In this edition of Run the Light, we interview comic Justin Wood.

Ari: You an army vet would you say that has helped you with your comedy?
I think being in the Army has given me material that not every comic can speak about. When I first started doing comedy, I barely spoke about being a veteran until another comic told me it was something unique and I needed to work more military experiences into my material. The Army has helped me adjust to making the move out to Los Angeles from Ohio. While I was in enlisted I was stationed in Iraq, Kuwait, and Korea. So being away from family and friends is nothing really new to me.

Ari: You have a big military family history, is your family supportive of your new comedy career?
Yeah, definitely, they are very supportive. My mom is my #1 supporter. My life has been a train wreck since I got out of the military. I haven’t been blessed with the best of luck, but the silver lining is those days make for great stories on stage now.

Ari: There are a few other former military comics would you say you guys connect more so than others?
I haven’t really met too many others yet. Mark Valley and PJ Walsh are the only ones I really know and both of those guys I consider great comics and mentors.

Ari: You started “Comics That Care” a show that allows comics to give back to vets by making them laugh, how many shows have you done and is the show fulfilling all that you intended it to?
It’s been going now for about 6 months. I do a monthly show and I’m so stoked for how it’s been going so far, the guys love it. I have been blessed to have support from other local touring comics who have done the show for me, Melissa Villasenor, Tom Clark, Hailey Boyle, Diaz Mackie, Brad Sachs, and Mark Valley. PJ Walsh has done it every month almost.

Ari: How would you compare the audience at the VOA compared to a normal audience?
Ha! It can be a tough room. The guys are silent laughers. I remember the day after my very first Comics That Care show I thought they didn’t enjoy themselves because of how quiet the room was all night. But then they came into the office and were telling me how appreciative they were for the show and how they couldn’t wait until the following month.

Ari: Besides being a veteran, you also seem very proud of your Ohio heritage?
Indeed, I have been blessed with the best group of family and friends back in Ohio. It’s always nice to have the support that they have given me over the past year and a half. I come from a really small farm community where everybody knows everybody. So when I moved out here I had a lot of people cheering for me, so I want to make them proud.

Ari: What are your goals for the next year?
My goal is to hit 400 mics. I feel like 2012 was my year to get comfortable with the Los Angeles comic scene and I have accomplished that and met some pretty kick ass comics along the way. I also just want to continue to learn, learn, learn.  I know I just need to continue to learn and pick the brains of the comedy veterans.

Ari: Any big shows coming up?
Absolutely! I am going back home to Columbus Ohio on January 7th. I will be performing at The Woodlands Tavern with two of my favorite comics (Jarrod Harris and Ryan Singer). To say I’m excited about this show is an understatement, but at the same time I don’t think I can say I’m not nervous as hell. I always want to show friends and family progression each time I head home.

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