Shalom Life | July 01, 2014

Exclusive: ‘Comedy Warriors’ on the Healing Power of Humour

Shalom Life chats with Joe Kashnow and Bobby Henline about their moving documentary

By: Ilan Mester

Published: May 19th, 2014 in Culture » Film » Interviews

If you’re looking for a documentary that’s moving, inspiring and above all else funny, look no further than Comedy Warriors: Healing Through Humor. The film, which had its Canadian premiere at last week’s Toronto Jewish Film Festival, focuses on five wounded veterans who are teamed up with some of comedy’s biggest names (Zach Galifianakis, Bob Saget, Lewis Black, B.J. Novak, among others). Together, they come up with a stand-up comedy routine based on their experiences.

Shalom Life chats with two of the veterans, Joe Kashnow and Bobby Henline, about their experience with the comedians, the healing power of comedy and living life to the fullest.

Shalom Life: How did this project come about for you?

Joe Kashnow: I received an email from the Wounded Warrior organization asking to submit a video if I was interested in participating in this project, I did, and was one of the five selected.

Bobby Henline: It was a amazing experience. It really helped me advance in finding my voice and rhythm in my timing.

SL: When did you first realize you had a knack for comedy?

JK: I have always used comedy as a means of dealing with pain and difficulty in my life.

BH: I’ve always been a happy-go-lucky kid. My occupational therapist saw it in me first. I always knew I was funny but never thought I could do stand up. But my OT kept bugging me, so I finally tried it five years ago. Who knew!

SL: How would you describe the comedy crash-course experience?

JK: t was an incredible experience getting to work with the A-list comedians. This was a great way to learn how to perform stand-up.

BH: I found the experience to be very helpful.

SL: You got to work with some of the best writers and comedians out there. What’s the most important thing you learned from them?

JK: The most difficult part for me to learn is to enjoy and allow silence during a show.

BH: The best advice I got was from Lewis Black. He said I was very funny and had good jokes. I just needed to slow down and give more detail, make it more of a conversation.

SL: Who were you most excited to meet?

JK: I was most looking forward to working with Lewis Black.

BH: Zach Galifianakis but I didn’t get to meet him. My schedule didn’t work with his schedule, darn it. Hopefully I’ll still get a chance to meet him or play a weird character in Hangover 20.

SL: What was it like watching the film for the first time?

JK: It was both exciting and nerve wracking to watch the film with a live audience the first time.

BH: Very nervous. Hoping they got the film. That they would cry and then leave laughing and hopeful about life.

SL: Do you have any advice for people hoping to get into comedy?

JK: Go out and get on stage. Keep going up.

BH: Same thing they told us in the film: get up on stage as often as you can and don’t do it for the money, you’ll be disappointed.

SL: What do you hope audiences take out the film?

JK: The goal of the film is to show people that no matter what they are facing there is a way to move forward and that comedy is a great way to help.

BH: I hope they see anything is possible in life and to live it to their fullest.

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