News: Comedy legend brings laughter to Yongsan troops
Story by Nikki Maxwell
YONGSAN GARRISON, Republic of Korea – Legendary comedian George Wallace brought his sharp wit and patriotic spirit to the Yongsan community for a performance at the R & R Bar and Grill, Jan. 25.
This is Wallace’s first year teaming up with Armed Forces Entertainment. He put his Las Vegas show on hold while he travels around the world delivering laughter to deployed U.S. troops with fellow comedian Don Barnhart.
“Everybody needs to laugh,” Wallace said. “I appreciate the opportunity to entertain the troops and give back to show them we are grateful for their sacrifices for us.”
While many comedians rely on vulgar language for their jokes and punch lines, Wallace has a different, more tasteful approach.
“My show is usually PG, and never more than PG-13 depending on my audience, so there is something for everybody,” Wallace said. “Bad words are like jalapeno peppers. You may be able to handle one or two, but nobody wants to drink a jalapeno milkshake!”
That positive attitude and work ethic is one of the things that drew the admiration of Barnhart years ago in the early days of his own career.
“He [Wallace] was always encouraging me, and he inspired me to do this as a career,” Barnhart said. “I actually wanted to join the military but when I stopped by the recruiter’s office one day it was closed, and as fate would have it I got a job in a comedy club that night. So here I am.”
Barnhart explained that Armed Forces Entertainment approached him about producing a comedy show for the road to tour at military bases around the world.
“I immediately thought of George, and how great it would be to team up with him for this project,” Barnhart said. “And he didn’t let me down. He even cancelled his Las Vegas show to be here for this!”
Wallace says no matter a person’s race, background, civilian or military, they all have one thing in common.
“I love my diverse crowd, and the common denominator is laughter,” Wallace said. “We all have relationships and life troubles, but my goal is to help you forget about your problems when you are at my show.”
“It’s a gift to be able to make people laugh,” Wallace says with a grin. “Not everyone can do it, but I have been doing it for a long time, and I am not stopping any time soon.”
Wallace’s 38-year comedy career began on the same stage with Jerry Seinfeld on the Tonight Show.
“We made each other a promise that night, that whoever made the first million dollars would give half of it to the other guy…I am still waiting for my check but that’s okay; I can wait,” he laughed.
Right before the show here, one of Wallace’s fans shook his hand and thanked him for bringing his comedy to the Yongsan community.
“We really appreciate you being here to entertain our troops and civilians,” said Col. Michael E. Masley, commander of U.S. Army Garrison Yongsan. “This means a lot to us and our families stationed here, away from home.”
“Being here in Korea to entertain our troops is one of the greatest experiences of my career, and I will be back,” Wallace said. “The men and women in uniform do so much for our country. The least I can do is give’em a laugh.”
The veteran funny man weaves everyday scenarios into his show, engaging the audience in a back and forth dialogue that quickly puts the whole room in a fit of laughter. Nearly two hours later, his humor is still working its magic as he asks the audience where they are from, discusses U.S. history and current events with a comedic twist.
“I be thinkin,' I can solve all of the world’s problems,” Wallace said. “Just make me president for a day and see what happens!”
Wallace recently published a book called, "Laff it Off.’"His Las Vegas show at the Flamingo resort is still going strong after a decade. During his Yongsan performance he further demonstrated his appreciation for the troops by offering service members free tickets for his show.
“I love to give back for what you do,” Wallace said. “Remember, laughter is free and it’s the best medicine. When you leave here tonight you’re going to feel better than when you leave the doctor’s office.”
The standing room only audience at the R & R Bar and Grill got a heavy dose of laugh medicine during Wallace and Barnhart’s performance. And judging by the smiles as they stood in line for autographs with the two comedians, they will renew the prescription.
Wallace’s list of movie and television acting, writing and producing credits include "House of Payne," "The Lady Killers," Scrubs," "Mr. Deeds," "The Parkers," "Seinfeld," "Sullivan & Son" and dozens more.
For more information about Armed Forces Entertainment and their other tours for the troops, visit http://www.armedforcesentertainment.com/