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Comedian David Alan Grier delights nearly 300 troops at Forward Operating Base Loyalty in Baghdad on Saturday night.
Comedian David Alan Grier delights nearly 300 troops at Forward Operating Base Loyalty in Baghdad on Saturday night. (By Lisa Burgess / S&S)

BAGHDAD — David Alan Grier of the 1990s TV series “In Living Color” and two fellow comedians kicked off a three-day visit to the Baghdad area with a show Saturday night for nearly 300 delighted troops.

With routines lasting almost a half an hour each, Grier, Kevin Avery and Kristopher Tinkle offered their audience at Forward Operating Base Loyalty little on the war, the military or Iraq.

Instead the men focused on such universal topics as jobs, relationships and, of course, sex.

Avery, a comic who often opens for comedian Dave Chappelle, moaned about his latest blind date.

“Who am I kidding? It was an Internet date. Let’s call a spade a spade.”

Desperate for conversation, he brought up the Civil War.

“So how did that turn out, anyway?” his date replied.

Tinkle, meanwhile, who was a guest on the Howard Stern Comedy Tour, joked about his “real” job, substitute teaching, and the reactions he gets from kindergarteners when they hear his last name.

Much to the audience’s amusement, Tinkle also deftly handled a persistent heckler, ultimately offering him a universal hand signal that wasn’t a thumbs-up.

But the evening’s headliner was clearly Grier, who opened his act with an unprintable joke about firebrand cleric Muqtada al-Sadr and his choice of Sadr City as a neighborhood.

Grier quickly moved on to a long and physical riff about running the Los Angeles marathon that had some soldiers literally rolling out of their seats with laughter.

He said it took him four hours and 26 minutes, “which means that people were walking faster than I was running at the end of the race.”

However, Grier said, he did train in advance for the big day by joining a running club.

“We worked out, I don’t know, two, three days.”

“The race itself, Grier said, “was exciting for about a mile and a half.”

But after about five miles, “society as we know it began to break down.”

He then mimed runners performing a variety of personal hygiene activities usually confined to private spaces.

“And by mile eight, we ran out of food,” Grier said pathetically. “We were eating fruit from the trees; breaking into houses, stealing the Halloween candy.”

Eventually, despite hitting the dreaded “wall” at mile 20, hallucinating and running backward — all of which he re-enacted — Grier said he did complete the race.

“I started the race the first Saturday in March,” Grier said. “By the time I was done, it was Cinco de Mayo.”

Grier said he volunteered to make the trip, his first to Iraq, and then recruited friends Tinkle and Avery to accompany him.

He said after the show that he wasn’t particularly concerned with the danger.

“The USO hasn’t lost anyone yet,” Grier said.

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