By Molly Hayden, U.S. Army Garrison Grafenwoehr Public Affairs September 26, 2011
GRAFENWOEHR, Germany -- Hidden behind the laughter of more than 500 Soldiers was a clear message.
"You don't want to be that guy," said comedian Danny Villalpando, kicking off the Comics on Duty show, Sept. 8, at the Main Post Tower Theater. "You know that guy."
Villalpando, along with fellow comedians Paul Ogata, Tom Foss and J.R. Brow, went on to berate life and the seemingly innocuous incidents that make it funny -- in this case hilarious -- as part of the "That Guy" campaign, which encourages young enlisted personnel to reject binge drinking.
From partying to dating, family to friends, odd jobs to military service and numerous topics that can't be printed in a garrison newspaper (the latter garnering most of the laughter and applause), the four funny men left no subject unturned and kept the audience immersed in mischief for the 90-minute show.
Ogata took the stage behind Villalpando and engaged the audience in conversation, playing off the answers for quick laughs. Staring at the sea of camouflaged uniforms, Ogata tilted his head and raised his eyebrows in confusion.
"I don't understand the digital camouflage," he said. "Where are you hiding -- level four of Super Mario Brothers?"
While the comedians had prior experience with the military, either growing up as a military brat like Brow, or entertaining the troops in Afghanistan like Foss, the theme was clear -- being funny was their true service to their country.
"We do more before 9 a.m. than most people do all day," said Brow in his best announcer voice. "That's why I'm not a Soldier … you guys get up too early."
"They wouldn't let me have a gun," said Foss. "I asked."
All joking aside, the comedians did drive home the That Guy campaign goal, encouraging the Soldiers to make better choices regarding alcohol consumption.
The campaign, which can be found at www.thatguy.com, uses humor to deliver this serious message and provides virtual tools so service members can be part of the effort to eradicate that guy, whether it be themselves or their buddies.
"The show was funny and it hit home for a lot of these guys," said Sgt. Dante Murphy, 2nd Battalion, 28th Infantry Regiment. "All the Soldiers got it. We know 'that guy,' we don't want to hang out with that guy or be that guy, and when we talk about it and hear it, especially in an environment like this, we understand."
"That guy" is most likely a regular guy, but when he's had a few too many drinks, it shows.
"It's simple, don't be that guy," said Murphy.
The show was sponsored by USAG Grafenwoehr Directorate of Human Resources' Army Substance Abuse Program with support from the garrison's Family and Morale, Welfare and Recreation, and Directorate of Plans, Training, Mobilization and Security.