Military service can be a tough topic to wrestle with, and even tougher for some to joke about. Later this month, four comics will take to the stage in Baton Rouge to bring their thoughts on military service, sacrifice, and life after serving their country.
The Veterans of Comedy Tour is the brainchild of veterans Will Clifton and Erik Knowles, who both got their starts performing in California before going on the road to clubs, military bases, and casinos to laugh about their experiences in the armed forces.
Baton Rouge comedian Robert Alan Hall will host the show at the Station Bar and Grill, which will also feature local comic Josh Watts, a USAF veteran. Hall started doing stand-up comedy while serving in the Navy and now co-hosts the Delete Comedy Open Mic on Wednesday nights.
“I have great reverence for my time in the military,” Hall said. “The jokes that I write, I did so much of that while I was in the military.”
To Hall, getting on stage allows him to peel back a few layers and share his soul. He says his military training focused on setting emotions aside in order to focus on doing the job, and when he discovered stand-up it gave him an outlet to explore those feelings.
“My goal in comedy is to be as intimate as possible at any given moment,” he said. “I want to be reborn.”
Performing for veterans also gives Hall a chance to dig back into the rawness of his past and not worry about having to filter things for his audience.
“Whatever we’re joking about, we’ve all been through or seen much worse,” he said. “It’s easier to express that emotion to another veteran because of that bond.”
Hall said comedy also helped him re-adjust to civilian life and form new bonds with other comics in the area. The Veterans of Comedy Tour’s mission reinforces this bond by highlighting local veteran comics across the country, bringing them to bigger stages or military bases to share their unique perspectives.
For Hall, it’s a chance to possibly help other veterans who come to see the show and grapple with the feelings they were once told to ignore.
“It’s okay to have emotions,” he said. “It’s okay to have these thoughts, and express them.”
You can get more information and tickets for the April 27 show on the Veterans of Comedy Tour Facebook page.