Ex-Marine Drew Carey entertains troops in Baghdad
September 29, 2003
BAGHDAD INTERNATIONAL AIRPORT, Iraq — It was a standing room only, bring-your-own-gun evening as comedian Drew Carey headlined nearly two hours of comedy for troops in Iraq.
Carey and six other comedians performed two United Service Organizations shows in Baghdad for largely 1st Armored Division audiences Friday and Saturday, and another show Sunday in Tikrit for the 4th Infantry Division.
Much of Carey’s performance, thick with Army jokes, brought loud cheers from the audience and even a few smiles from the assembled front-row brass.
Carey’s only boos came when he announced that he was a former Marine. Some enterprising soldiers held up a large sign stating, “We forgive you Drew.”
Kathy Kinney, who played the makeup-heavy Mimi on TV’s Drew Carey Show, followed his opening, talking to the troops who filled in between helicopters and equipment at a large hangar at Saturday’s airport performance.
She received a large cheer from male soldiers when she explained one benefit of being away from home. “The longer you’re here the closer the Olsen twins get to being legal,” she said. The two girls, who starred in TV’s “Full House,” will turn 18 on June 13, Kinney said.
“Drew Carey Show” fan and 1st ID soldier 2nd Lt. Katrina Gawlik said Kinney’s performance was great, as was that of Vietnam veteran and Georgia native Blake Clark, whose act had a Southern twist.
“He talked about saying ‘fixin’ to’ and I can relate to that,” said Gawlik, who is also from Georgia. “When I start talking and say ‘I’m fixin’ to’ to people back home, they say ‘you’re what?’”
The three nights of off-colored jokes contrasted greatly with the monotony of the troops’ singular tan uniforms and area’s sandy landscape.
“This gets everybody’s minds off the war,” said Sgt. Richard Schnieder. “Every day here is a Monday. This breaks up the routine and makes everybody happy.”
Actor Bruce Willis and his blues band The Accelerators finished a Middle East USO tour last week, performing for 101st Airborne Division troops in Mosul. Actor Brian Dennehey and comedians from the Laugh Factory will be visiting troops at various locations in the region this week.