Hey Everybody! My name is Pete Stegemeyer, and I'm a stand up comic who got his start by telling jokes around a garbage fire in Afghanistan. What started as a way to blow off steam and cheer up my buddies after patrols has turned into me releasing my first stand up comedy album, Pete-T.S.D.

In it I cover my time in the military, but also my struggles with PTSD and the steps I've taken to seek help and get treatment. I'm hoping that it helps other veterans (or anyone struggling with PTSD) to destigmatize getting help for themselves and that we can make a meaningful dent in the number of troops we lose to mental health issues every day. Also, it's pretty funny and I've got a story about Screech from Saved By The Bell.

Profits from the sale of the album will be donated to help fight veteran suicide because that's literally why I got into comedy in the first place.

Pete-T.S.D. comes out on November 11 because I love a good tie-in with Veteran's Day, but you can preorder it right now! so please, ask me anything, and if you need to talk, I'm here to listen to that too.

Proof: Here's my proof!

Comments: 367 • Responses: 76  • Date: 

itspeterj216 karma

I guess I'll start by answering some of the questions I got last night from trick or treaters:

1) Seriously, take as much as you want! You're like our 2nd trick or treater.

2) Yes, my dog is dressed as a hotdog. He doesn't like his costume.

3) No, I'm sorry this isn't the potato house, but you can take as much candy as you want.

dothescurvyleg28 karma

I absolutely have to know more about the potato house! You can’t just say that and not elaborate!

itspeterj73 karma

Someone in my neighborhood was offering trick or treaters the choice of candy or a potato. Apparently word spread and the kids LOVED getting potatoes

dothescurvyleg24 karma

I couldn’t even imagine the shock on the parents’ faces! You may have to one-up him next year!

itspeterj40 karma

I think next year I'm handing out hamsters

Star_x_Child8 karma

How about used appliances instead? Hand out broken toasters, air fryers with missing racks, really anything that you need to clear out of your garage....

itspeterj2 karma

Good call!

Vohagigo5 karma

itspeterj3 karma

I'm not sure about this guy. I'm in Nashville but I don't know where he is.

mctoastus2 karma

Just came from the post on Frontpage. The World is so small

itspeterj3 karma


HomelessCosmonaut196 karma

Let's say tomorrow you wake up and you're suddenly in charge of the VA. What are the first changes you would make?

itspeterj360 karma

This is an incredible question. I think one of the main things I'd like to do is make it easier to process claims and apply common sense when addressing those claims. I lost an inch of height while I was in the army, but my back problems are not "service connected" and I know a lot of other vets are dealing with the same thing.

I'd make getting access to care easier as well, and I'd allow patients that are x distance away from their nearest centers to get treatment at closer private locations if that's a barrier to their care.

I'd also make sure that veterans get adequate mental health care while IN the service so there's not a backlog of people trying to get help with no idea how.

I'm not a policy guy and these might not be the most effective ways to improve, but these have been some of the issues I've run into.

Hydracat4519 karma

I'd also make sure that veterans get adequate mental health care while IN the service so there's not a backlog of people trying to get help with no idea how.

When I was in if you were seeking mental health treatment you got your weapon taken from you. Everyone is going to know you can't draw a weapon. People are going to talk and gossip. You'll spend your days sweeping and mopping the floors and be seen as a "useless nut" by peers and leadership.

There were guys who thought getting mental health treatment would hinder their career progression. They weren't wrong. This was less than 5 years ago btw.

itspeterj27 karma

Absolutely. It's really shameful to see how the military has treated people trying to get help. It has cost us so many lives, and it's because of some outdated idea that mental injuries aren't the same as physical wounds.

When I was in, our behavioral health treatment therapist was our 1SG's wife, which was a GLARING conflict of interest. It made people afraid to go and that's really harmful. I think that leadership is starting to understand that they need to do better and stop making this a career ender, but I think time will tell if that actually helps like it needs to.

Gorstag6 karma

I'm not a vet but a good friend is and he really struggled with PTSD after returning from Iraq. He kept trying to reach out for help through some of the programs that "appeared" to be available but it was a massive hassle. It was really difficult for him. Thankfully, time heals especially with the support of friends & family and he's no longer plagued by those demons like he used to be.

itspeterj3 karma

I'm glad to hear he's doing better! You're good people

Cambino16172 karma

What’s your best Air Force joke?

itspeterj588 karma

I think the Space Force holds that title currently.

the_real_abraham6 karma

I will still ask my brother if they give out article 15's for not using a coaster. Apparently, nobody thinks that's funny but me.

itspeterj12 karma

There's nothing funny about rings on tables.

Righteous_Fury224113 karma

What's the best come back line you used to deal with a heckler from the audience?

itspeterj413 karma

Oh that's a good question! Probably my favorite was when I was telling a story about my first time at a strip club. Pretty much as soon as I mentioned the strip club, some guy yells out "I hope you weren't the dancer" and it got a few laughs but I was able to kind of lean into it and said something about how disappointing that'd have been for everyone at the club if they were expecting some ripped magic mike guy, and instead out waddles "pretty okay pete" and everybody went nuts laughing.

But then the guy yelled back "you're not pretty okay!" and I said "I feel like there's a but coming, or is it just the mean part?" And he just kind of grumbled "it was just the mean stuff" and then he was quiet the rest of the show.

I liked that because it ended up turning into more material and helped me keep control of the show. I think a lot of times comics can get derailed pretty quickly trying to own hecklers, but honestly, I just try to move things along as best I can and I'm lucky that I don't get very many hecklers since I stopped inviting my parents to shows.

Righteous_Fury22447 karma

Thanks Pete 👍

Excellent response 😎

I wish you all the best in your comedy career 😉

itspeterj38 karma

Thank you so much!

Timmay132 karma

I just spat my drink at the parents line. Legend.

Not military, but have PTSD. Man, keep being awesome.

itspeterj2 karma

Thank you!

huh_phd70 karma

Can you hit me with a good bad joke? Here's my example: a guy walks into a bar and says ouch

itspeterj207 karma

Yeah! Here's an army one: A Squad of Germans walk into a BAR. There are no survivors.

itspeterj143 karma

BAR in this case stands for Browning Automatic Rifle. I told you it's a bad joke haha.

yarrr012368 karma

PETE! Awesome seeing you come along over the years. No question, but thanks for doing what you do!

^ That original post got removed because I didn't ask a question so...

PETE? Is it awesome seeing you come along over the years? Question, should I thank you for doing what you do?

itspeterj55 karma

First of all, thank you! I always feel awkward when people thank me. It's really nice, but I kind of feel like I just signed the card without chipping in for the present if that makes any sense? I appreciate that people appreciate the military, but I never really know what to say.

yarrr012326 karma

I should add that I'm a fellow vet, so your comedy resonates and helps me as well. <3

itspeterj36 karma

That's awesome to hear! It sounds corny but that's honestly a big reason that I wanted to release this album. I get a good number of vets after shows telling me that they could identify with my humor and understood the PTSD symptoms, etc a bit better because of it. Hopefully it helps destigmatize getting help and getting vets to realize that we share these experiences and that there's a way out of it.

That really means a lot to me. Thank you.

SadFloppyPanda11 karma

If it helps, if I've known the person for a while or can joke with them, I'll tell them thank you for your taxes if they thank me.

itspeterj22 karma

Don't thank me, thank my recuiter.

FAHalt60 karma

How was your time in Afghanistan, and how do you feel about NATO having pulled out?

itspeterj179 karma

I had two deployments and each of them were very starkly different. The first was very limited firefights and a LOT of IEDs and the second was almost a complete 180 - lots of engagements and mortar/rocket attacks but very few IEDS. We suffered casualties on both deployments, but so did the people that lived near our bases. I honestly felt sick to my stomach seeing NATO and the US pull out like we did. We had great working relationships with so many interpreters, local national soliders, and families and we should have done better by them. I know that we couldn't stay forever and that there was probably no "GOOD" way to pull out, but I feel intense guilt and shame over the way it happened and anger at the government for essentially throwing them to the wolves. I'll try to return to this with a more eloquent answer in a bit.

itspeterj52 karma

This has been super fun! I need to take an hour long break or so, but I'll be back as soon as I can be. Please feel free to leave questions and I'll come back with answers to every question!

d0o0m44 karma

Hey man - good luck with this and thanks for what you offer to the world.

Question: Are racial / cultural jokes about the enemy lazy, helpful or dangerous in a combat theater? I feel like it must be a delicate line to walk as a comedian.

itspeterj87 karma

This is a phenomenal question. I think that like with most things, there's a balance to it, and a lot of the onus of this involves keeping in mind who the enemy actually IS.

When covid first came out, I remember that even ISIS was restricting travel and meeting via zoom, and I had a joke about how you know it's serious when THOSE GUYS are dialing in to meetings. Imagine calling the wrong number and accidentally blowing yourself up?

I think there's a big difference between joking about actual combatants and making lazy or cheap or mean jokes about people that A) have no choice being there, B) usually didn't even know who bin laden was and C) are about to have their entire lives fucked up because they live where a war happens to be going on.

I think that there's a lot of harm in broad generalizing "jokes" about Muslims, Afghanis, or Iraqis (or whomever) that are usually just thinly veiled racism or some excuse to be shitty. Unfortunately you see a lot of this popping up all over the military (or I did when I was in) and it sometimes even takes the form of really awful cadences being called when you're running which institutionalizes it. We had some guys that would have platoons yelling "die haji die" or other gross shit, and it dehumanizes the people that we're deploying to help and makes people think of them as the enemy, which is dangerous for everyone involved. I hated that shit.

furrufurru30 karma

There’s always been a level of dehumanizing the enemy in just about any, every conflict through our history. I remember first hearing the term jihadi being used, but that’s cuz that’s what was happening. Muslim extremists going off on jihad. I’m not sure when and where but eventually jihadi turned into haji. The difference there being haj is a religious pilgrimage, so haji are those fulfilling their annual religious pilgrimage. So we ended up saying things like “3 hajis KIA” during training and live fire exercises. I myself said it about a million times while I was in the Army without even realizing what I was saying or the implication it was making. Regretted it ever since I found out what was really coming out of my mouth.

itspeterj27 karma

Same thing here. The important thing is knowing now and doing the work to be better and it seems like you are. Keep up the good work

lum1nous01338 karma

Did you at any point had thoughts about wether you did the right thing or not ? I am not talking about individual incidents but about the whole choice of taking part in this war. Where there any moments that made you think "maybe we are the bad guys" or you were always certain you stand at "the right side of history" as they say.

I don't want to be dishonest and I want to say that I am personally critical of US intervations on foreign affairs, but I would like to here the opinion of someone that was actually there.

With all that being said, and wether we agree or disagree I have to say that I really admire your cause of helping vets with PTSD and I hope your album goes amazingly well.

itspeterj59 karma

Constantly, honestly.

I counted myself fortunate to be in Afghanistan instead of Iraq, because at least Afghanistan felt morally defensible at first, but pretty quickly on it became clear that the Afghan people had no idea why we were there.

They literally thought we were magic, that our sunglasses were xray vision, that our armor had air conditioning, etc. At night, we'd have apaches flying in total darkness and you'd just see streams of fire hitting the ground and I could 100% think you're reasonable for thinking that dragons existed.

These were people, mostly GOOD people, that got pulled into a war through no action of their own. Most of them didn't even know WHO bin laden was. I think that realizing that these families just wanted to live in peace but haven't had a chance to do so in 40 years really hit me hard.

I tried to do things like glove drives to hand out to the kids so they didn't freeze in the winter, but the Taliban would end up stealing the gloves from everybody so the IEDs they planted didn't have fingerprints, so even trying to do good things could backfire. It's something I still wrestle with honestly. I hope that I accomplished some good, but I'm not sure I did.

edit_thesadparts35 karma

Thank you for what you're doing. Looking forward to checking out your album. Screech lived in my area before he passed away. He was a bit of a legend. How did the two of you meet?

itspeterj65 karma

We actually met while I was installing cable for him. There was a misunderstanding when I asked him to turn on his TV and he ended up hating me for YEARS and tried to get me fired from my Cable job. Dude called our customer service line for like 3 weeks straight trying to get me fired. I ran into him one time a few years later at a local wrestling show and he remembered me and time had not softened his feelings for me.

edit_thesadparts30 karma

Well, that wasn't what I expected. That's pretty hilarious. That's a serious grudge over a simple request.

itspeterj45 karma

I explain it in full detail on the album, but it was the most perfectly timed coincidence of my life. It made me believe in miracles.

JellyJim72 karma


itspeterj2 karma


JellyJim72 karma

Ohhh. I apologize. I thought you were commo when you said "Cable Job".

itspeterj3 karma

No worries! I actually served as my platoon's RTO on the first deployment and that got me really interested in learning from the 25U guys and getting into encryption etc. I think getting that toe in the water is what led me to my cyber security career after the army!

BladesBeLife26 karma

I’m a veteran who has struggled with PTSD and suicidal thoughts often, what exactly is the plan to help if I may ask?

itspeterj63 karma

So, first and foremost, I'm always available to talk to anyone that needs it. Secondly, I think that the most direct help that I can offer with this is donating my proceeds from this album to the organization that helped me- Headstrong.org. Headstrong provides FREE therapy for veterans struggling with PTSD and so I'm happy to be helping people find them and helping Headstrong in their mission.

Stay strong brother.

honkaponka21 karma

so, uhm, I feel like biting the bait here; why not Pete-S.D ?

itspeterj42 karma

I played around with a few different variations on the title, but Pete-T.S.D. was usually the easiest to say and for people to understand what I was talking about.

awing120 karma

I'm active duty Air Force, what joke you got about me?

itspeterj49 karma

Mostly just jealousy. Is it true that you guys keep your pinkies extended when you're running drone strikes?

awing123 karma

We are eating a tornado with a fork and knife, while our white monster is in the finest quality glassware

The joystick for the drone is being operated with our ass cracks

itspeterj17 karma

Those tornados are legit though.

SpiderMansRightNut20 karma

What comedians inspire you or helped shape your style of comedy?

itspeterj39 karma

Oh man there's so many. I really developed my sense of humor listening to the Bob and Tom Show in the mornings with my dad, so there were a lot of big influences on me there from guys like Greg Warren, Mike Birbiglia, and so many others that I can't name off the top of my head. I loved the alternative comics like Patton Oswalt and Maria Bamford who just kind of did their own thing, and I got to see Mitch Hedberg right before he passed and really admired his joke writing and delivery. Pablo Francisco was a HUGE idol of mine, and I got to do my first paid weekend opening for him and writing with him and it was just the coolest shit ever.

I also loved Norm, and the last track on my album is something of a tribute to his moth joke. Dave Attell is one of the reasons that I started doing comedy in Afghanistan in the first place, so I owe a lot to him as well.

I also owe a lot of thanks to my friends in the NYC comedy scene too, especially folks like Jay Jurden and Eitan Levine who really helped to push me to write jokes about my time in the army and helped make me who I am as a comic today. Before then, I didn't want to do military material because I was afraid of being "the army comic" instead of a comic that was just in the army, but they helped me write more authentically and I am really helpful to them.

TheLynchMobber7 karma

Oh man, I wish I could have seen Mitch live.

itspeterj13 karma

I got to see him with Steven Lynch and it was a KILLER show

samaramatisse4 karma

Do you still listen to B&T? Have you been on the show? They have done work with veterans organizations before. I bet they would love to have you on.

itspeterj10 karma

I do still listen when I can, and I would LOVE to do the Bob and Tom show. It's actually one of my bucket list items. I'd love for my dad to get to hear me on the show some time. If anyone knows the info for booking, please reach out to me.

NiceTea416 karma

What would you tell someone that can’t see the good in the world anymore?

itspeterj28 karma

I think I'd say that I get it, but sometimes you need to lead the way to be the good you want to see. There's still good out there, even when things look grim and they sure as shit do right now, but brother you have to be the good until you can find it or attract it to you.

NiceTea411 karma

What do you think about people diagnosed with PTSD that haven’t been to war? *I’m not a veteran, I’m just a date rape and sexual abuse survivor. Sometimes, I fear I am taking away the seriousness of PTSD by acknowledging the issues I have that I haven’t, “earned”, for lack of better words

itspeterj21 karma

I honestly don't know how EVERYBODY doesn't have some degree of PTSD at this point. We're in year 3 of a pandemic, the economy is bananas, things are not looking great. I just hope that people are able to get the help that they need, and try to focus on that instead of how they got their PTSD. I hope this doesn't come off dickishly!

NiceTea49 karma

It doesn’t, it’s quite comforting, actually. I’m deep in it and everyone around me seems to have bounced back. It’s less isolating to hear you’re not the only one

itspeterj8 karma

I think some people are just better at hiding it honestly. I'm so sorry to hear that you've gone through that. I hope more PTSD survivors can help to hold the door open for others instead of gatekeeping. Are you able to see a therapist?

bluesbrothas15 karma

What were you doing in Afghanistan?

itspeterj36 karma

I was an infantryman in the army, so our brigade was mostly tasked with patrolling villages, collecting intelligence, and doing a lot of community building for the villages around us. We built a few schools, helped secure elections, things like that.

TheOneWhoOpens10 karma

What do you mean by helped secure elections?

itspeterj33 karma

When we were in Kandahar province, the Taliban was very against letting elections go on, so we would pull security around polling places to ensure that people would feel safe enough to come and cast their votes.

bright_shiny_objects15 karma

Does it frustrate you there’s a ton of jokes only military or army people would understand?

itspeterj36 karma

For me it doesn't because I think it's cool that every community has their own in-jokes. I do try to write my material so that it's broadly funny to everybody, but there's definitely some layers that you "had to be there" for and I think that makes it kind of fun and helps build community bonds.


What rating did the VA give you for this disability?

Semper Fi

itspeterj21 karma

I am currently at a 60% but that's due to Tinnitus and PTSD.


You should apply for total unemployability. Since, you know....


itspeterj15 karma

Yeah, that's fair.

partysandwich10 karma

What are your thoughts on the new frontier of psychedelic assisted therapies and their use with veterans?

itspeterj19 karma

I LOVE IT. I'm trying to get into some of the trials for Ketamine or Mushrooms because I've heard a lot of really great things from a lot of veterans that have done it. I have also heard really great things about some virtual reality based training. I think these traumas are deep and complex and that going outside of the box as much as we safely can will help veterans find a kind of peace that's been out of reach for years.

ElsonDaSushiChef9 karma

Have you taken up FPS games outside of comedy?

itspeterj21 karma

I have played a few but I'm coming to terms with the fact that I'm absolute dogshit at them. I liked Apex a lot but I'm so bad at these things that it takes the fun out of a lot of them. Every once in a while I'll play with a few army buddies and we'll actually be able to communicate and use tactics and be pretty good, but I always ended up with some random 8 year olds on my team and we'd get wiped.

Volunteer-Magic8 karma

I’ve wanted to start back up doing stand up, couple questions:

  • how receptive are audiences regarding military humor?

  • what would you recommend/not recommend for someone starting out/starting up again doing open mics?

itspeterj6 karma

Audiences are usually pretty receptive to military humor but I do try to ensure that it's not SO niche that only veterans will understand it. I would definitely recommend hitting up some open mics and giving it a shot again. It comes back quicker than you realize and I always end up meeting great comics at mics that I can build friendships with and we can book each other for shows and things like that. A lot of times, the networking is more important at the mics than the jokes you're telling, but if you get a big laugh at a mic, that's a sign that a joke is a keeper!

Lendyman7 karma

There's an old saying that goes: Laughter is the best medicine. I think humor has a way of breaking down barriers to things that can be difficult to talk about or that we hide because we're ashamed of own own perceived weaknesses.

As a stand up and a vet, how has the humor you've embraced as a new calling impacted or helped you in your journey with PTSD?

itspeterj9 karma

LOVE this question. This is like a Hot Ones quality question.

I think it's helped in a lot of ways. I think that veterans as a community tend to use humor as a defensive mechanism or a way to acknowledge a bad situation without really opening up to it completely. We're the masters of gallows humor when something goes wrong and I think it's because it's the only way that we allow ourselves to decompress that tension a bit.

I have kind of leaned into it more as I've gotten treatment because therapy has helped me come more face to face with my feelings and truths and I think that it's really helped me to contextualize what I'm going through, and I think that humor helps break down the walls for other veterans experiencing the same thing so that they end up realizing that they're not alone and not crazy and that help is possible.

Lendyman3 karma

That kind of raises another question. Gallows humor is defensive, as you say. It a way to exert control over situation where the outcome is uncertain and control is limited. How do transcend from that defensive kind of gallows humor when facing adversity such as death, trauma and PTSD to something that becomes more open, positive and cathartic? Or does gallows style humor do that too?

Thank you for your answer. I was kind of curious of the perspective of someone with your experiance and job as an advocate and entertainer.

My grandfather was a WW2 vet who was on the ground at the army air base at Pearl Harbor on Dec 7, 1941. He used humor and alcohol to cope with the trauma of the things he experianced but sadly, real treatment wasn't really available for him when he needed it. That generation was expected to suck it up. Thankfully we understand better now, though I believe there's a lot of work to do still. Thank you for your advocacy. It's important to know that you can find a way forward.

itspeterj3 karma

This is another great question. I think for some, gallows humor -especially observational type humor like that, can accomplish that.

I think for me though, I was able to become more positive and cathartic through therapy because it really increased my emotional intelligence to a point where I could sit with my feelings and be comfortable enough to actually examine them instead of making deflective jokes.

sax6romeo6 karma

Gonna be on Spotify? We poor vets like to laugh too

itspeterj10 karma

It should be! Spotify gets weird with comedy albums but if it's pulled let me know and I can send you a copy or link you to the album on YouTube!


I saw some of your comedy on Youtube. Congratulations on the album. I wish you the best of luck.

What was your last unit?

itspeterj28 karma

Thank you!

My last unit was A Co 1-72 in Dragon Valley, Camp Casey, Korea.

We were Archangel company and they had rocks that spelled out "Archangel" so the night before I left I rearranged the rocks to say "ArchANAL" and they didn't notice for like 3 months hahaha

Just_An_Animal6 karma

Thanks so much for doing this!!

How do you feel about your time in the military? Did serving meet your expectations, and if not, what was different than you expected?

itspeterj15 karma

Thank you! I feel conflicted about my time in the Army. I think the best way I've heard it described was "a million dollar experience you couldn't pay me to do again."

I love the people I met and some of the opportunities that I had while serving, but I also became pretty disillusioned with what we were doing a lot of the time. I joined to get Bin Laden (9/11 was the first day of my senior year of high school) and that felt honorable but I still don't know why we were in Iraq. There were definitely days where it felt like I joined the Empire, you know?

That said, I think it made me who I am today and I'm thankful for the friends I got from it.

Batfan30006 karma

How long after do solider start bringing up hearing problems after they enroll?I have tinnitus and bad ears from loud clubs. Can’t imagine being around guns and loud explosions when deployed

itspeterj7 karma

The hearing test you get when you join the army will pretty much make you think you're deaf from Day 1.

PKuall4life5 karma

In terms of Comedy, what line will you refuse to cross?

itspeterj6 karma

I really try very hard to not punch down or be needlessly mean or harp on dumb stereotypes. It is why I had to stop doing roast battles. I'd have fun learning things about my friends but always felt shitty after saying the worst things I could think of. I know it's the name of the game; but it just wasn't for me.


What was your favorite MRE, and why was it chili mac?

I also wanted to say thanks for doing what you do, man. I'm an Army Infantry veteran myself, no deployments or anything, but I've had my own mental struggles with my service, a lot of it related to said lack of deployments. It always makes me happy to see other veterans becoming successful outside the military and lifting each other up. You're doing good shit out here brother, keep it up. I look forward to hearing your album soon.

itspeterj7 karma

Thank you so much. And I think my favorite MRE was actually the chili mac but mostly because it came with good snacks and the cheese.

DrPlaguedoctor4 karma

Hey Pete, love what you're doing here.

What was the first "stand up" show you did? Was it sort of an impromptu thing or did some guys find you hilarious and you threw something together when you were on duty? Has your setup for shows changed much since your first show?


itspeterj3 karma

So a lot of the first times I told jokes were around the burn barrel on our base. We'd usually have some cigars and I'd just tell funny stories or jokes I'd written to help us decompress from the shit we'd done that day. This ended up growing into doing more "formal" shows in like the chow tent or things like that but it started really organically and I'm really happy about that. The setup has changed a bit in terms of what I have jokes about or the environments that I'm telling them in, but I hope the approachability aspect never changes. I always want to do comedy as a guy that's just trying to make my buddies laugh.

Filthy_Evo4 karma

What Unit? What years? 11C30b1 here and new fan thanks dude.

itspeterj6 karma

06-2014. 2-2 IN for most of it except my last 18 months with 1-72 in Korea. Thanks man!

Filthy_Evo2 karma

I’d love to come see you if you’re ever in Texas?

itspeterj2 karma

Hell yeah, I'll let you know if I ever do any shows out that way!

soupoftheday53 karma

Hey brother I do a lot of work with veteran suicide as well. Would you be interested in doing any type of collaboration?

itspeterj4 karma

I definitely might be! Shoot me a message!

thedude5023 karma

Did you know we are friends?

itspeterj3 karma

I do buddy

Feldring3 karma

Whoa, just found this! Already looking forward to your album.

Hope you don’t mind if I pepper more than one question at you:

Who are some of your favorite comics? Do you have any favorite books or movies you go to when YOU need a laugh?

What’s the story with that Napoleon portrait in the background?

That’s actually all I’ve got at the moment, the kids are swarming me and I can’t type… but you sound like a cool guy, and looking forward to seeing more of you. Cheers!

itspeterj8 karma

Thank you so much! I responded with a lot of my favorite comics in a thread above, but in terms of books or movies, I LOVE the hitchhiker's guide to the galaxy series or Good Omens, and I can always watch Dumb and Dumber.

The Napoleon Painting was actually my going away/getting out of the army present when I left Korea! A guy at the PX did photorealistic paintings, so we got him to put my face on Napoleon and it's my favorite thing ever. One of my other buddies got himself as a centaur and his wife riding him as an amazonian queen.

tkeRe13373 karma

Not releasing on spotify?

itspeterj5 karma

I plan to release it to spotify, and currently it's slated for Nov 11, but they've been pretty bad about keeping comedy albums up for long due to payment issues so I'm not optimistic

tkeRe13373 karma

Aight :) ill put a follow on ye so plz post something if you release it there or youtube. Best of luck!

itspeterj3 karma

Thank you so much! I'll have it on YouTube in a bit as well!

garageflowerno23 karma

Why do soldiers commit suicide?

itspeterj9 karma

I think there's myriad reasons, but I'm going to try to break down some of the big ones.

1) lack of support. So many soldiers feel abandoned by the government and society after going to war and to some extent, we are. The VA has gotten much better recently, but access to care is still hard to get sometimes and it's nowhere near the quality (generally) that it should be. We feel like we have nobody to talk to, especially civilians, that could understand what we are going through and end up bottling things up instead of getting it out.

2) war is addicting. There's no rush like it that I've ever come across, and it changes you. I was a kid from a 1 stoplight town in Wisconsin, but in combat, I called airstrikes over the radio. Imagine the power that you feel being able to do that, and then when you get out, you're selling cars or struggling to make ends meet. You feel like a shell of yourself and many of us chase that high with drugs and alcohol abuse.

3) many of our lives fall apart in the army. Divorce, losing friends to combat or suicide, it's depressing as hell, and despite it being so common, you feel alone. Like nobody gets you.

4) the military sucks at mental health care. They tell us to suck it up and move on, that being treated takes us out of the fight and is selfish and gets our buddies killed. It's abhorrent. And it's not true. Getting help means you're stronger for your friends in the future and able to help them if you see the pain in them that you felt.

steevo3 karma

Serious question: How to reduce US love of stupid wars?

itspeterj10 karma

I think it's a few things. It's up to veterans of these wars to speak out against them, to raise awareness of the costs of war that extend beyond dollars. It's up to citizens to express our outrage at unjust wars and to stop putting those who support them into office.

I think that we're seeing more awareness from our citizenry lately, and that's inspiring. I think that seeing us fight and lose two wars in a row is shattering the idea that we're invincible and is making the country more reluctant to feed the machine - so we're seeing lower recruiting numbers.

Ideally though, we're going to need a cultural shift in a big way to ensure that we stop sending the poor to fight wars for the rich. I think we're getting there but it's a long way

LickWits3 karma

Possibly a rude question, so I apologise in advance.

After getting help and making moves to help other vets to deal with their mental problems, are you yourself actually doing well now? To me it seems that the people that make the most jokes are usually also the ones hiding their pain from others as well.

In any case I hope you are doing well now and get to help as many vets as possible!

itspeterj4 karma

not rude at all! I have good days and bad days. I don't know that anyone gets 100% "better" but it does get easier, and more importantly you learn how to identify what's going on internally so you can adjust as needed. Recently I realized that a lot of the things that had been working for me in the past when I'd go into a depressive dive (eating better, getting outside and exercising, etc) weren't cutting it anymore, so I went to my doctor and got put on an antidepressant that is helping tremendously.

Hopefully I don't need to take it forever, but my usually coping skills weren't cutting it, so I had to realize I needed a bit of help, and I'm glad that I was able to recognize that. We're all continuous works in progress and it's okay to realize that we can't be perfect and might need help

BlueChamp102 karma

Harvey Dent, can we trust him?

itspeterj2 karma

half the time at least

Koankey2 karma

Do you watch Kill Tony and would you ever sign up?

itspeterj3 karma

I haven't really watched it, but I'd probably give it a shot to get the feedback. Plus, I'm confident in my material haha.

InappropriateTA2 karma

My name is Pete Stegemeyer, and I'm a stand up comic who got his start by telling jokes around a the garbage fire in that was Afghanistan.


itspeterj5 karma

You're not wrong. It was an absolutely gorgeous country though and I really wish they got a chance to grow in their way instead of being fucked by the Russian and American wars taking place in their lands.

TheLynchMobber2 karma

Your a good man doing good things. What's the best cure for your PTSD so far?

itspeterj7 karma

Honestly, therapy has been a godsend. And recognizing what PTSD actually looks like. I thought it'd be just like waking up screaming but my PTSD manifests more as depression and memory loss. I think that joking about it helps make it less frightening and helps others realize that help is out there.

MustBeThursday2 karma

I'm super late to the party I guess, but I wanted to ask if anything else ever came from that crazy murder-house AirBnB you talked about on the Comedians With Ghost Stories podcast. That situation sounded completely nuts. Do you keep an eye out for news about missing people in that area?

itspeterj4 karma

Omg I absolutely should keep an eye out for that. The last that I heard from that was airbnb pulled the posting after our experience but I'm not sure if it's back up. I'm morbidly curious now and am going to check!

TacosArePeopleToo2 karma

Not so much a question, but you should really join us over on r/MilitaryStories. Most of us fancy ourselves comedians too, and I'm sure you'd have some great ones to share.

But since the rules require a question: What was the most surreal yet mundane experience you had in the sandbox?

itspeterj2 karma

Man, that's a great question. One time we lost a raven in a poppy field, so our platoon was spun up to get it. On scoring day. We ended up pulling hands across afghanistan for this stupid ass airplane while getting absolutely SOAKED in opium. I bet the street value of my uniform went up by a million dollars that day, and when I went to wipe the sweat off my face, my lips went numb. Our entire platoon was out of it by the time we got back haha.

ENFJPLinguaphile1 karma

What’s the most valuable lesson you’ve learned in your career so far and how do you think you will apply it to your future?

itspeterj2 karma

Great question, and one I reflect on constantly. Right now I think it's this (though it may change in the future. Hopefully it does)

  1. Always improve your position. In combat that can mean getting to cover, digging in a trench, adding defenses, whatever. It doesnnt need to be big, it just has to get better. Clean your weapon, eat a meal, etc, Take the high ground, you name it. It's a vital piece of war fighting.

Take that and apply it to everyday life. No matter where you are and what you're doing, look around and find a way to make one thing better. Learn something new, take a shower, put on real pants, no matter how small just make one thing better and then repeat. Sometimes that one thing can be rest or eating something you enjoy, but improve your position. You'll be amazed how far that gets you

Splattered2471 karma

I thought military guys are a bit limited, how will you make me laugh?

Edit: Good work Edit: I’m a Royal Air Force brat currently nursing my ex (but always will be) wing commander father

itspeterj2 karma

I mean, if you watch me try to get in and out of a sports car, that'll probably make you laugh.

VincentVega_0691 karma

  1. Did you have any contact to soldiers from european countries like Germany during one of your deployments? I am german, grew up around americans since there used to be many US barracks in the Frankfurt area and some of them became really good friends. Never been in the military though and the thing with Germany is that we seem to be very careful when it comes to military interventions due to our past.

  2. Im known for being "the not so serious" guy even when shit hits the fan. My humor helps me deal with a lot of struggles, do you think other than letting off steam with your mates it helped you during stressful and maybe dangerous days while on duty?

PS: english is obviously not my native language but I hope you got what I was saying :-)

itspeterj3 karma

I had a lot of friends that got sent to Germany and was always jealous of their time there! I wish I could have gone for a few years.

I think humor definitely has a lot of benefits beyond stress relief. I think it helps you feel a bit more in control of situations in some ways too, you know? Like I can't impact what happened but I can impact how it affects me and that's powerful