Local veterans join military comedy competition coming to Columbus

Operation HEAL*ARIOUS is looking for the next great comedian among military veterans and spouses at the National Veterans Memorial and Museum on Saturday, April 1.

In this “American Idol”-style comedy competition, contestants will audition at five tour stops across the country. The NVMM is the first stop on the tour before the operation visits Arlington, Virginia on May 4; Tacoma, Washington on June 4; San Antonio on July 15; and Fayetteville, North Carolina on July 29. The competition will find it’s top military comedian Nov. 4 at a finale show Hollywood, California.

Stepping up to the mic in Columbus is three Miami Valley veterans, including Jeff Norris, an Air Force veteran and active-duty Air National Guardsmen from Hamilton; Monica Daly, an Army veteran from Dayton; and Chris Karwaski, an Army veteran from Springfield.

Best Medicine Brigade, the organizer of the tour, aims to give active-military, veterans and their spouses more visibility in the comedy industry and help the healing process through comedy. Best Medicine Brigade founder and tour Executive Producer, Robin “Phoenix” Johnson is an Army veteran and Ohio native. She said she’s excited to kick off the first season of Operation HEAL*ARIOUS in Columbus during National Humor Month.

Johnson also leads a program called HEAL*ARIOUS, which sets out to “improve psychological performance in people, organizations and communities by harnessing the power of therapeutic humor.”

Operation HEAL*ARIOUS will be headlined by Ashley Gutermuth, a military spouse, actress and comedian. The show will be hosted by comedian and Navy veteran Stan Shelby, and will feature Doug Bennet— a Marine Corps veteran, comedian, actor and radio host. Judges for the tour include Army veteran and comedian Dewayne White, Air Force veteran and comedian P.T. Bratton and Army spouse and comedian Red Squirrel.


What: Operation HEAL*ARIOUS military comedy competition

When: Saturday, April 1 at 8 p.m.

Where: The National Veterans Memorial and Museum located at 300 W Broad St, Columbus

Cost: Tickets are $30 for adults and $20 for active-duty military and veterans. VIP tickets are also available for $50 and include a post-show meet-and-greet with the performers and judges, a pre-show reception with early entry at 6:30 p.m., preferred seating and one drink ticket.

More Information: For more information and to purchase tickets, visit https://nationalvmm.org/events/operation-healarious-comedy-night/

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