Staff Sgt. Bobby Henline’s life changed forever in 2007 when a roadside bomb in Iraq struck his vehicle. He spent months recovering in a hospital in San Antonio with burns covering half his body, his left hand and forearm amputated. Despite the agony of recovery, Henline managed to make the nurses and doctors laugh by making light of his dire situation. Again and again they would tell him that he should give stand-up comedy a shot. Once discharged from the hospital, NPR reports that’s exactly what he did.
Henline began performing at the Rivercenter Comedy Club in San Antonio, TX, patching together three-to-five minute sets for the weekly open mic. Immediately upon reaching the stage Henline makes jokes about his appearance, letting the audience know it is all right to laugh at what they see and hear. His material is the product of meticulous writing and re-writing, and before performing his set he always runs his jokes past his wife, Connie. She doesn’t always find his humor funny, which Henline takes as a green light to perform on stage.
Although the intense lights are painful on his sensitive skin, Henline presses on. In fact, he performed last month at the world-famous Comedy Store in Los Angeles. His comedy isn’t just therapeutic for him, either. He has done countless shows for wounded veterans, letting his audiences know that life goes on after suffering life-changing injuries. Henline’s ultimate goal is to put together a USO tour and give back to the veterans, using his injuries and comedy as an example of making the best of the darkest situations. If you’re in the San Antonio area, be sure to check him out on Friday nights at the Rivercenter Comedy Club. For more information on Staff Sgt. Henline, visit his MySpace here . Thank you for your continued service, Staff Sgt. Henline.
You can listen to this story as it appeared on NPR below.