News>Through Airmen's Eyes: Who says cops have no sense of humor?
Senior Airman Christopher Armitage does comedy on Monday nights in downtown Spokane, Wash. So far, he has performed more than a dozen shows. His favorite comedians include Louis C.K., Lenny Bruce and one of his favorites, Zach Galifianakis. Armitage is a 92nd Security Forces installation enrty controller. (U.S. Air Force photo/Airman 1st Class Earlandez Young)
Senior Airman Christopher Armitage checks the common access card of a Fairchild Air Force Base, Wash., member Oct. 19, 2012. When he’s not working the main gate Wednesday through Saturday, Armitage also does stand-up comedy in downtown Spokane on Monday nights. He is an installation entry controller with the 92nd Security Forces Squadron. (U.S. Air Force photo/Airman 1st Class Earlandez Young)
by Airman 1st Class Earlandez Young
92nd Air Refueling Wing Public Affairs
10/20/2012 - FAIRCHILD AIR FORCE BASE, Wash. (AFNS) -- (This feature is part of the "Through Airmen's Eyes" series on AF.mil. These stories focus on a single Airman, highlighting their Air Force story.)
"Security forces Airman."
"Security force Airman, who?"
"Security forces Airman who tells much better jokes than this one."
The comic in question is Senior Airman Christopher Armitage, an installation entry controller. Wednesday through Saturday he can be found at the gate welcoming people to the base, but Monday nights he's typically on stage with a mic in hand.
"I love doing comedy and will do it for the rest of my life as long as it doesn't interfere with my career as an Airman," Armitage said. "I've always been a goofy guy who was able to make people laugh, however, I've never been afraid of being the guy everyone laughed at. I think my biggest strength is lack of shame when it comes to performing stand-up comedy, which definitely helps."
When he first started doing comedy, he imagined being back at his high school wrestling matches.
"Before matches, I'd be so nervous until I stepped on the mat and shook hands -- then my adrenaline would start pumping and I was in my zone -- nothing else mattered," he said. "With comedy, it was the same. During my first stand-up, I improvised so much I hadn't realized it worked well with the crowd. But I ended up with a lot more material and was able to expand on some jokes."
Since starting stand-up comedy in downtown Spokane, Armitage has performed more than a dozen shows and has been asked to perform at other local comedy clubs. He was even offered an all-expenses paid gig in Seattle along with five other comedians.
But being an Airman came first. He had to be at work and couldn't miss college classes. The sacrifice paid off -- he recently earned his Community College of the Air Force Degree in Criminal Justice.
The comedian said he loves making people laugh and he uses humor in his everyday job as an installation entry controller.
"I'll make people laugh while working the main gate," he said with a grin. "When I see someone, like a 'soccer mom,' coming on Fairchild looking like she's had a rough day, I'll tell jokes and practice my material just to make her laugh. Those 15 seconds coming through the gate can make a huge difference in someone's day.
"If I grant entry to a thousand people, and make them smile at least once, it makes those eight hours of standing less tiresome; I've met new faces and probably improved at delivering my material," he said.
Armitage looks up to well-known comedians like Louis C.K., Lenny Bruce and one of his favorites, Zach Galifianakis.
"Zach Galifianakis is one of the biggest reasons I got into comedy," he said. "All of my friends thought he was so weird and not funny when I showed them his stand-up about five years ago. Now, you see Galifianakis on TV, in movies and he's cool to like."
When Airmen in his squadron have attended his shows, they've had nothing but good things to say.
"I actually went to his first show and several since then," said Staff Sgt. Richard Holder, a 92nd SFS installation patrolman. "He has had a knack for making people laugh in the time I've worked with him. When he first told me he was doing standup, I couldn't imagine it since he cares so much about professionalism, yet he does put on an entertaining show and I'd recommend it to anyone interested in stand-up comedy."
Armitage said being in security forces takes a lot of hard work and dedication. The biggest obstacle he faces when perusing comedy is having time.
"I'm a college student with more than 90 credits into my bachelor's degree, I'm deploying this winter, and will soon be putting in a package to become a military working dog handler - time is definitely not on my side when trying to fit things into my schedule," the below-the-zone senior airman said.
To him the key achieving his goals is focusing and giving 100 percent to the task at hand.
"I'm not the smartest, biggest, fastest or strongest person, but what I am is willing to work hard. It's not about me being the best -- I want to elevate others with me because we're a team -- not each other's competition."
10/23/2012 5:43:21 PM ET This guy is great He does gate duty here at Fairchild and everyone loves him. I own a small business and just did a poll last week to see who the bases favorite gate guard is and whoever won would get a cake delivered to the gate THis guy won by a landslide. I have never seen him in a bad mood the base is lucky to have him