At this point, of course, I'm feeling a little better. Last night's show was really great -- everyone stepped it up a notch, although part of me still isn't convinced the soldiers in the audience were really reachable. But it was a great show, which made all of us feel a bit better.
One funny thing happened, or rather almost happened. Al does this Saddam bit wherein he dresses as "trial" Saddam (white shirt, black suit, beard) and is led up there in cuffs by two MPs. Then he hits on Leeann Tweeden and gets dragged out yelling "FUCK YOU!" It's real high-brow stuff.
Anyway, he gets up there last night and does his initial rounds of "fuck you"s to the troops, when I hear a shaky voice next to me yell, "No -- fuck YOU!" I turn, and there's this guy with long greasy hair, looks kind of like Bruno, the guy who used to work at Carlo's salon. (I think my dad might be the only person reading this who knows Bruno).
Then he yells, "Fuck you -- you imprisoned me for three years!" It was an Iraqi who had recently become an American citizen, and who had obviously had a bad time of it under Saddam.
Now. I figured he was just upset that we were doing a Saddam bit, and, well, maybe he had a point. But it's a total "heel" piece -- Al's basically up there so soldiers can yell shit at him. But, I thought, oh well, people have a right to be offended.
When the MPs dragged Al back to the dressing room, I saw the guy lurking outside and made a mental note. When I poked my head out, he was gone.
Well. Apparently, he hadn't been upset by our choice of comedic material. He had been upset because he thought Al actually was Saddam Hussein. I'm not sure why he thought the imprisoned and condemned former Iraqi president was dropping by a USO show in Mosul, but he was seriously angry and wanted to "chat" with Saddam when he emerged from the VIP lounge. Fortunately, he had been loud enough about this desire that a couple of guys took him out and explained the situation.
So, that was almost the funniest possible tragedy we could have had on the trip. I would almost certainly have gotten to be on CNN.
Oh, by the way -- I met my first New Englander today. Rich Goodman, from Revere ("Reveah"). If anyone knows his family, he's here in Mosul, doing great, having about as much fun as you can have hanging out in Mosul, and probably causing the folks around him to have fun as well. It only took me five days in theater to meet someone from Massachusetts.