Tuesday, June 09, 2009
By Jane Arraf
The Christian Science Monitor
To the delighted audience of about 250 servicemen and women who were the studio audience of "Operation Iraq Stephen: Going Commando," the show was part of an hour-long suspension of a war that for many on this vast base has become more drudgery than danger.
Comedy Central's "Colbert Report" airing Monday night is the first of four episodes of the satirical program to be taped in Iraq, sponsored by the United Service Organization (USO) and broadcast this week in a unique collaboration with the military.
In the ballroom of the marble palace at Camp Victory Sunday night, Mr. Colbert bounded onto the stage wearing a business suit made of the same camouflage fabric of Army uniforms. Swinging a golf club, he told the audience what a thrill it was to bring his show to the men and women in Iraq: "a country so nice we invaded it twice."
"It must be nice here, because I understand some of you keep coming back again and again and again," he said to a wave of laughter.
It's a little-known fact that there is a lot of dark humor in war – soldiers cope by finding things funny that the rest of the world likely wouldn't appreciate. Fittingly, one of the biggest laughs was in response to one of the reasons why Colbert said the US should declare victory here: The US has "eliminated weapons of mass destruction." "Easier than we thought" ran the subtext on a giant screen.
"This is not 'Camp Cautiously Optimistic'.... This is not 'Camp Obviously We Must Work Towards Sunni Participation in the Upcoming Elections in January 2010.' This is Camp Victory!," Colbert bellowed behind a set made up of red, white, and blue sandbags....(Click for remainder.)