The sold-out Big Comedy/Operation Comedy event at the Valley Performing Arts Center doled out jokes and anecdotes on Nov. 10 at the Valley Performing Arts Center. Operation Comedy, a movement by the California State University, Northridge Student Veteran Organization (SVO) and Associated Students, planned and organized this event for months leading up to hosting it on the day before Veteran’s Day to honor CSUN veterans.
The show was sold out, with approximately 700 veterans enjoying complimentary admission to the show, which featured renowned comedians Jon Stites, Chris Titus, Jim Jefferies, Jay Mohr, April Macie and Finesse Mitchell. The show opened up with the playing of the national anthem on a three-trumpet ensemble by the Matador band.
“The comedians did a great job,” said Austin Ysais, program adviser for Associated Students. “We’ve had positive feedback from a lot of students and veterans.”
Opener Jon Stites, who is also the founder of Operation Comedy, loosened up the crowd with political jokes, referencing Donald Trump and First Lady Michelle Obama.
As surprise guest, April Macie contributed the “lady portion” of the show, joking about the difference between male and female sexual behavior.
“I loved it, everybody was funny,” said SVO President Paulo Iparraguirre. “There wasn’t a time [when] I wasn’t laughing. It’s hard to pick a favorite.”
CSUN counts about 900 veterans among its student body, and the comedy show has grown in size and stature annually. In previous semesters, this event has packed the CSUN Pub to capacity, gaining momentum and local recognition, most notably being voted “Best Free Entertainment” on campus by the readers of the Sundial in this year’s “Best of CSUN 2015” edition.
This show is presented in an effort to increase veteran awareness on campus, to raise awareness to such issues that veterans deal with like post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), depression, anxiety and stress. The goal of this event is to help student veterans heal through laughter, even if for one night.
“The SVO strives to make the transition from military to scholar as easy and smooth as possible for all CSUN Student Veterans, and we accomplish this through our varying events, from philanthropy to academic support to social events such as this one,” said Art Garcia, SVO student adviser. “This event also serves as a platform for us to raise awareness to the many veteran services that CSUN has to offer to any current and prospective veteran students.”
“We do this every semester, and this was the first time that it’s been done at the VPAC,” Iparraguirre said. “We’re stepping it up and doing big things for the vets.”
The main goal of Operation Comedy is to support veterans and create a positive atmosphere for veterans on campus. The SVO also hosts music events, movie screenings and dinner get-togethers.
“Veterans on campus should know that we’re here and that we support them,” Iparraguirre said.
Ysais added, “AS is very thankful for all the support from so many different places on campus to make the show such a huge success.”
“The SVO is thankful to Associated Students and AS Productions for believing in us and giving us this opportunity to work with them on this collaborative project,” Garcia said. “They really accepted our idea without hesitation and truly believed in our show. This production has been three years in the making for us, and we’ve had a lot of obstacles to overcome. When others said no, they said yes, and for that we are deeply humbled and extremely grateful to have worked with such an awesome team of great professionals.”
For more information, please visit Operation Comedy and to support CSUN student veterans, please click here. You can also find out more about SVO on its Facebook page, or email them at firstname.lastname@example.org.