Over the years, many comedians have head overseas to entertain our troops. Some spend more time over there than others. If they gave frequent flier miles to Jeff Capri for his military shows, he’d probably never have to pay for an airline ticket again. Not only has he gone to the usual places like Iraq and Afghanistan, but he's also traveled to places where you’d be surprised to find we have troops.
“Let’s see,” he begins, trying to recall some of the more offbeat military destinations.
The troops there, he notes, are not the traditional combat troops that we have in other countries like the aforementioned Iraq and Afghanistan.
“They have a different skill set. They didn’t tell us exactly what they were doing there; they let us know just a little bit. And it wasn’t so much a base we were on. It was quite beautiful where we were. There were all kinds of animals roaming around. You’d walk out of your room to go get something to eat, and there’s a warthog walking along side you. It’s crazy. The baboons can come out and steal your food. It was a fascinating experience.”
Another obscure stop was Micronesia, where he performed with the USO.
“We had maybe 20 troops there on this little island,” he says. “It was very secluded, and very specialized, and there were a lot of natives there. One of the interesting things there is you have to get a drinkers' license. I got that right away.”
With such a small number of Americans present, the locals were invited to attend the comedy show.
“Some of them speak English better than others, and their responses are different,” he says. “They’re more interested in seeing any kind of performance.”
Just in case, though, Capri made sure he was a bit more animated onstage. “I think they noticed the expressions on my face. I have quite an arsenal. I can pull out some mime if I have to. If they don’t speak English, go to the mime stuff.”
Like Ethiopia, he found Micronesia to be quite beautiful. “It’s a third-world country, very small. It looks like Jurassic Park. It’s very green and mountainous, and they are fascinated with Americans.”
Being versatile onstage certainly helps with international audiences, and it also serves Capri well in this country, where he plays clubs, theaters, corporate gigs, and colleges. His father is Borscht Belt comedian Dick Capri. In some ways you can tell the apple hasn’t fallen far from the tree, but in others it seems like it’s rolled down the hill.
“My dad is old school,” he explains. “And it’s kind of embedded in my comedy DNA, but I still have a more conversational approach, and there’s a pop-culture aspect to what I do.”
Even with his shoulder-length hair and surfer vibe, Capri still reminds some people of his father. “I’ve been told my delivery is similar to my dad’s. I don’t talk about the same things he did, and I still represent it in a fashion that works for me.”
IF YOU GO:
Rick Bronson's House of Comedy
408 East Broadway, Bloomington, Level 4 in the Mall of America
Wednesday through Sunday
Tickets are $13 to $20
Call 952-858-8558 or visit houseofcomedy.net for more info