Within a span of just eight days, I will pull off what could possibly be the most diverse balancing act in comedy history. Last week I was in middle America, entertaining some college kids in Charleston, IL. This week, I fly to Afghanistan. How’s that for mixing things up?

Going from Amish farm country to a war zone, I’ll be able to see both ends of the peace spectrum. Each side seems very distant from the other, but both have some things in common…like, for example, the years and years of not advancing. Technology, schmechnology. I joke, but I do envy each culture’s luxury of walking in public without having to listen to some annoying teenager’s conversation on a two-way Nextel phone.

First of all, the show in Charleston was great, and the next day, having some time to kill, I ventured to the Abraham Lincoln cabin and farm on the outskirts of town. Honest Abe never lived there, but he visited his family quite often. Being the history dork that I am, I had to stop by. I’m glad I did. They go the extra mile there to make things look as authentic as possible. They even have people dressed up in 19th-century garb who reenact the past by chopping wood, cooking biscuits, and talking smack about “that punk-ass-bitch Stephen Douglas”.

However, when I approached the cabin, one of the girls who was supposed to be role-playing as a farm worker recognized me. She said, “Hey! You’re that comedian from last night. You had a good show.” Normally, I would say thanks and chit chat. But at the time, we were in the company of her co-workers and about ten other tourists. I didn’t want her to lose her job on account of her breaking character. So I tried to cover it up by denying her claim, calling her an evil witch, and demanding that she be burned in order to save the village.

Everyone looked at me like I pissed on the Emancipation Proclamation, so I just turned and left. As I drove away, I heard the girl say, “That horseless carriage Saturn station wagon doth make my heart flutter.”

In a total 180-degree move, it’s now time to return to the Middle East, a place I call “Crazy-wacky-stan”, to entertain our troops. It will be an about-face on several fronts. For example, contrary to the Lincoln exhibit in Illinois, much of the Middle East needs a different wardrobe only if they want to reenact the third century. That fashion stagnation, however baffling, has to be good news for college students…they can wear the same costume to their ’60s, ’70s, and ’80s theme parties. They’ll save tons of dinars on rental fees.

This will be my second trip to the region. I was in Iraq last year for ten days, and apparently I impressed enough important people to be invited back. This time, however, the U.S. Army has politely asked me not to call my time in the desert the “Camel Toe Tour”. I will oblige out of respect. It makes sense anyway, because I bet they call that fashion faux pas something else, like a “burqa wedgie” or a “crotch-side bomb”. After all, with actual camels being so prevalent there, calling it “camel toe” would only frustrate the locals more than democracy ever could. I wonder if camel toe ever incited sectarian violence. You better believe I’m going to ask while I’m there.

Like last year, I’ll be working with some great comics, and I’m very much looking forward to it. This time around, I’ll be on tour for about seven weeks, which can seem frightening. I want to pass along a request to you all. In the unlikely event that I get kidnapped by some crazy radicals, I ask for two favors…

  1. Pray for me, and
  2. Promote my website to the media.

My parents don’t like when I say that, which tells me that the thought of me as a hostage either upsets them, or they really don’t like my website.

I am totally kidding around, of course. Everything is going to be safe and secure. After all, the mission was accomplished a long time ago, right?

I expect to be witness to another amazing experience performing for the soldiers who risk their lives. I will try to post updates on here as much as possible while I’m over there, so please check back periodically.

If by chance you know anyone stationed anywhere in the Middle East, please ask them to watch for if/when we’ll be playing their base. I don’t know which camps we’ll be visiting yet, but with seven weeks of touring, chances are quite good that I’ll be swinging by their neck of the sand. And tell them that I genuinely thank them for everything they do.

Thanks for the continued support!!

Categories: Columns