began performing at comedy clubs around California. Tran soon realized the need for an all-military comedy troupe and contacted several of his comrades, which ultimately resulted in the GIs of Comedy Tour.

“Three years ago, this troupe was literally just an idea in my head,” Tran said. “It started out small, just performing at comedy clubs around [Los Angeles], and now we are performing all across the nation. The Army commissioned us to perform in 14 states last year and we’re even producing our own TV special. It’s been amazing.”

Jose Sarduy, Tom Irwin and Jody Fuller will perform alongside Tran. All three men served or still serve in some branch of the U.S. military and have served tours in Iraq.

The GI Comedy Tour began in 2010 and has since attracted the attention of audiences around the world. The members have been featured on CNN, FOX and Lifetime. The troupe’s mission is to provide entertainment for service members who have returned from a combat deployment, who are preparing to deploy or those who support the military.

“We believe the efforts of these veterans to bring their love of country to the comedy stage provide an excellent opportunity for the Brazos community to show our support for all those who wear the uniform of the U.S. Armed Forces,” said Fred McClure, CEO of the George Bush Foundation.

Tran said the group’s experience and subject matter go beyond the military.

“The three of us all have different experiences as actors, writers and fathers,” Tran said. “Because of this we don’t just talk about military, we also talk about our life experiences. Between of the three of us we have over thirty years of comedic experience.”

Maggie Austin, freshman biology major, said the concept of the show interests her.

"I love the idea of the interaction between veterans and college students in such a casual context,” Austin said. “I'm really excited to go tomorrow.”


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