Strong Ending

A Journey from Combat to Comedy
4.5 out of 5 stars (4,317 ratings)

Regular price: $5.00

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About This Audible Original

This heartfelt Audible Original, narrated by Emmy and Tony Award-winning actress Mary-Louise Parker, follows three military veterans as they reclaim their most painful memories and turn them into comedy. Michael Garvey, Isaura Ramirez, and Patrick Harth left combat zones to challenge themselves in a stand-up comedy boot camp. As they learn to transform their raw emotions into cathartic experiences, they face the daunting challenge of trying to make an audience laugh with jokes about war, trauma, and mental health. This audio documentary details their move from military service to sharing their searing honesty and gritty strength while performing in front of packed crowds.

Strong Ending also features insight from professional comedians Rob Riggle (The Daily Show, The Hangover) and Maria Bamford (Lady Dynamite, Arrested Development) as it explores the science behind the healing power of comedy and the role of military comedies in popular culture. A perfect mix of wit and warmth, this is an inspiring and honest listen that unearths the anxieties of readjusting to civilian life and the powerful potential of finding light in the dark.

©2018 Audible Originals, LLC (P)2018 Audible Originals, LLC.

Go Behind the Scenes of Strong Ending

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Meet the comedians of Strong Ending

Our favorite moments from Strong Ending

Veteran Michael Garvey's journey to stand-up
Why laughter heals
Rob Riggle on the courage to pursue comedy
Maria Bamford on the power of performance

  • Strong Ending
  • Veteran Michael Garvey's journey to stand-up
  • Strong Ending
  • Why laughter heals
  • Strong Ending
  • Rob Riggle on the courage to pursue comedy
  • Strong Ending
  • Maria Bamford on the power of performance

About the Performer

Actress, writer, and humanitarian Mary-Louise Parker is perhaps best known for her acclaimed portrayal of suburbanite turned drug dealer Nancy Botwin in the hit television series Weeds, a role that earned her a Golden Globe in 2006 in addition to nominations for three additional Golden Globes, three Emmys, and two SAG Awards. Her other television appearances include the beloved miniseries Angels in America, for which she won an Emmy and a Golden Globe, and much-adored political drama The West Wing. Alongside small screen roles, Parker has enjoyed box office success in films such as RED, Fried Green Tomatoes, and Red Dragon. She is also a successful stage actress, having won a Tony and a Drama Desk Award for her performance in Proof, in addition to celebrated turns in Prelude to a Kiss, Heisenberg, and Reckless. As a writer, Parker was a staff contributor to Esquire magazine for over a decade and her work has appeared in publications varying from The New York Times to InStyle. Her book of letters, Dear Mr. You, was released in print and in audio in 2015. She is also an avid activist for the LGBTQ+ community and has been recognized for her efforts by GLAAD, Out Magazine, and the LGBT Community Center of New York.

Also Featuring

Maria Bamford is an actress and comedian. She stars in the semi-autobiographical comedy series Lady Dynamite, co-created by Mitch Hurtwitz (Arrested Development) and Pam Brady (South Park). She has also had recurring roles in critically acclaimed sitcoms Arrested Development and Fresh Off the Boat. She is the creator and star of Maria Bamford: The Special Special Special! and the cult-adored web series The Maria Bamford Show. Bamford is the first female comic to have two Comedy Central Presents specials and in 2014, she received the American Comedy Award for Best Club Comic. She has also starred in The Comedians of Comedy and The Comedians of Comedy: The Movie, alongside comics such as Patton Oswalt and Zach Galifianakis. An award-winning voice actress, she has been featured on a multitude of animated series, including BoJack Horseman, Adventure Time, The Legend of Korra, and WordGirl.

Also Featuring

Rob Riggle is an actor, comedian, and veteran. He’s a familiar face to fans of blockbuster comedies such as The Hangover, Step Brothers, and 21 Jump Street. He also served as a correspondent on The Daily Show with Jon Stewart and as a featured player on Saturday Night Live. Riggle’s other film credits include The Other Guys, 22 Jump Street, Dumb and Dumber To, Night School, 12 Strong, and Midnight Sun. He is also a celebrated voice actor, lending his voice to animated hits such as The Lorax and Hotel Transylvania. As he was breaking into comedy, Riggle was still on active duty with the United States Marine Corps, which he initially joined at the age of nineteen. Rising through the ranks, he served in a variety of countries, including Albania, Kosovo, Liberia, and Afghanistan. Riggle retired as a Lieutenant Colonel in 2013, after a combined 23 years of service (nine years active duty, 14 years in the reserves). He has earned more than 22 medals and ribbons.

What members say

Average Customer Ratings

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Favorite Member Selection so far

Wow I was both laughing and touched from this production on wounded and traumatized vets using stand up to heal themselves. Felt like a shot of empathy.
Nothing bad to say. Good narration, unique topic, good balance of narration, interviews, and the live recordings from the stand up show.

28 of 28 people found this review helpful

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Really wonderful. Warm, but not mushy. Funny. Insightful

Great energy. Very enjoyable and emotionally informative. If you’ve ever found comfort in humor when life was too much, you’ll like this.

Mary Louise Parker is a great narrator. I was a bit concerned because, though she is a terrific actress, sometimes she can mumble. But here she was clear as a bell.

15 of 15 people found this review helpful

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  • John King
  • Newbury Park, Ca United States
  • 11-07-18

Audible, thank you for giving this out!

I was a very lucky man and spent my time in the Army during a small window of no shooting, back in the mid 70's.. Post Vietnam letdown I guess.

Hearing these vets let go of the pain in this way is totally inspiring.
Audible, you done good!

11 of 11 people found this review helpful

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  • Ed
  • Tampa, FL United States
  • 11-02-18

Vulnerable Laughter

Amazing stories of healing through laughter. Healing comes with strength gained by sharing our pain in a way that it can be laughed at.

10 of 10 people found this review helpful

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  • Bjorn
  • Morristown, NJ
  • 11-04-18

Healing Through Comedy

Healing through comedy is something the whole world should do, regardless of what field we come from.

18 of 19 people found this review helpful

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  • Kingsley
  • Henely Brook, Australia
  • 11-01-18

Battling PTSD with Comedy

What if the best way to combat PTSD is to give veterans a microphone and get them to perform stand up comedy? That is the premise of this short documentary.

There are jokes, and stand up comedy, in here but that is not the bulk of this. It is about mental health. It's an important, and sometimes heavy, topic lightened by some mixed in comedy.

'Strong Ending' tells the story of several veterans who when returning from the front were diagnosed with PTSD, and the joined a comedy workshop to work through the PTSD. they talk about how it has helped. It's not a cure all, but it helps them discuss their issues and release built up pressure. They speak to Doctors and Psychologists about the effects of PTSD and why comedy is an effective release.

While it is narrated by actress Mary-Louise Parker, it is as much interviews as her narration. Interviews with comedians, interviews with doctors and psychologists. There is music and sound effects. The whole thing is well put together. The live sections of stand up comedy, which is not significant, is generally lower quality but that is to be expected for live recording from small comedy clubs. But the general mixing and quality of the audio, as well as Parker's narration is great.

34 of 37 people found this review helpful

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Very moving

This was an interesting and insightful audible original. I enjoyed that they told the stories of the veterans and how they cope with their trauma. I enjoyed the fact that they proved that laughter can be the best medicine. It was a behind the scenes of comedians with traumatic stories to tell.

16 of 17 people found this review helpful

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Beautiful.

This is a beautiful glimpse into the lives, and hearts, of Veterans.

The courage to just do it, after what each has experienced, is awe inspiring.

The personal transformation they speak of, breathtaking.

To serve and, literally, fight for this Country is, in itself, remarkable - but, to survive it - the after - and walk the walk of a civilian, and continue to live, and heal - is phenomenal.

#Courage #Tagsgiving

I fell in love with each story. Smiled and cried, like the Military Mom I am, wishing I could hug them each long and hard.

Listen. Very worth your time.

7 of 7 people found this review helpful

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Good Medicine :)

Wish they had that program around here. As a Vet with PTSD, I seem to be the only one laughing at myself. People tend to walk the long way around when they notice this (or get a whiff of me) and I respond - with all due seriousness, "It was funny!" - (in my head) and then I realize that I can't remember what I heck "I" was laughing at. Now, at this point, I'm just laughing at them! - or,.. that's what I thought I was doing. Hey, I cudda gotten upset, like I used to (for the rude interruption of my comedic-flow) but sometimes "they" just don't get it,... and it's all good - I still got paid. Straight-Hundo ~ yo! Service Connected!!! and that junks copy- righted. All Rights Reserved. The use of any, all & afore mentioned words or the likeness thereof is hereby "irregal" & against da' law & a 10,000 lb Sweaty Stinkin'/Freakin'Siverback Gorilla Will hunt you down & smash yo' unimaginative & pathetic, plagiaristically - swole head,... forthright. Thank you for listening :) Great!!! Now, I'm late for my Warrior Yoga at the VA. Anyway?,... whatever!

7 of 7 people found this review helpful

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Such a great story!

So glad these vets found a positive coping mechanism. Book was well- written and easy to follow.

5 of 5 people found this review helpful