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Contradiction in terms? The stereotype of members of the military is focused, serious, dedicated, determined ... and hilarious? Yes, at least in the case of the guys that make up the standup troupe The GIs of Comedy. These men were - or are - in the U.S. Armed Forces, but they also have a wicked way with a joke.
Appreciative audiences: The group performs in comedy clubs and theaters - including Sunday's gig at the Garde Arts Center - but the comics have also entertained troops in Iraq and Afghanistan. The GIs of Comedy are (from left in photo) Will C., Thom Tran, Tom Irwin and Jose Sarduy.
The initiator: Former U.S. Army Staff Sergeant Thom Tran came up with the notion of the GIs of Comedy. He was injured while serving in Iraq, where he specialized in small unit and tactical communications. He was awarded the Purple Heart and medically retired in 2005 as a result of his combat wounds. Faced with PTSD, he was advised to find something to do to relieve the stress - and he turned to comedy. In 2009, he was named the USO's "Funniest Service Member" at a benefit for the Bob Hope USO.
It's complimentary: Thanks to an anonymous donor, all active duty and retired military members can see the show for free. And it's $15 for military families.
- KRISTINA DORSEY
GIs of Comedy, 7 p.m. Sunday, Garde Arts Center, 325 State St., New London; $33, $43; (860) 444-7373, gardearts.org.