News: 'For the Leathernecks' tour blazes through K-Bay
Story by Kristen Wong
MARINE CORPS BASE HAWAII - Marines and sailors laughed, cheered and even sang along for two straight hours during the For the Leathernecks III Comedy and Entertainment Tour at the base theater, June 4, 2014.
This was the fifth show performed at MCB Hawaii since its establishment by Headquarters Marine Corps’ Single Marine Program in 2011. The tour featured comedians Ben Gleib, Ronnie Jordan and Mark Viera, musical guest THE FARM, and DJ Big Mike.
“We continue to hope that we can get funds within our leadership (to) support the program,” said Michael Brown, the program specialist at the Single Marine Program and Recreation Centers in Quantico, Va. “(The Marines and sailors) enjoy it, they have fun, they get to relax and laugh, take that stress off.”
Michael “DJ Big Mike” Saunders provided pre-show music. Saunders, who considers himself the “luckiest person in the world to perform for the uniformed personnel,” invited service members to the stage to sing familiar tunes by Journey and Vanilla Ice.
“It’s the least I can do since I can’t fit the uniform,” joked Jordan, who was the first act, entertaining the crowd with comedy about numerous topics from his newborn son to his love for a sandwich.
Jordan has performed at universities and on comedy tours with well-known comedians like Dave Chappelle and Mike Epps. “Doing my part to help out (by entertaining), whatever I can do to break up the tension of their regular day.”
Gleib, who has made various TV appearances including performing on “Chelsea Lately,” improvised during his performance, weaving jokes into his act on the spot as he chatted with members of the audience.
“The whole reason that comedians get to say whatever they want on stage is because we have freedom in this country which (service members provide),” Gleib said. “Seems like the ultimate way to say thank you is to make them laugh directly.”
Viera, who joked with the audience about topics from Corn Flakes to teenage attitudes, is a Leatherneck tour veteran, having performed for the last three years. One of his best memories on the tour was a basketball game against the Marines.
“I’ll be telling my grandkids, God willing, one day about how the comedians whooped the Marines’ butt in basketball,” Viera said. “Although I almost died playing that game against the Marines, it was a true highlight.”
THE FARM is a country music trio that originated in Nashville, Tenn.
“Every base has a slightly different vibe but the overall effect is the same just tying to get these men and women to forget whatever they’re going through for a few hours show them a good time and let loose for a few minutes, and it’s really fun to watch that happen,” said Nick Hoffman, who plays the fiddle.
Guitarist and singer Marie said it was humbling to know that service members have told her the band’s song “Home Sweet Home” is on their iPods and it has helped them through difficult times.
“I definitely thought they were funny,” said Pfc. Chas Taylor, a field artillery cannoneer for Charlie Battery, 1st Battalion, 12th Marine Regiment, from Fairborn, Ohio. “It’s a good thing to go to after work (and) let off steam.”
After the performances, service members were able to meet the entertainers for autographs and pictures. For Horne, meeting the service members is “always rewarding.”
“We’re just as much fans of them as they are of us,” said Damien Horne, THE FARM’s keyboard player and guitarist.