Category Archives: Life Story

IT’S MY LIVER-VERSARY:

Been separate from booze for over a decade now. Let this be an example to whoever might be fighting to change something about themselves. Over the course of time, my behavior transformed. It was a significant shift in my mind, surroundings & how I carry myself. I never participated in a program (I’m not knocking those – do what is needed for you!) My support came in what I wanted for my future, who I wanted to be and my friends and family have been my rock. I also lean on a couple of things that I constantly carry in my head, which I’ll share…

One – I do not want my future kids to witness what I did as a child. This is not me complaining or placing blame. It was simply removing the one clear constant pain that kept true happiness at bay for me. They say happiness is a state of mind. I say environment contributes to joy. I had never been in the right environment for myself. That had to change.     

Two – The words of my friend Alexa Fitzpatrick, who I have leaned on, trusted, respected & been inspired by throughout my life. Without Alexa’s words and friendship, I could never write these words today. This is me saying I could NOT have done it alone. Early on she said to me “you are an okay guy when you drink, you are a phenomenal guy when you don’t”. I am far from a phenomenal guy. Us entertainers tend to exaggerate just a tad. I’d have gone with extraordinary, remarkable or sensational. Phenomenal seems a bit much 😉 But her words stuck. They have stayed with me in dark times of self-doubt. I’ve repeated them to myself often over the years. I wanted, want & continue to work towards being the person she feels I have the potential to be.

I share this because, if I can change something of this size within my life, YOU can as well! Whatever it might be. YOU CAN MAKE IT HAPPEN! I’m an Irish-American, Navy Veteran, Comedian who does not touch a drop of alcohol. I drank. I drank a lot. Now I don’t. This is not me patting myself on my back or looking for compliments. My journey and struggles continue. I’d be a moron to think I’m any further along then I was on day one. It’s just me putting an example out to the universe as a possibility of being helpful to someone else. A “well if this knucklehead can do that, than I could definitely do (insert life changes here)” 😂 

It takes will to remove the cause of pain, a real look at yourself, focus on your clear goal, a bit of grit, a whole lot of f*ck you and, most importantly, Support! I have been fortunate enough to get it from people who love me. 

I have also had people tell me “you can’t do it!” People who have treated me differently for my choice. The answer there is to use it…love your haters and make them wrong. Because here is the benefit of fighting and staying on the winning side of your battles. It WILL bleed into all other aspects of your life. It WILL bring that distant vision closer. It WILL lead you to your own personal shift.

Damn! Did I just become a straight up Guru? 

On the serious side, over the years I have shared my journey with people who have come to me with their own struggles. I think I’ve helped some and I know I didn’t help others. Take this the same way and know you’ve got a friend in this (trying to be) “phenomenal guy.” 😂  

U.S. Army Specialist Ryan Dostie

I had the pleasure to entertain this strong woman at the Chaz & AJ Veterans Gala over the weekend. Her story is her own but echoes others. This is what courage looks like. It’s not on display, often written about or portrayed accurately. It’s living with traumatic events daily and dealing with them during the quiet moments of life. Having the strength to fight through, talk & share. I watched a room full of over 500 people come together in a small pocket of our land to help, support & show their appreciation to a Military Veteran, mother & fellow community member. That’s the world I like, want & will do my best to continue living in. Because it inspires me. If you want to make a difference in the world, start with your own. It’s something I’ve witnessed time and time again. U.S. Army Specialist Ryan Dostie is a shining example. Her family, friends, community & fellow veterans are the better because of the very hard steps she’s taken. Thank you Ryan! 

U.S. Army Specialist Ryan Dostie

 

 

 

COMEDY AT WAR: Returning Home

My first trip overseas to entertain the troops in Afghanistan and Iraq was in 2004. I was 32 at the time. Close to 80% of our current military weren’t even in high school yet. Comedy and the reality of war have been two consistencies I’ve lived with daily since. On every trip to a war zone, I make new friends and can’t help but identify with them. In 1990, I was a fresh faced seaman. Every time I return home from one of my comedy tours, I pray they do the same…return home. Safely. Unfortunately, this isn’t always the case.

Bagram Air Base Afghanistan.

My first few weeks home are always a struggle to readjust my sleep and my mental state. I come home caring about different things and taking a very large majority of the world’s problems more seriously. My girlfriend had to sleep in another room last night because I was reacting to every sound and jumping in my sleep. In the four years we’ve been together, that has never happened before. 

Being an entertainer seems so petty to me, when the handshakes, life talks, courage, selflessness, shared laughter, names, and faces are fresh. It doesn’t just shut off for me. It chips away at a part of me each time, without my really being conscious of it. The mind is brutal when you’re not mindful of it. A big part of it is survivor’s guilt. Although I’m very happy not being in the military anymore, the loyalty and connection to every brother and sister serving never leaves. 

The GI’s Of Comedy

I’m grateful that I’ve been doing this long enough to understand/recognize these steps and I feel like I’m mostly sharing this for my fellow comedians who are also military veterans. For everyone else, my point is that these trips I’ve taken to make service members laugh are a complete privilege, but at the same time they break my heart and are a complete mind f*ck. They have had an impact on my thoughts, feelings & life. 

The reason I’m sharing this is because I’m just a comedian. Just a guy spending a week or maybe a month over there. Please imagine a brave man or woman who lives/lived that life on a daily basis for a very very long time. I HATE war. I LOVE warriors. I know the part I play in all of this and I am grateful for my purpose. It has helped me come to terms with what happens over there.  But not with all of it, I believe that’s impossible. All heroes, friends, and strangers please know that for as long as I am walking this earth, I am here for you. Don’t be too proud to talk! PLEASE! I’m here to make you laugh, have a conversation, or just listen. Family, friends, service members, veterans… any and all.  Humanity is my light…

Memorial Day: Afghanistan And Bridge Street Interview

MEMORIAL DAY: Afghanistan
For the past 10 days I traveled throughout Afghanistan with these comedians. All military veterans whose mission was to make every troop we had the pleasure to perform for laugh. We are accompanied here by the heroes who were in charge of keeping us safe throughout our tour. It’s one of my life’s greatest pleasures to befriend people like every single one of these gentlemen while entertaining our men and women answering the call. From big established bases to remote small FOBS (Forward Operation Bases), the mission was executed perfectly. I feel extremely thankful today in particular because I try to honor our brothers and sisters lost by living the fullest life possible. Every trip taken to see our service members reminds me the value of life and freedom.

Thank you To The Fallen.

Great GI’s Of Comedy organized Armed Forces Entertainment.

This Memorial Day interview I did with Bridge Street in Syracuse really explains why it’s so important to me. Thanks for having me ladies.