Back in Black … er, camo. Comedian Lewis Black gets ready to fly to another forward operating base during a 2008 USO entertainment tour. USO photo by Dave Gatley
Spring is fast approaching. That also means USO entertainment tours are gearing up across the world.
A trio of NFL stars just visited bases in the Middle East. The Band Perry is slated to preform for troops Monday in England at and the Sesame Street/USO Experience for Military Families is set to launch another year of touring on April 4.
Earlier this week, Politico highlighted two comedians – Roy Wood Jr. and Lewis Black – who’ve taken the USO stage to bring laughs to troops.
“You’re not getting the same kind of sense of self-worth when you get off the stage in Iowa on a Thursday night as you did entertaining a bunch of men and women who just want a slice of home,” Wood said.
Wood – a regular on TBS’ “Sullivan & Son” - wrapped a USO tour to Guam and the Philippines earlier this month.
The Politico story also quoted Black. The legendary stand-up comedian and frequent contributor to The Daily Show with Jon Stewart has been on three USO tours.
“You go to perform for the troops it’s what it must have been like performing at Woodstock,” Black said. “It’s extraordinary. … The amount of energy that you get on the stage is like nothing — I don’t know what else to compare it to. It’s like an adrenaline rush. They’re so thrilled that you are there. .. It was one of the most extraordinary times in my life.”
You can read the full Politico story on USO tours here.
WHO: Seven-time Tour de France champion Lance Armstrong
Grammy award-winning comedian Lewis Black
Country music singer/songwriter Kix Brooks
Hall of Fame songwriter Bob DiPiero
Comedian Kathleen Madigan
Academy award-winning actor/comedian Robin Williams
WHEN: Winter 2010
WHERE: Various locations
WHY: What happens when you take three of today’s funniest performers, add in two country music legends and round out the mix with one of the most inspirational athletes of our times? Troops overseas are about to find out as the USO once again teams up with Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Admiral Mike Mullen for the annual USO holiday tour featuring Lance Armstrong, Lewis Black, Kix Brooks, Bob DiPiero, Kathleen Madigan and Robin Williams.
Partnering with the USO since 2000, the Office of the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff has deployed more than 11 entertainment tours and lifted the spirits of more than 150,000 service men and women. Delivering a much-needed break to troops overseas, the seven-day tour will deliver laughs and goodness to our men and women in uniform during a time of year that matters most, the holidays.
This trip will mark the sixth USO tour for Williams, the third for Black and the second for Armstrong, Brooks, DiPiero and Madigan.
Lewis Black performed and greeted troops as part of the 2008 Chairman's Holiday Tour. (USO Photo by Dave Gatley)
Comedian Lewis Black has emceed the USO Gala, gone on two USO tours, and is getting ready to embark on a third, but as he reveals in his new book “I’m Dreaming of a Black Christmas,” it wasn’t an easy decision at first.
Although Black has long been a supporter of the troops, he recently told NPR’s Neal Conan “that he was “stunned” to hear from the USO. ‘Have these people seen my act? Do they have any idea what they’re getting?’ he says.”
The tours changed his life, however, and he explained that – even after a grueling schedule and sandstorms – “the audience of servicemen and servicewomen made it all worthwhile.”
Click here to listen to the full interview and keep an eye out for more on Black’s 2010 USO tour!