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Minnesota National Guard
Rochester 'military comic' gains national TV exposure

Jan Donahue, the Soldier's wife turned military comic who was featured in the Post-Bulletin in March, will soon be gaining a national audience for her unique brand of comedy

ABC's "World News Tonight" is planning to run a story on the Rochester mother of two who turned to comedy as way of coping with the challenges and loneliness of being a military wife in a time of war The story is tentatively set to run today on its 5:30 pm newscast on Channel 5 and 6, Donahue said

"It's been a wild roller coaster ride, and I'm just hanging on," Donahue said "Each day just amazes me I'm so excited about life and so happy to be helping other military families"

Dean Reynolds, an ABC News national correspondent based in Chicago, and a news crew spent most of Thursday interviewing Donahue and taping segments of her comedy routine at Goonie's Comedy Club in downtown Rochester She also was taped for the ABC story while performing in Detroit Lakes for military families on Saturday

In addition to the piece ABC News is doing, Donahue's story has been reported on by Fox 9 News out of the Twin Cities KARE 11 News is also looking to do her story, Donahue said

She has performed at the Minnesota Comedy Club in St Paul She is also set to do five minutes of material at the Improv in Hollywood when she flies out to the West Coast in late May for personal comedy training by Judy Carter, a national motivational speaker and humorist

Donahue, who travels the state performing for military families, could also be seeing her audience expand nationally in another sense The Family Readiness Group, a support system for families organized by the Army, has sent her name to National Guard units across the country

The main thrust of her comedy is: "Don't forget us" Donahue doesn't use four-letter words in her routine, but her material, centered on the issues of military men and women and their families, can be raw and personal

Donahue started doing her comedy in the midst of what she describes as an emotional crisis

The deployment of her husband, Sgt Kevin Donahue, had just been extended She had lost her job And she was struggling to raise two teenage sons and keep up the mortgage payments on the family house in Windom Having reached an emotional tipping point, Donahue seized on comedy as a kind of life-preserver

Behind her comedy also lurks the reality of war Her husband, Kevin, is stationed in Scania, Iraq, with the 125th Field Artillery Unit About two weeks ago, Donahue was talking to him on the Internet via a web cam Suddenly her husband looked to the side The base was being mortared Her husband wasn't hurt, but the experience left Donahue shaken

By Matthew Stolle, The Post-Bulletin
April 16, 2007
Source: www.postbulletin.com

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