Robin Williams Entertains in Afghanistan

Originally published on December 21, 2007 | CTV.ca | written by CTV.ca Staff

Robin Williams took a swipe at the Quebec separatist movement while Kid Rock belted out a revenge ballad to ex-wife Pamela Anderson as nearly 2,000 troops gathered for a pre-Christmas show at Kandahar Airfield on Friday.

Comedian Lewis Black, Miss USA Rachel Smith, who was born on a military base in Panama, and cycling legend Lance Armstrong were also on hand as part of the six-day, 14-show tour organized by the American United Service Organization.

Designed as a morale booster, Canadians figured prominently in Williams' act as he attempted to deliver jokes in a thick Quebecois accent and performed a spot on imitation of former prime minister Jean Chrétien.

"You're a kind people. You're like the apartment over a very loud party. It's wonderful, keep it down eh," Williams said of Canada.

The Oscar winner is a veteran on the USO circuit, having visited Afghanistan four times.

"It's pretty wild when you do have such a mixed crowd of Danish, Belgian and English. Even the French are going; we understand you're making fun. It's pretty wild," he told reporters on Friday.

Williams said it's interesting to revisit the country and see the growth and change in the region.

"The good news is there are people here doing a great job and that's why we came, because you know everyone thinks of Afghanistan as being a forgotten war but it was the first war and the one, to me, that mattered the most because Osama lives somewhere that way," he said pointing toward the Afghan countryside.

Williams, Armstrong and company have already performed in Qatar, Kuwait, Iraq and will perform in Kyrgyzstan and Europe before returning to the U.S.

Maj. Vanessa Daniel, a nurse stationed in Afghanistan, was overjoyed with her autographed photo of Williams.

"I really love him," she said.

"I did the Tour of Courage with Lance Armstrong in Vancouver and I had to come all the way to Kandahar to get his autograph. It's Christmas time and I think the morale of the troops has really improved so it's awesome that we got a really good lineup here today," she said of the show.

To add to the entertainment, Electronic Arts donated and shipped more than 2,000 video games to service members throughout the Persian Gulf region.

The NFL donated hundreds of free footballs while Armstrong donated thousands of LIVESTRONG T-shirts and wristbands to troops. Thousands of DVDs and CDs were also delivered to troops overseas from companies like HBO, Comedy Central and Pixar.

"It was awesome and if you're going to spend Christmas in the desert, what better way than to have celebrities like this here," Capt. Andrew Legg told reporters after the show.

"It's great for morale, I'd like to see more things like this. I don't know what Canada has planned, obviously these things are kept secret right up until the last moment, but I hope that we see more people like this from Canada. You really see the effect it has on moral regardless of what nation we come from when we're here," he said.

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