Veterans will get a laugh out of it.
That’s the goal of Operation Comedy, which will bring its comedy show to benefit veterans and their families to the Lerner Theater in downtown Elkhart Sept. 17.
"This performance unites veterans with their communities, with education, with recognition and laughter. Several hundred tickets will be donated to the local military and the families of those who made the ultimate sacrifice protecting our freedoms will be recognized," said Mayor Dick Moore in making the announcement.
Moore said Elkhart County area families who have lost members in the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan will be honored at the show.
According to Jon Stites of Operation Comedy, he and three other comedians will perform and there will also be bands performing. The show will last about 21/2 hours.
Tickets for veterans will be distributed through the Elkhart Army National Guard armory, according to Stites.
Sponsors of the event are Old National Bank and IU Health Goshen.
Stites said about half of the theater’s 1,648 seats will be filled by veterans. A portion of the proceeds will be given to the U.S. Department of Veterans Affair’s programs to help homeless veterans.
"I was not aware of how many veterans are homeless. I was blown away when I found out," Stites said.
Stites said he is a veteran and is pro-veteran. "I served during the Clinton administration, so the most dangerous situation I saw was a bar fight in Houston," he joked.
The VA estimates that about 16 percent of all homeless people are veterans.
Stites said beside himself, the comedians will be Larry Reeb, who performs as Uncle Lar on the Bob & Tom radio show, Michael Malone and Jeff Oskay.
"Our shows are pretty awesome and we take great pride in it," Stites said.
Mayor Moore and Stites said the show is rated "PG-18," and is intended for adults.
Operation Comedy has performed in Illinois, Kentucky, Indiana and Ohio, according to Stites and the last six shows were sold out.
"This is going to be the best show you have ever seen in your life," Stites said.
Tickets for the show are $15 and can be purchased at the Lerner box office.
Operatoin Comedy’s website is www.operationcomedy.com.