Kuwait—The Sandbox Comedy Tour allowed five comedians to travel from New York to an undisclosed location in Kuwait for the purpose of entertaining the U.S. troops, along with some coalition forces that work side-by-side with the U.S. military. On Thursday night, deployed troops made their way to the recreation center known as the Drop Zone, in hopes of having a good time and to laugh. This group was not disappointed in the slightest with the entertainment that they received that night.
Laughter is considered to be the best medicine. Kavita Khajuria writes that while modern life becomes increasingly complicated, happiness and humor improves brain function. With the comedy tour being an excellent event half-way through the present deployment rotation.
“The end goal is to make sure that every person that walks in, walks out with a smile on their face,” says Staff Sergeant Mapson, the recreation coordinator for the Force Support Squadron.
Mapson’s goal was met that night as hundreds of military men and women howled in laughter with each joke.
“I think that people are more receptive to the things we bring in,” says Mapson, “Especially the entertainment because of the six months deployed and away from your family. Morale kind of dies. You get upset. Especially at this point when you’re at your half way mark in the deployment.”
Comedian Mike Cannon gave an extremely hilarious anecdote on a time in his childhood when he came to the realization that he was too old to be disciplined by his parents. His mother was chasing him down, he intercepted each strike, and when she realized the challenge, she brought in her sleeping husband, who Cannon described as a “sleeping polar bear.” Cannon remembers the moment his mother lied on him to his father as she looked him in the eye. He runs in fear to his bedroom where his father rumbles in, steps on a towel Cannon used recreationally, came to the realization what that towel represented, gave a dry heave and escaped.
Comedian Robyn Schall entertained her guests with stories of her love relationship with food and how it played into sex scenes. She asked the crowd how dating life was in a deployed environment and was greeted with silence.
Master Sergeant Shultz stated, “Our purpose is building resiliency and airmen regeneration…you can remove recreation and we will be fine, but we have come to realize that people need more than a place to sleep and a place to eat.”
Shultz believes in order to keep up productivity while deployed and away from loved ones, morale needs to be high. He acknowledges that in general, people can survive with the basic amenities of food and shelter, however, that is not enough. Mental health is a very real thing and stressors can be the deployments, being away from home and family. For many Airmen, this is their first deployment. So, in order to ensure the stresses are limited, groups such as the Force Support Squadron, create events that engage these Airmen throughout the deployments.
“There are all different kinds of people,” Master Sergeant Shultz says. “There are homebodies that just want to go to work and go to sleep, but there are also people that need that social interaction.”
The Sandbox Comedy Tour was another great success under the Force Support Squadron’s belt. 150 people were expected to show up and over 380 people filled the house. Staff Sergeant Mapson views it as a great success and is optimistic of future events he has planned for everyone.