Hi I'm Bobby Henline an Iraq war Vet. I survived an IED blast that killed four of my fellow servicemen, and l was left with burns covering almost 40% of my body. Today I'm a stand-up comedian. TIME has produced a mini-doc sharing my story (check it out here: http://content.time.com/time/healing-bobby/)


proof pic: http://imgur.com/HDJuvJX

Comments: 594 • Responses: 54  • Date: 

TheBuffman735 karma

Hey Robert. I saw you kill it in the San Antonio LOL club on their open mic. You were working stuff out and man you were on. When i saw you i was immediately expecting your set to be awkward, or weird, and you would get a bunch of sympathy laughs but instead you killed. I had some conversation with you and you stated that a lot of your work is with vets and you were really a cool dude.

You inspired me to be honest. A lot of people in general are always afraid of doing things because there is fear, fear of losing, fear of being judged, fear of so many things, and yet you have lost a lot and you have the courage to do what many couldnt. It made me realize people make excuses all the time instead of just saying yes. It made me feel small for all the excuses i have given myself, a perfectly able bodied person.

So keep it up man, keep killing. Keep being the living example that courage exists and that cowards find excuses. Thank you.

*Edit - If you understood comedians, and stand up comedy, you would understand that the phrase "killing" is the highest compliment. I see your concern however in this instance you are wrong.

RobertHenline485 karma

I'm always in awe when you know someone really gets my mission and what I'm trying to do. Thank you for sharing that with me. See you back in SA!

EntFarm363 karma

When you are about to walk on stage, does the MC ever say, "Next up we got Bobby here, give him a hand guys"

Im sorry

RobertHenline478 karma

LOL. Yes, and they follow up with, "But really, give him a hand." The well-done comedian, Bobby Henline. They often ask how do you want to be introduced? And I say, "Bobby Henline, the well-done comedian." And they say, "No really, how do you want to be introduced?" But when they introduce me they say, "He wanted me to introduce him as..." They feel weird saying it themselves. They want to say that I said it was OK.

napmeijer248 karma

What's your opinion on this Key and Peele sketch?

RobertHenline491 karma

Hadn't seen it but just watched it and it's very, very funny. Still laughing. A comedian actually went after myself and a burn friend one time, he pointed us out and said, "Now everyone's gonna go home and check the battery in their smoke detectors." We cried...laughing.

RobertHenline229 karma

Just wanted to say thanks everyone for participating and asking such great questions. I'm gonna go join my friends in the NYC Veterans Day parade! Thank you to all the vets and families that have served. If my story inspires you, please check out the film mentioned above: http://content.time.com/time/healing-bobby/ If you want to reach me, I'm on Facebook here: https://www.facebook.com/robert.henline?fref=ts

BernardWillis140 karma

What aspects of daily life have changed you since the burning of your body and lost of your hand.

RobertHenline681 karma

There's a lot of things, which I call my "new normal" like being careful about being in the sun for too long. I have to wear sunglasses outside all the time because I can't close my left eye. I have to wear them inside, too, because of air conditioning sometimes. But the positive side, I get everything done single-handedly.

ILL_Show_Myself_Out505 karma

I get everything done single-handedly.

☜(゚ヮ゚☜) This guy.

RobertHenline243 karma


Bahatingle125 karma

Hi M.Henline, can I ask you something personal ? Do you suffer about what we call the survivor's guilty ?

RobertHenline261 karma

I had a big issue with that in the beginning. Now, I do what I do to help heal others, and I feel this is the best revenge I can get for my brothers that I lost that day. If I can help more people than that guy ever hurt.

playdevilsadvocate1119 karma

Thank you for your service! Do you ever get heckled? If so how do you respond?

RobertHenline433 karma

I think people are too scared to heckle me. When you look like Freddy Krueger, they'll be afraid to go to sleep at night.

chooter79 karma

Who are your comedy inspirations?

RobertHenline186 karma

Growing up, Richard Pryor, Robin Williams, Eddie Murphy and Bill Cosby. Now, I think the funniest comedian is Daniel Tosh.

lackaboughs68 karma

What kind of vacuum do you use?

RobertHenline106 karma

I like to roll around on the Dyson Ball.

MilesAway5159 karma

Is there anything that you can do now that you couldn't prior to your injury, be it emotion/intellectual or otherwise? What were you, if anything, for halloween?

RobertHenline105 karma

Stand-up. I definitely couldn't do that before. I feel more confident in front of people now than I did. As far as viewing life, it's the same. But I appreciate it more. But spiritually is where I changed that's helped me the most.

For Halloween, I've been zombies, Freddy Krueger and J.R. Martinez. I've got pictures of those, too. For the J.R. Martinez costume, I made a mirror ball out of a vase, a toy ball, and wrapped it all in tinfoil. (Cuz he was on "Dancing with the Stars.")

lyndy53 karma

"Once you go cooked, you're hooked" Haha! Great stuff Bobby. Do you have a youtube channel that I can subscribe to for following your comedy?

HollyWood4552 karma

No question, just wanted to thank you for your service and sacrifice. Good luck with rhe comedy, ill look for you on Showtime in a few weeks!

RobertHenline61 karma

Thanks so much.

Coffeh44 karma


RobertHenline263 karma

Big guy, YEAH! Well...when you've got an arm that looks like a giant penis...What's not to be happy about???

RobertHenline165 karma

On a more serious note -- there's so much of life left to live and see. My happiness comes from the little things in life that we all take for granted these days in our busy lives. The smell of flowers. Sunset. A hug from a family member. I live by Roosevelt's "Do what you can with what you have where you're at." I think it's a great rule in life that can apply to personal, business, and is a way to pay it forward.

Coffeh24 karma


RobertHenline65 karma

Yes, Tommy Lee has nothing on me.

Gravy-Leg__37 karma

How much of your routine is based on your injuries?

RobertHenline100 karma

90% is self deprecating -- not defecating.

Cap-n-IvytheInfected34 karma

How interesting. How did you decide to get into stand-up? Do you find that you scars affect your new career?

RobertHenline66 karma

The scars definitely affect the new career. I was talked into it by my occupational therapist and fell in love with it. I love stand-up comedy. It's healing.

Cap-n-IvytheInfected21 karma

Where do you regularly perform?

RobertHenline68 karma

I regularly perform in San Antonio. Keep an eye out for my upcoming stand-up special on Showtime. It airs December 5.

Cap-n-IvytheInfected23 karma

I will. I just realized that I gave been subscribing to Showtime for the last 12 months ( autopay--eek!), so I plan to maximize my subscription! Best of luck to you. Baltimore and DC would love to have you!

RobertHenline38 karma

Thank you! I can't wait to be in Baltimore and DC and meet you.

PhilAaeshio32 karma


Bobby is funny as all hell... and nothing beats his Freddy Krueger impression!

This is H. M. from It'z in Fayetteville

Love ya, Bobby! Keep killin' it, homie!

RobertHenline28 karma

Love you brother!

NTRX29 karma

If you could redo your service, would you?

RobertHenline71 karma

Yes. I told my wife in the hospital if they got my hand working, I was gonna try out for Special Forces again. She just shook her head.

oiasjdfoiajsdfoiajsd28 karma

I am planning to go into the military. Is it worth it in your opinion?

RobertHenline77 karma

Yes. My son plans on it, too. It's hard to know that something like this could happen to him but I understand what it's like to serve and why someone would want to do it. I have to respect his wishes. Good luck and God bless.

KerouacSampas28 karma

What was it like to work with Peter Agtmael in telling your story? Do you have any particular favorite war photographs or images that you think illustrate the realities of the Iraq conflict? I admire your courage Bobby, I think you have real talent with your stand up - I hope it brings you a lot of happiness!

RobertHenline50 karma

I had a great time with Peter. We became great friends. My favorite war photograph is Nick Ut's photo of the girl who was burned by Napalm. Her name is Kim Phuc, and we've met 3 times. Here's that image: http://abcnews.go.com/blogs/headlines/2012/06/the-historic-napalm-girl-pulitzer-image-marks-its-40th-anniversary/

Dr_WHOOO28 karma

I think we'd all like to stand up and give you a hand.

RobertHenline54 karma

LOL. Thanks. Got an extra left?

drtickleshits1426 karma

Thank you for serving. If you don't mind, could you link a show you did, I love stand up comedy

RobertHenline79 karma

This is a video I set up to actually try to get on "The Tonight Show." It didn't work. LOL. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GNGLPx82MOU#t=11

thatwhichisnt26 karma

No question. I am someone who is vehemently anti-war, although I hates the game, not the player. Thank you for your service and sacrifice. I will be sure to give your stuff a listen. Way to turn a traumatic experience into something positive!

RobertHenline25 karma

Word up! Thank you!

castlefapenstein25 karma

Didn't I see you in the film 'samsara'? I did! How did that come about?

RobertHenline38 karma

Yes. How did that come about? They contacted the hospital looking for someone who physically showed the wounds of war. The hospital knew to call me.

Amputeeninja20 karma

How long did it take to recover? How supportive has your family been with your comedy? Thank you for your service and sacrifices.

RobertHenline51 karma

I spent 6 months in the hospital and a total of 3 years recovering with physical therapy and functional reconstruction surgeries to make sure I could open and close my eyes and mouth. Family has been my backbone with support and recovery but they're tired of my comedy...lol.

Amputeeninja18 karma

Geez. I don't think I have the willpower for something like that. Keep doing what your doing, you're pretty good at it.

RobertHenline53 karma

Thank you. You never know what you can do until you have to.

Csnyder2316 karma

Do you go to Austin very often? I'd see you!

RobertHenline18 karma

Not yet! But it's in my plans.

3popopo15 karma

What were your thoughts towards warfare before you joined the army, and how did they change over time?

Also, thank you so much for being an amazing human being - your comedy brings a smile to my face.

RobertHenline42 karma

I always thought war should be the last resort but understand that sometimes that's what it takes to get rid of evil dictators like Saddam Hussein. When you meet the people that he tortured for years and really understand what they've gone to, you don't regret a thing and would do it again.

RobertHenline58 karma

Drop the mic.

Daniiiiii14 karma

As a comedian are you afraid of pity laughs?

RobertHenline29 karma

I was in the beginning. That's why I wouldn't tell the audience what really happened to me. Now that I've proven that I can make them laugh with real jokes, I do go more into what actually happened to me, and they still laugh cuz I'm a funny man!

playdevilsadvocate113 karma

My cousin was severely burned by an IED while he was in Afghanistan and his attitude is much like yours. Thank you again for your service!

RobertHenline28 karma

I wonder who your cousin is. I might know him! Thank you.

tootsie_rolex12 karma

High 5 mate..No Pun Intended.

RobertHenline48 karma

Left bump nub!

castleaaargh10 karma

First off, thank you for your service. My Dad served in Iraq and in Desert Storm back in '90-'91.

Any plans to do USO shows?

RobertHenline30 karma

Yes. I actually did twice in 2010 to Iraq and Kuwait. I'm hoping to go to Afghanistan soon.

Noctrune8 karma

How difficult was it to reintegrate into society after you returned from service?

RobertHenline17 karma

That's an ongoing process. It's definitely gotten better. I've learned to deal and understand the triggers from PTSD so that I can get out and do a lot more.

Jellybit7 karma

I'm so glad to hear that you've found comedy, and that it's been therapeutic. Are you concerned about your long-term ability to keep going with it? Specifically, I'm asking about how long you feel you can write material/keep interest in the specific subject matter you've chosen, or if maybe you see yourself reinventing yourself as a comedian. Do you think people would stick with you if you did? This is a difficulty I think all comedians face, and your situation seems to be especially difficult.

RobertHenline15 karma

Yes, it is definitely a challenge to keep it going, but I have plans -- two albums right now that I see that I can do for sure, and hopefully break into television sitcoms.

Simon_Plenderson7 karma

I have to hand it to you, you are pretty funny. Thanks for the link.

RobertHenline4 karma


Gravy-Leg__7 karma

How do you come up with your material?

RobertHenline9 karma

Some stuff just happens in life and other just pops in my head.

flippityfloppityfloo6 karma

Hi Bobby: Thank you for your service and what you do for others today - especially on Veteran's Day. Could you possibly have the link to this thread posted to your Twitter account to confirm you are doing this AMA? (https://twitter.com/BobbyHenline).

fairwayks5 karma

Loved the "Healing Bobby" video and have read all the Q&A's. Thanks for your service and sacrifice. Am glad to see you're getting your revenge by helping more people than "they" hurt.

My request is, can you post a "before" pic of yourself? Also, do you have a pic of you and the comrades you lost to the IED?

Laughter IS the best medicine. Give it and take it generously.


RobertHenline15 karma

You can see my whole photo album here: http://www.time.com/time/video/player/0,32068,2821796853001_0,00.html Some highlights: the motorcycles Saddam Hussein gave people as gifts. Some great skydiving and surfing pics also. And a great joke about going to the beach.

kevfitz17295 karma

You have my respect sir!

RobertHenline9 karma

Thank you, I appreciate it.

Rdawn4 karma

God bless you. Thank you for your service. Life is sad and tragic. But if you embrace that you can actually live it. Comfort is death. Security is an illusion. Just have to get up everyday and ride the bull, if you know what I mean. Best of luck.

RobertHenline6 karma

Thank you so much, that means a lot to me.

NyneShaydee4 karma

Thank you for your service. You have [got] to be an awesome and brave person for not only your service, but to get up and do stand up comedy. If you weren't doing stand-up right now, what do you think you'd be doing?

RobertHenline9 karma

I don't know what else I would do besides stand-up or sharing my story. I saw my whole career in the military, so if I wasn't doing this, I'd be a stay at home mommy, which isn't bad, just not as funny. Both would be great because you can drink at both jobs!

FranCam3 karma

Thank you for your service! Choose: Would you rather have permanent cheeto fingers, or have a popcorn kernel stuck in the back of your throat forever?

RobertHenline15 karma

Cheeto fingers, DEFINITELY. The popcorn thing is horrible! It would drive me crazy. Cheeto fingers I have an excuse to eat more Cheetos.

nospeakaenglish2 karma

first off, thank you for your service! you must have went through quite a lot.

now I gotta ask, whats your 'best' joke, or one that always gets a laugh from a crowd?

RobertHenline14 karma

People always tell me it's the one about expecting a discount and my cremation... and messing with people at firework stands.

mbair12 karma

If you could perform standup anywhere, where would you love to perform? Why?

Thanks for your service!

RobertHenline11 karma

Fort Bragg, North Carolina. That's my home base, where I was stationed. I'd love to make my brothers and sisters of the 82nd airborne laugh.

Jake1722 karma

When is your next show in SA?

RobertHenline8 karma

Wednesday night! Open mic at Bracken Saloon.

[deleted]1 karma


RobertHenline1 karma

Just watched that! Somebody else recommended it, too. I don't work the crowd or insult people, although i think it's funny! I'm just not good at it.

pawprints123451 karma

Cheers to you! No questions, just want to give you praise for being strong. Go you!

RobertHenline3 karma


RaceForRed-1 karma

Thanks for your service! Mad respect for airborne!

RobertHenline2 karma

Thanks! All the way.