Veteran’s Club provides laughs for a good cause

"Sherwin Arae delivered roaring laughs, poking fun at ethnicities and joking with individual audience members."
Noah Cervantes/El Paisano
“Sherwin Arae delivered roaring laughs, poking fun at ethnicities and joking with individual audience members.”

The Rio Hondo Veteran’s Club hosted its annual comedy show on Nov. 4 in the Wray Theatre at 7 p.m.

The proceeds were partially meant to create 100 food baskets for veterans in need during Thanksgiving.

The show was hosted by established comedian Benny Mena and after a presentation of colors, Jesse Hernandez sung the Star Spangled Banner to begin the show.

Mena got the crowd of people, several of them veterans themselves, ready with about twenty minutes of his own material.

During his set, he talked about his longtime girlfriend and recently becoming a father.

The audience was very engaged as he mostly reminisced about his past and the lack of technology that was present in his early days.

Mena also performed short bits in between introducing new comedians to the stage throughout the duration of the night.

Afterwards, Aiko Tanaka was brought to the stage for her skit. Hailing from Tokyo, Tanaka brought forward a new perspective on being an Asian woman with an accent she continually made fun of.

Tanaka also made several jokes about appearing in “Fast and Furious: Tokyo Drift” and messing up her only line.

Rio Hondo students Sara Rodriguez and Jay Wiener both agreed that Tanaka was their favorite comedian of the night, at least before an intermission later in the night.

Sherwin Arae brought audience members to tears talking about being Iranian and all the jokes about petrol and conflict that one can have based off that perspective.

One of the things Arae talked about was finding his “ideal wife” at the 99 cent store so that in the future even the crummiest dinner would seem high-end in comparison.

A twenty minute intermission followed Arae’s stand up and attendees had the option to buy snacks and refreshments such as coffee, churros, and pizza.

The Active Minds Club, who are in just their first semester on campus, worked with the Veteran’s Club to sell tickets and in turn made a small profit to support the club.

President Stephanie Lopez said “The club is meant to be about mental heal awareness. It is meant to be a welcoming and open club for students to feel accepted and safe against judgement others may have.”

RHC students Damaris Jimenez and Diane Chau both described during intermission that they were having a great time and liked the audience involvement by all the comics, and the fact that part of the proceeds were going towards a good cause.

Following the intermission, a comedy/magic act performed by “Waco” brought more audience involvement.

Sara Rodriguez was brought onstage to assist with a floating table, card tricks, and rope tricks that left audience members in disbelief.

After “Waco” was comedian Jill-Michele Melean. Originally from Miami, the comedian and actress has appeared on TV shows such as “MADtv” and “Reno 911”.

No corners were cut in Melean’s stand-up as she compared her past and present like now, being seemingly the only Latina in her Beverley Hills neighborhood, and how she tried telling her boyfriend she liked him by throwing his clothes on the front lawn.

After Melean left the audience laughing, Charles Sanchez came to the stage to conclude the night. An intimidating and silent persona started off his set which was quickly broken by his “Bumper, the gay cholo” alter-ego.

His performance also included a completely improvised skit entitled “Ask Uncle Ray”, where Sanchez channeled his uncle and asked audience members to ask him anything they wanted on the fly.

The night ended as a success with Mena thanking the audience, the Veteran’s Club, and especially the veterans in attendance for their service.

The comedy show preempted the upcoming events by the Veteran’s Club including the celebration of the Marine Corps birthday on Nov. 10 from 10 to 11 a.m.

On Nov. 11 a Wall of Heroes will also be put up on campus to honor all military personnel and 100 commemorative coins will be sold as well.