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Comedy and screen stars unite to raise funds for veterans seeking entertainment careers.

‘Cocktails and Camouflage’ Comedy Show Raises Money to Employ Veterans in Film and Television

Cocktails & Camouflage was an evening of laughter, memories, and hope at Flappers Comedy Club in Burbank, California, on November 6, 2014.

James P. Connolly
James P. Connolly at the Cocktails and Camouflage comedy fundraiser

The laughter came because on the surface it was a night of stand-up and a darn funny one at that. Emceed by KLOS radio personality Frazer Smith and headlining comedian/radio-TV host James P. Connolly, the evening featured a variety of stand-up styles and general craziness.

Besides Connolly, a former Marine and gulf war veteran, the other entertainers included Vietnam veteran Blake Clark (Home Improvement, Adam Sandler movies), Jimmy Brogan (former Head Writer of The Tonight Show with Jay Leno) Dwayne Perkins (Conan), Dana Eagle (Last Comic Standing semifinalist), Joshua “Beat Boxer” Silverstein (TED Talks), and Mark Eddie.

So what is this “camouflage” thing about?

The event, now in its fifth year, raises money for Veterans in Film & Television (VFT), a non-profit that brings together current and former members of the military who are working or want to work in the entertainment industry. VFT also helps the industry find and hire veterans. Information about joining or supporting VFT is available at its website.

The memories came about because of the audience.

I arrived at Flappers way too early, in order to avoid the LA traffic. The upside of that is that I had a lot of time to swap stories and memories with other military types. The circle of people who can relate to a story that begins “Hey, you know that jogging trail behind the BOQs at Ft. Bragg…” is kind of limited. There were some there that night.

Hope not only grows out of the work VFT does, but out of a film that was previewed there that night.

Dean Cain
Dean Cain in the When Heaven and Hell Collide trailer

Actress/producer Kristy Swanson (Psych, Knott’s Landing, Buffy the Vampire Slayer) showed a trailer she is using to promote and raise funding for her new project When Heaven and Hell Collide. The film will star Swanson and Dean Cain (Lois & Clark: The New Adventures of Superman, God’s Not Dead) as Debbie and Jim Peters, who have helped thousands of vets, and the challenges faced by four of those vets in particular. The film’s cast also includes veterans who are part of the story.

I spoke with Swanson after the show and she said the project is going well and they are hoping to start production in the summer. They still do need to raise additional funding and can accept donations at the film’s website. Proceeds from the film will go to the Gary Sinise (CSI: New York, Forrest Gump) veterans support foundation. The plan is to release the film on Memorial Day, 2016.

Cocktails & Camouflage is an annual event. To find out about next year’s show get on James P. Connelly’s email list.

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About Leo Sopicki

Writer, photographer, graphic artist and technologist. I focus my creative efforts on celebrating the American virtues of self-reliance, individual initiative, volunteerism, tolerance and a healthy suspicion of power and authority.

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