Comedians Don Barnhart & Jeff Capri Featured in New Film About Entertaining Troops Overseas
From The Beaches to the Battlefront longtime Hermosa Beach residents Don Barnhart and Jeff Capri bring laughter to the troops and are featured in the new documentary I Am Battle Comic, premiering with a screening and benefit Nov 9th at The Hermosa Beach Community Theater.
For almost 30 years, comedian and former South Bay resident Don Barnhart has been entertaining the troops stationed around the world. Thanks to the USO, Comics On Duty, Armed Forces Entertainment, corporate sponsorship and his own self-funding campaigns, Don Barnhart's Battle Comics have been able to repeatedly go to the front lines to help boost the morale and welfare of those serving in the Armed Forces.
Barnhart grew up in the South Bay and got his start as a comedian at The Comedy & Magic Club but that wasn't the original plan. In 1981, Barnhart graduated from Aviation High School and went to join the military. "Turns out they were closed that day", Barnhart joked in a recent interview. "Not the military, the recruiter. As I skateboarded home, I saw a help wanted sign outside of the Comedy & Magic Club and went in and got a job as a doorman and I promised myself if I ever made a living in comedy I would do something for the troops and when that opportunity came, I jumped on it."
Don worked hard and made himself invaluable to the club and at one time during the early 80's was the house emcee, talent coordinator and night manager of the club until he took Jay Leno's advice. Leno told the young Barnhart, "If you want to be a comedian, you've got to take your act on the road and see if it plays everywhere." Barnhart took that advice and with the encouragement of friend and owner of the club Mike Lacey, Don left the club and spent several years on the road perfecting his act and currently stars in his own show in Las Vegas performing nightly at Jokesters Comedy Club inside the D Casino Hotel on Fremont St.
"Barnhart's stand up comedy show is a thrill ride of well-written, topical material exploring modern day society in a way that is hysterical, intelligent and thought provoking. Don's ability to keep audiences of all ages howling with laughter and coming back for more is what separates him from the average joke teller" and he was named the "Best Bet" by the Las Vegas Review/Journal.
Don is currently in production on the new comedy series Jokesters TV as well as the sitcom and web series Class Clowns. The show, created by Barnhart follows the miss-adventures of fictional comedian and former sitcom star Johnny B who pulls a "Kramer" takes a "Chappelle" and comes back to star in his own "Seinfeld" type of web series/reality show. Don's new book, Finding Your Funny is a Best Seller List on Amazon. With a humorous and heartfelt forward by Comedy Legend George Wallace, Finding Your Funny goes beyond Barnhart's own 25-year journey and shares the brutal, often overlooked experience and advice of other comedians, entertainers, managers, agents and bookers. Barnhart is also the author of Creating The Life You Desire and a contributing author on I Killed.
Over the last year, Barnhart's film career has really been gaining steam as he is in production on Reefer Rendum and stars in the documentary, Finding The Funny with Brad Garret and LOUIE Anderson and plays a rather disgruntled, road weary and carefree comedian in the upcoming comedy film, Tribute To Fluffy. Don can also be seen playing a psychotic mad man in the new web series Max Justice.
Barnhart has been seen on MTV, Star Search, and Evening At The Improv and has been featured on ABC, CBS, FOX and NBC. Barnhart is a Bob and Tom Show favorite and his comedy CD, I'm Not Just EYE CANDY can be heard frequently on the comedy channels on XM/Sirius Satellite Radio. In his off time Barnhart teaches stand up, improv and comedy writing at The Las Vegas Comedy Institute.
Another Hermosa Beach based comedian who has toured with the Battle Comics is Barnhart's good friend Jeff Capri who organized the I Am Battle Comic benefit screening. Described as "Energetically laid back", Capri is one of the few second-generation comics working today and covers everything from pop-culture, biographical and political twists as well as a silly pun or three.
Jeff designed the 2013/2014 Hermosa Beach parking pass and has been seen on Comics Unleashed, LAST COMIC STANDING along with the new documentary Reefer Rendum and is a regular on XM/Sirius and in his off time teaches a standup comedy workshop.
Barnhart and Capri aren't the only local comedians that have toured for the troops. Gary Brightwell and Danny Villalpondo have both toured regularly and the four comedians were labeled as 'The South Bay Boyz' by legendary radio host Geno Michellini the creator of KLOS's Five O'Clock Funnies who featured the four comics on a regular basis. Although, not seen in the film, Brightwell and Villalpondo were some of the first comics to tour with Barnhart and Capri and their extensive body of work and dedication to entertaining the troops is an important part of what the film conveys.
In early 2016, Barnhart asked comedian and filmmaker Jordan Brady to join the Battle Comic team and document what it's like to perform in a war zone. Brady eagerly joined up and began production on I Am Battle Comic, the 3rd installment to his I Am Comic Trilogy.
I Am Battle Comic includes candid interviews with George Lopez, Dave Attell, Wayne Fedderman and comedy legend George Wallace. These comedians and more share what its like spend time overseas entertaining the troops. With heartfelt laughs and some very tender moments, I Am Battle Comic follows comedians (Don Barnhart, Jeff Capri, Bob Kubota and Slade Ham) into Kuwait, Afghanistan and Iraq. Suited up in 'battle rattle', the unofficial term for helmets and flak jackets, the team jumps on and off of military planes to get into the hot zones touring the frontlines entertaining the troops for some of the most exhilarating one-nighters a comedian might ever face.
Judd Apatow calls I Am Battle Comic "An excellent heartfelt film that pays tribute to our troops...and the comedians who travel the world to make them laugh".
I Am Battle Comic is sure to spark conversation and create a deep appreciation for our military non-profits and families. The camera follows the comics confronting the highs and lows facing them and our brave men and women in uniform while weaving in current events such as the brutal terrorist attacks in Brussels, Turkey, and Iraq. The dangers faced at the front and around the world underscore the mission to provide laughter for the men and women serving in our military.
Capri has organized the benefit screening of I Am Battle Comic November 9th inside the Hermosa Beach Community Theater with all proceeds going to Team Rubicon. They are the veterans that have volunteered to respond, rescue and rebuild after the hurricanes. They started in Haiti after the earthquake as half a dozen vets, and are now 45,000 strong they offer a sense of purpose to veterans looking for their tribe after service.
IF YOU GO:
"I Am Battle Comic"
November 9th, 2017
Hermosa Beach Community Theater
710 Pier Avenue, Hermosa Beach, CA 90154
PRE+SALE TICKETS: $25 (includes happy hour)
($30 the day of at the Theater Box Office)
Q & A with Director (Jordan Brady) and starring comedians to follow.
Ticket price includes pre-show "happy hour" in the theater lobby.
For more information on the screening please visit the Facebook event page at www.facebook.com/events/220396735159127.
Visit BattleComics.org for more information.