Military comedy show wants you … to laugh

Red, White & You comes to Eagles Pride Saturday night

By Molly Gilmore on June 13, 2019

Some might say that serving in the military is no laughing matter. Jennifer McMillen -- a former seaman in the U.S. Navy and an Army wife -- aims to prove them wrong.

McMillen of Yelm is producing Red, White & You, a comedy show by and about people who've lived the military lifestyle. The show is Saturday night at Samuel Adams Brewhouse at Eagles Pride Golf Course.

"I want it to be relatable," McMillen said. "We all understand each other. We all know where we're coming from. We understand the deployment aspect and the lifestyle. We know the hardships, and we know the silly moments in the military."

All of the comedians have ties to the Armed Forces. The headliners are Harry J. Riley, who served in the Air Force, and Folger Emerson, who spent time in the Army. Also featured are Tony Daniel, a former Navy man, and Marianne Reilly, a military spouse. The host, Cadafi Galluci, is a veteran of the Army.

Riley of Spokane, who spent five years in the Air Force and left with the rank of senior airman, began doing stand-up during his last year in the military. "It shaped me to take charge and do things that might be out of my comfort zone," he said.

He's been doing stand-up for 14 years, winning several local comedy competitions in Spokane and reaching the finals of the 2018 Seattle International Comedy Competition.

He said he has just a few jokes that relate to his time in the military and shared one: "I took part in the military's relocation program, where they take the blackest people in the country and put them in the whitest communities and go, ‘Good luck!'"

He survived, obviously, and he's proud to be part of Red, White & You.

"Although I am proud to have served, I don't see myself as the typical military person," he said. "I can't remember in which camp in Iraq I was stationed, or with what squadron, but I do remember the men and women who helped me become who I am today. When I get to entertain my brothers and sisters, I get an overwhelming sense that I am giving back. "

Red, White & You is open to non-military folks -- who might learn a few things about life on base at the show -- but McMillen of South Sound Productions is aiming to attract people who've shopped at a PX.

"There are things that people who are outside the military don't understand," she said, "like moving every three years and moving overseas and field exercises and missing important days like birthday parties and anniversaries."

McMillen -- whose husband, Chief Warrant Officer 3 Daniel McMillen, serves in the 2nd Stryker Brigade at Joint Base Lewis-McChord -- hopes to lift spirits with the show, the first she's produced with the military in mind.

"Everybody has a hard time sometimes," she said, "and I feel that some laughter will relieve a lot of those stresses."

RED, WHITE & YOU, 7 p.m., Saturday, doors open at 6 p.m., $15 in advance, $25 at the door, ages 18 and older, Samuel Adams Brewhouse at Eagles Pride Golf Course, I-5 and Exit 116, Tacoma,,