The Commercial-News, Danville, IL

Local News

April 9, 2012

Four comedians to headline show at arena

Program benefits homeless veterans

DANVILLE — A comedy show benefiting a program for homeless veterans was so successful last year that it’s coming back.

Operation Comedy, featuring four comedians, will start at 8 p.m. Saturday at the David S. Palmer Arena, 100 W. Main St. Doors will open at 7 p.m., when the southern-rock band Sour Mash 7 of Indianapolis will perform. The band also will perform after the comedy show.

“It’s like getting two shows in one — music and comedy,” said Jon Stites of Indianapolis, founder of Operation Comedy. “It’s going to be a great show.”

The show will feature four comedians — Stites, who has been on “The Bob & Tom Show” and is a lead columnist for National Lampoon; Troy Davis, who’s been on “The Bob &Tom Show”; Rich Ragains with “National Lampoon”; and Todd McComas, who’s featured on Comcast Cable.

A portion of the proceeds will go to the Homeless Veterans Program at the Veterans Affairs Illiana Health Care System. Also, donations will be taken during the show.

Stites, an Army veteran, started the comedy program as a way to entertain and honor veterans — those in recent service, as well as the older vets from the Korean and Vietnam wars. In fact, all veterans are admitted free. Anyone with a military ID may pick up free tickets — no strings attached — at Cellular One in Towne Centre; about 100 tickets are left.

Stites also gave free tickets to the city of Danville for its firefighters and police officers.

Tim Jobin, substance use disorder specialist with the homeless program at the VA, said of Stites and his team, “They do a good job and they’re passionate about helping veterans — that’s a good combination.

“It’s a wonderful opportunity to get out and enjoy a comedy show.”

Jobin didn’t attend last year’s show, but he said he heard it was hilariously funny. Besides, the show supports a good cause, he said.

Stites said he likes the work being done by the VA’s homeless program, which is directed by Jennifer Gerrib. He described her as passionate about her job, adding, “She never drops the ball on anything.”

He also said he was thrilled with last year’s show, saying, “It was one of the best shows we’ve ever done. It was packed; it was electric. The comics blew the roof off the place.”

Although the show benefits veterans, the general public will enjoy the diverse topics. The comedians cover various topics across the board, he said, and their humor is rated PG-18. The comedy is geared toward adults, but it isn’t vulgar, he said.

Operation Comedy’s motto is “Reintegrate. Appreciate.” The “reintegrate” refers to the Army’s yellow ribbon reintroduction program to help veterans return to non-military life, and “appreciate” refers to letting the troops know they are being supported.

The show’s corporate sponsors are Old National Bank and Cellular One.

FYI

Admission to Operation Comedy is $15 for general admission and free to anyone with a military ID. Tickets are available at the arena box office or at http://www.palmerarena.com. Free tickets for veterans may be picked up at Cellular One, 28 Towne Centre.

For more information, go to the website http://www.operationcomedy.com

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