The date was Saturday, 22nd June. In Saratoga Springs, NY and San Antonio, TX, two screenings of one documentary were taking place, simultaneously, 1500 miles apart.
In Saratoga, a crowd of almost 200 strong packed into Palamountain Hall at Skidmore College, tickets in hand, for the screening of Comedy Warriors: Healing Through Humor. The film documents the journey of 5 Iraq and Afghanistan vets as they are mentored by some of comedy’s greatest, helping them write and perform their own personal stand-up comedy routines. This adventure gives them new comedic perspectives from which to view both their injuries and their lives, and culminates in one big night performing at LA’s top comedy clubs. Heart warming and heart wrenching in equal measure, but mostly – flat out funny.
The film wrapped to a standing ovation and rapturous applause, as John Wager and Ray Reo took center stage for the Q&A portion of the evening. Hands flew up, with questions such as ‘Where did you come up with the idea’ (A: Mrs. London’s bakery) and ‘Did higher Military powersplay any part?’ (A: The government was not involved in the making of this film!). As the night wrapped up and the audience filed out, you could hear the unmistakable echo of the movie’s best one-liners already being repeated.
An extra excitement, which was discovered the following day, was that Comedy Warriors won the Audience Choice Award for Best Documentary at the San Antonio Film Festival!