Comedy is the best medicine for veterans

What happens when two comedians walk into a virtual podcast studio?

Hilarity ensues as it does when professional comedian and Air Force veteran PT Bratton appears as the special guest on this week’s episode of The American Legion Tango Alpha Lima podcast. Bratton joins fellow comedian and podcast co-host Ashley Gutermuth and co-host Amy Forsythe.

It’s not all jokes, however, as the discussion also includes talk of using comedy to improve mental wellness. Bratton and Gutermuth support The American Legion Be the One mission to end veteran suicide.

“The mission by The American Legion to get behind veteran suicide is one I wholeheartedly support,” he said. “There’s purpose in us being here. And sometimes we lose sight of that. Not everyone is going to be a professional comedian. But I found my purpose in making people laugh.”

They are inspired by the feedback they receive from veterans at their shows. 

“If we can help just a little bit to give people hope, to give them enough to make it another day, I think we’re making a positive impact,” Bratton said. “That’s what keeps me going.”

As founder and CEO of Clean Comedy Connection, Bratton combines his advocacy for comedy as a mental health wellness strategy with producing clean comedy experiences all over the country. He also serves as a comedy instructor with Armed Services Arts Partnership, where he learned the ropes as a comedian 

Just before he was about to get laid off, he went to a comedy show and met a newly minted comedian who went through a comedy boot camp for veterans. 

“It gave me the foundation of joke telling and joke writing,” he said. “It’s been an amazing ride. I’ve even done comedy at the White House. It’s been a blessing.”

Bratton served more than 10 years in the Air Force as a military policeman and special agent with the Office of Special Investigations. He recalled time he spent serving in Japan during the winter.

“They don’t shovel the streets,” he said. “You know how we shovel and put chemicals down to break down the ice? They may shovel it. But if they do, they leave a thin layer of ice. It adds to the adventure.”

While in the Air Force, Bratton was among those who shined a positive light no matter the circumstances. “Sometimes things go wrong and you need someone on the team to help you power through it.”

Additionally, Gutermuth and Forsythe also discuss:

• The importance of employing military spouses.

• The role of influencers as a way to boost recruiting efforts.

The American Legion Blood Donor program, which has been in existence since 1946.

Check out this week’s episode, which is among more than 210 Tango Alpha Lima podcasts available in both audio and video formats here. You can also download episodes on Apple Podcasts, Google Play or other major podcast-hosting sites. The video version is available at the Legion’s YouTube channel.