USO Entertainers Stephen Colbert, Katy Perry and Others Win Big at Emmys, MTV VMAs

Gen. Ray Odierno gives Stephen Colbert a haircut during Colbert's performance for U.S. military personnel June 7, 2009, in Baghdad. USO Photo by Steve Manuel

Gen. Ray Odierno gives Stephen Colbert a haircut during Colbert’s performance for U.S. military personnel June 7, 2009, in Baghdad. USO Photo by Steve Manuel

It was a big two days for USO entertainers, who brought home a total of six Primetime Emmy Awards and two MTV Video Music Awards on Sunday and Monday.

Stephen Colbert — whose “The Colbert Report” took home Emmys for Outstanding Variety Series and Outstanding Writing for a Variety Series — went on a high-profile USO tour to Iraq in 2009. Colbert’s mentor Jon Stewart‘s “The Daily Show” also won an Emmy for Outstanding Picture Editing for Short-Form Segments and Variety Specials. Stewart went downrange for the USO in the summer of 2011. And last year, former interim “The Daily Show” host John Oliver and a trio of show writers and producers visited troops in Afghanistan and Kyrgyzstan.

Comedians Jimmy Fallon and Louis C.K. also took home awards. Fallon — who emceed the USO-coordinated Fourth of July concert at the White House in 2009 — won Outstanding Guest Actor in a Comedy Series for hosting “Saturday Night Live.” Louis C.K. garnered Outstanding Writing for a Comedy Series honors for “Louie.” He has gone on two USO tours — including a 13-base trip to Afghanistan in 2008 — and even worked the USO into an episode of his hit FX show.

“The Big Bang Theory” won Outstanding Multi-Camera Picture Editing for a Comedy Series. Actors from the show went on a USO tour to meet troops in the Pacific in 2012.

 Katy Perry salutes service members before performing "Firework"

Katy Perry salutes service members before performing “Firework” at the “VH1 Divas Salute The Troops” show in 2010. Courtesy photo

Meanwhile, Katy Perry took home Best Female Video at Sunday’s MTV Video Music Awards for “Dark Horse.” Haley Williams – lead singer of Paramore – also took home a VMA, winning the MTV Clubland Award for her EDM collaboration with Zedd on “Stay the Night.” Both women were part of the 2010 “VH1 Divas Salute the Troops” show presented by the USO. Paramore did their portion of that show from Camp Arifjan, Kuwait, as part of a USO entertainment tour.

Stephen Colbert Salutes the Troops…Again

Actor/comedian Stephen Colbert (center) of Comedy Central's "The Colbert Report" performs for U.S. military personnel at Al Faw Palace in Baghdad, Sunday, June 7, 2009. (USO Photo by Steve Manuel)

We hope you enjoyed yesterday’s clip from The Colbert Report‘s special “Been There: Won That: The Returnification of the American-Do Troopscape.” (Yes, that’s the actual title!)

Last night the special included an interview with Brent Cummings and Josh Bleill, two injured veterans who “appreciate the support they’ve received from the American public after their tours in Iraq.”  Check out the fun interview below and be sure to scroll down to see John Legend’s special performance of “Coming Home,” dedicated to the veterans in the audience…


Stephen Colbert Salutes the Troops

Gen. Ray Odierno, Commanding General, Multinational-Force-Iraq, pretends to give actor/comedian Stephen Colbert of Comedy Central's "The Colbert Report" a haircut during Colbert's performance for U.S. military personnel at Al Faw Palace in Baghdad, Sunday, June 7, 2009. (USO Photo by Steve Manuel)

We can hardly believe it’s been over a year since the USO named Stephen Colbert “Mr. USO” and sent him to Iraq for a week-long taping and airing of The Colbert Report.  That tour was a smashing success, with hundreds of Troops able to enjoy the show in person and millions more viewers back home.

Beginning yesterday and continuing through tonight, The Colbert Report is dedicating two special episodes as a salute to the Troops.  “Been There: Won That: The Returnification of the American-Do Troopscape” (yes, that’s the official title!) features several of the same guests who appeared during the Iraq shows, including Gen. Ray Odierno, who – as you’ll recall – participated in one of the most talked about moments from the show: shaving Stephen Colbert’s head.

Last night Colbert returned the favor, by presenting a very special…Well, we won’t give it away.  Just watch the clip (pun intended) below!

Hope for America: Performers, Politics and Pop Culture Opens at the Libarary of Congress

Bob Hope - with his trademark golf club - at Lackland Air Force Base in 1990.

Yesterday marked the opening of a new, ongoing exhibit at the Library of Congress in Washington, DC, that’s very near and dear to our hearts.  Titled “Hope for America: Performers, Politics and Pop Culture,” the exhibit features such USO memorabilia as the golf club Hope swung onstage during his 1969 world tour, and the Presidential Medal of Freedom awarded that same year by Lyndon Johnson, for service to the men and women of the armed forces.

For many, that item is the penultimate symbol of Hope’s universal appeal during his five decades of supporting the Troops.  “Some of the younger troops have asked me what the golf club is all about,” Stephen Colbert said during his own USO tour in 2009. “Well, it is partly an homage to Bob Hope who did USOs like this for 250 years. Good man.”

Colbert, in fact, kicks off the exhibit with a humorous video message, a fitting tribute since Hope’s own 85,000-page catalog of jokes is on display for the first time.  Woven throughout are images and reminders of Hope’s unfailing patriotism and support of the military, no matter the circumstances.

“Hope for America” also focuses on Hope’s unique takes on politics and the culture of Washington: “There are so many congressmen and senators here,” he said to an audience gathered at the Kennedy Center Honors in 1985. “I don’t know whether to tell a joke or pass a bill.” Pause. “As if there was a difference.”

The exhibit is on long-term display in the Library of Congress’s  Thomas Jefferson Building, located on 1st Street SE between Independence Avenue and East Capitol Street; the events schedule can be found online.  Hope (get it?) to see you there!

And the Grammy Goes to… USO Entertainers Win Big at the 52nd Annual Grammy Awards!

Actor/comedian Stephen Colbert performed for U.S. military personnel at Al Faw Palace in Baghdad, Sunday, June 7, 2009. (USO Photo by Steve Manuel)

You might not have known it, but watching the Grammys on Sunday was like seeing an All-Star USO show.  Congratulations to USO tour veterans Zac Brown Band, Carrie Underwood, Randy Travis, Third Day and Stephen Colbert for winning big during last night’s 2009 Grammy Awards!

The winners, who are all consistent hit makers and renowned performers, were presented scores of Grammy’s including Best New Artist, Best Country Collaboration with Vocals, Best Rock or Rap Gospel Album and Best Comedian Album, respectively.  The real winners, of course are the men and women of the U.S. military who saw these great performers live in large and remote locations around the world.  Those memories last a lifetime.

A special congratulations also goes out to the other talented artists below, who were nominated for a Grammy and who have generously volunteered their time and talents to tour with the USO over the years.  You’re ALL winners in the eyes of the USO, and to the hundreds of thousands of U.S. troops serving in the U.S. Armed Forces who you’ve entertained.

Congratulations for a job well done!

USO Celebrity Tour Grammy Nominees and Winners

* Brad Paisley, Nominee for Best Rock Instrumental Performance

* Carrie Underwood, Nominee for Best Female Country Vocal Performance

* Lee Ann Womack, Nominee for Best Female Country Vocal Performance

* Trace Adkins, Nominee for Best Male Country Vocal Performance

* Jamey Johnson, Nominee for Best Male Country Vocal Performance

* Brooks & Dunn, Nominee for Best Country Performance by a Duo or Group

* Zac Brown Band, Nominee for Best Country Performance by a Duo or Group

* Rascal Flatts, Nominee for Best Country Performance by a Duo or Group

* Brad Paisley & Keith Urban, Nominee for Best Country Collaboration with Vocals

* Lee Ann Womack & George Straight, Nominee for Best Country Collaboration with Vocals

* Jamey Johnson & James Slater, Nominee for Best Country Song (songwriter)

* Zac Brown Band, Nominee for Best Country Album

* LeeAnn Womack, Nominee for Best Country Album

* Third Day-Nominee-Best Gospel Performance

* Kathy Griffin, Nominee for Best Comedy Album