Stephen Colbert Shaves Head for U.S. Troops

By Xana O'Neill
|  Monday, Jul 1, 2013  |  Updated 1:49 PM EDT
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U.S. Army Photo

The Comedy Central comedian was given a crew cut by troop commander Gen. Ray Odierno during the first of four tapings of "The Colbert Report" at Camp Victory in Baghdad on Sunday.

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Stephen Colbert has gone commando.

The Comedy Central comedian was given a crew cut by troop commander Gen. Ray Odierno during the first of four tapings of "The Colbert Report" at Camp Victory in Baghdad on Sunday.

Sporting a camouflage suit and tie, Colbert sat on stage in front of hundreds of U.S. troops in Iraq and winced as Gen. Odierno skimmed off his brown locks with electric razor.

President Obama ordered the general to shave Colbert's head via video message. The action drew raucous applause.

Colbert, who traveled to Iraq from Kuwait on Friday on a military transport plane, said he wanted to take his Comedy Central political satire show on the road to draw attention to the war that he says has been overshadowed and underreported.

"It must be nice here in Iraq because I understand some of you keep coming back again and again," Colbert joked to the troops. "You've earned so many frequent flyer miles, you've earned a free ticket to Afghanistan."

The comedian, who plays a conservative TV pundit on the show, has raised hundreds of thousands of dollars for the Yellow Ribbon Fund, a charity that helps injured service members and their families, and he is on the board of DonorsChoose.org, a charity that raises money for the education of kids with parents in the military.

The taping Sunday was the first installment of a week of shows "Operation Iraqi Stephen: Going Commando," all of which are being taped at  Saddam Hussein's former Al Faw Palace.

Colbert, who sat at a desk propped up by sandbags painted to resemble and American flag, joked that the war must be over because no one is talking about it anymore.

"We're not quite ready to declare victory," said Odeirno, who was Colbert's first guest. "Things are moving forward but again, it's about bringing long-term stability." 

Sen. John McCain also made an appearance on a video clip thanking troops for their service and reminding them to clean their muskets.

It's the first time anyone has broadcast a taped show from Iraq from a tour intended to entertain U.S. troops.

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