The 5th Marine Regiment Benefit Comedy Show will return to Irvine Improv

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Featured photo: A group of star comedians, including host Tom Riehl (left) and headliner Fritz Coleman (right) are about to perform at Irvine Improv, after a dinner and sale at silent auction with prizes, benefiting the 5th Marine Regiment, Monday evening, September 12. Photo courtesy of Dana Point 5th Marine Regiment Support Group.

By Hayze Law

A line-up of star-studded comedians are set to perform at Irvine Improv, along with a dinner, silent auction and raffle prizes, to benefit the 5th Marine Regiment and their families on Monday, September 12.

After a two-year hiatus, the eighth annual “Laughs for Leathernecks,” a “FUNdraiser” benefit for the 5th Marine Regiment Dana Point Support Group (DPSG), is back for a night of comedy, featuring a dinner and a silent auction from 5:30 p.m. and the show from 7 p.m.

Proceeds from the event will go towards supporting and educating Marines and their families of the “Fighting Fifth,” the most decorated infantry regiment in the Marine Corps, based at Camp Pendleton.

Invitations are open to the public, and in an effort to treat 125 Marines and their guests for the evening, DSPG is inviting members of the community to “Sponsor a Marine,” so they can also attend.

As a non-profit organization, the DSPG is made up of local Southern California citizens who “voluntarily dedicate considerable time and talent to achieve goals that will benefit the active duty personnel of 5th Marine Regiment and their families, as well as to wounded warriors,” according to a press release.

The show’s host will be Tom Reihl, who has been part of the Orange County comedy scene since the early ’90s as both a performer and producer. He appeared at The Comedy Store, The Laugh Factory, The Ice House and several other improvisations. Today, Reihl can be found creating recipes on his social media and YouTube channel “Reihl Food”.

The headliner will be Fritz Coleman, a retired KNBC personality who worked as a meteorologist for more than 35 years, wrote and performed two solo theater acts and received the EMA’s 2004 Community Service Award for his involvement in KNBC-4’s “Our.” Plant.”

Next in line for the evening will be Jay Hewlett, a comedian and actor who has appeared on BET, Comedy Central, Showtime and the Sundance and Cannes festivals. Hewlett is a regular at the Irvine Improv, as well as shows in Los Angeles and clubs and colleges across the country.

Lisa Alvarado, a national headliner who has appeared on multiple TV shows, such as Dry Bar Comedy Special, and toured the world with comedy clubs, colleges, cruise lines and more, will join also the scene.

Next is former Fighting Fifth member James P. Connolly, who can be heard daily on SiriusXM Comedy and is a producer of an annual comedy show for veterans, benefiting the Armed Services Arts Partnership (ASAP) . Additionally, Connolly appeared on America’s Got TalentComedy Central and the new Netflix series Larry Charles: Dangerous World of Comedy.

For those who purchase 10 or more tickets, there are a limited number of reserved tables. Admission is $45 and includes the silent auction, raffles, dinner and show. Ticket purchases, Marine sponsorship and other information can be found at

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Javier E. Swan