Combat, Comedy & Feeling the Laugh Again – A Conversation with U.S. Army veteran, comedian, and musician Thom Tran
Thom Tran wears many hats, just like his dad. He’s a retired U.S. Army staff sergeant and paratrooper, a first generation Vietnamese-American, a Purple Heart recipient, and a ‘triple-threat’ entertainer - an actor, musician, and comedian. Thom’s father was a pilot in the South Vietnamese air force, and was a POW for three years before escaping, getting his family to a refugee camp, and then later immigrating the whole family to the U.S. Growing up, Thom wanted to be a punk rocker (specifically, Van Halen), but instead joined the army at 18, retiring from active duty after being shot in the head during his first deployment. After returning, Thom channeled his love of rock n’ roll and comedy into a professional career as a stand-up comedian, and uses this platform to deal with the lifetime of war and trauma he and his family has faced. Thom has done so much for others in both his military and comedy careers, including founding GIs of Comedy, described as a “comedic troupe of troops.” He does such a great job at making people laugh, and relies on comedy to do the same for himself. The music heard in this episode is a live recording of Thom’s band The Bridge Crüe playing Eddie Money’s song “Shakin’”.
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Theme music for Home Base Nation: "Rolling the tree" by The Butler Frogs
Music within episode provided by Thom Tran, live cover Eddie Money's song "Shakin'," performed by Thom's band The Bridge Crüe
Comedy clips of and provided by Thom Tran, live recording of a performance at the Laugh Factory in Los Angeles, CA
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Producer and Host: Dr. Ron Hirschberg
Producer, Sound, Editor: Lucy Little
Chairman, Home Base Media Lab: Peter Smyth
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