Each warrior has their own poignant story to share as it becomes clear how vital humor has been in their rehabilitation process. You witness how their sense of humor and learning stand-up, gives them each a new kind of courage, and you see that by sharing their stories and laughing about their struggles with the audience, the emotional pain is lifted. This film proves to be truly inspirational. The Comedy Warriors learn to disarm the stares and their struggles with humor, making both themselves and others more comfortable. The theme of triumph over obstacles prevails throughout this film, as the Comedy Warriors confess their darkest moments, and then embrace the power of their physical circumstances, creating joy and laughter in their lives
Rob Jones grew up on a farm in the small town of Lovettsville, Virginia. While a junior attending Virginia Polytechnic Institute, Rob joined the Marine Corps Reserve as a combat engineer, training in the use of explosives and the detection of buried IEDs and weapons caches. He deployed to Afghanistan in 2010, and while clearing a high risk IED area, was wounded by that very IED he had been looking for. The injury resulted in double above knee amputations of both legs.
At Walter Reed Medical Center he was fitted with prosthetics, and worked very hard to learn how to walk, ride an upright cycle, and run. He became interested in rowing and enjoyed it so much that he went on to win a bronze medal in the mixed double scull event in the 2012 Paralympics in London. A prolific writer and a natural to comedy, Rob challenged himself during the shooting of this documentary, much to the producers’ surprise, by performing outstanding new material at every rehearsal. Last year he participated in the World Rowing Championships in Seoul, South Korea. On April 12th 2014, Rob finished riding an upright bicycle over 5200 miles across the US, raising over $100,000 for all the charities that helped him when he was recovering. See the details of Rob’s journey on: www.robjonesjourney.com
Joe Kashnow, married father of two boys ages 6 and 2 served in Iraq with the 4th Infantry Division from April 2003 until September 2003, when he was wounded by a road-side bomb. Or as he puts it, he zigged when he should have zagged, and got sent home for not getting along with flying debris. His injury led to 18 months of surgery and eventually, to the amputation of his right leg below the knee.
Known for his sense of humor with family and friends, Joe took a big step toward turning his natural comedic instincts into a new career when he auditioned for the documentary “Comedy Warriors – Healing Through Humor.” After being chosen for the film, Joe began his professional standup career. He stated that he wanted to show people that it’s okay to laugh at someone with a disability, and to show that whatever adversity one may face in life, it can be overcome with a positive attitude and a good joke.
In January 2012, he performed for the first time at an open mic night at Baltimore’s Magooby’s Joke House, where he has now won the new talent showcase twice in a row. He has performed on several stages including Baltimore, Dallas, LA, and was a headliner at the Chicago Laugh Factory’s Grand Opening Celebration. His unique brand of comedy and deadpan delivery focusing on his injury, medical treatment, and subsequent amputation, have gotten him laughs across the country. These fulfilling experiences, coupled with his natural talent for comedy (According to some, as Jew he has a ‘leg up’ in the comedy world.) mean that he will be performing for many years to come.
Darisse grew up in Jacksonville, Florida. Her older brother Sean was protective yet tough on her during their childhood outdoor games. Despite being five years older and three feet taller, Sean never let Darisse win at any game they played, yelling to her, “Don’t ever let anyone tell you that you can’t do something because you’re a girl!” This became Darisse’s lifetime mantra, preparing her for a career as an Army Captain and helicopter pilot.
After attending Davidson College where she met and stalked her now husband Jeff, Darisse went on to graduate from Flight School and became an OH 58D Kiowa Warrior helicopter pilot, learning the basics of the Air Cavalry mission.
Due to the poor ergonomic design of the Kiowa Warrior helicopter seat, Darisse suffered a severe lower back injury that resulted in permanent nerve damage to her left leg. She was medically discharged from the Army in March 2007, though her journey with her injury and pain management was just beginning. After a plethora of medical and alternative treatments, she was finally implanted with a Spinal Cord Stimulator which she operates with a remote control to block the pain signal between her leg and her brain.
She has retained her sense of humor throughout her long struggles with pain, and was able to use that experience to transition quickly into performing standup. She is the only Comedy Warrior who went through the filming of the documentary to become a real standup comedian and… give birth to a beautiful baby boy. Darisse is an advocate for others suffering from chronic pain and does freelance writing and motivational speaking through the American Pain Foundation, The Wounded Warrior Project, and Boston Scientific Corporation.
Steve Rice, a retired US Army 1st Lieutenant broke into comedy after being literally blown up in Iraq in 2003. Applying for a slot in the ‘Comedy Warriors – Healing Through Humor’ documentary, Steve embarked on a journey which has proven to be a great outlet for his sharp and twisted sense of humor.
A native of Alton, IL, he graduated from Illinois State University where he was commissioned as an officer into the US Army. During combat operations in Baghdad, Iraq, Rice was injured by an improvised explosive device which resulted in the loss of his left leg below the knee. After two years of intensive rehabilitation, Rice became a federal agent for the US Government. He is married with one young daughter and lives happily in Annapolis, MD.
Bobby Henline is an American hero who spreads joy and hope through his love of stand-up comedy. A veteran of Desert Storm by the age of nineteen, Bobby was inspired to re-enlist in the Army after the September 11th, 2001 attacks. On April 7th, 2007, tragedy struck when Bobby’s Humvee was hit by a roadside bomb just north of Bagdad. Of the five men in the vehicle, Bobby was the only survivor. He was burned over 38% of his body and his head was burned to the skull. He spent six months in the hospital fighting for his life, and within two years Bobby’s left hand was amputated.
During one of his laughter-filled rehabilitation sessions, Bobby’s occupational therapist made him pinky swear that he would try stand-up comedy. Shortly thereafter, during an open mic night at a comedy club, the “Well-Done Comedian” was born.
Although not a virgin to standup, Bobby jumped at the chance to improve his comedic chops by signing up to be a part of the Comedy Warriors’ film. Bobby believes that God kept him alive for a reason and that his mission is to help create awareness for burn survivors, to inspire people to live life to the fullest, and to heal others through his story and laughter.
Bobby lives in San Antonio, TX with his wife Connie and their four children. He now performs regularly all over the U.S. His self-deprecating comedic style will leave you in stitches, and will burn in your heart forever.