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Commencement Profile: Thomas M. Tran

Posted: May 9, 2012

Thomas “Thom” Tran, '04, an internationally touring stand-up comedian, writer, producer, and actor lives in Los Angeles, California, where he writes and performs weekly at clubs such as the world famous Laugh Factory, the Hollywood Improv, and the Comedy Store.

Tran will receive the Young Alumnus Achievement Award during the 2:00 p.m. baccalaureate ceremony at Buffalo State's 140th Commencement, Saturday, May 12, in the Sports Arena.

Tran, who hails from Cheektowaga, New York, and worked for a decade in broadcast radio in New York before heading to Los Angeles in 2008, has appeared on television shows such as CSI: NY and Deadliest Warrior, as well as in many TV commercials. Soon after moving to L.A., he landed a role in the Disney movie Race to Witch Mountain. He also has had the unusual opportunity of serving as a model for opposing forces in the popular video game Call of Duty: Black Ops.

Before his career in entertainment, Tran served for eight years in the U.S. Army, and was medically retired as a staff sargeant in 2005. In 2005, he was wounded in combat during a yearlong tour in Iraq, and he said comedy helped him deal with post-combat trauma and post-traumatic stress disorder. Tran parlayed his military experience into Hollywood projects, such as working as a military consultant and staff writer for Dagger Media Group, a veteran-owned and staffed company that works to make movie portrayals of the military more accurate and realistic. He also has starred in a series of training videos produced for the U.S. Air Force. One of his latest projects, the GIs of Comedy, a stand-up show starring him and three fellow veteran-comedians, has garnered national attention from CNN, CBS, Fox, and the Associated Press.

As a civilian, Tran continues to help U.S. servicemen and women by performing at benefits to raise money for the Bob Hope USO at LAX, which provides comfort for troops deploying overseas. Twice he was named USO’s funniest service member. In 2008, Tran traveled to Iraq to perform for U.S. troops, playing at more than two dozen bases and combat outposts.

Tran graduated with a bachelor of arts degree in broadcasting from Buffalo State in 2004.


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