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Episode 1: 99% Dishwasher Safe with Adam Keys

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station description In Stitches is an interview style podcast that explores the humanity in humor. Feat... read more
In Stitches
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Duration: 59:02
On July 14, 2010, Adam Keys was six months into his first tour in Afghanistan when his vehicle hit an improvised explosive device. He was the only one to survive the attack that killed four of his fellow service members. Since then, he's lost three limbs and has undergone 140+ surgeries on his road
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On July 14, 2010, Adam Keys was six months into his first tour in Afghanistan when his vehicle hit an improvised explosive device. He was the only one to survive the attack that killed four of his fellow service members. Since then, he's lost three limbs and has undergone 140+ surgeries on his road to recovery. But he chooses not to be defined by what he's lost.

He chooses to be defined by what he's gained: an indomitable sense of purpose, a deep joy for living, and a killer sense of humor.

In our inaugural episode of In Stitches, hosts PJ Walsh and Sam Pressler sit down with Adam to explore the ups and downs of his journey—and the role humor has played through it all.

The psychologist Esther Perel says that there are two groups of people who experience trauma: those who don't die and those who come back to life. As you'll hear in this episode, Adam has certainly come back to life—and he's living with strength, humility, and jokes.

Credits: Adam Keys (Featured Guest), David Bobrow (Executive Producer), PJ Walsh (Host, Producer), Sam Pressler (Host, Producer), Josiah Day (Researcher), Grace Manno (Designer).

Follow Adam: Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/adamkeys1stepforward/ | Instagram &Twitter: @Comedy_Keys.

Follow PJ: Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/pjwalshlive/ | Instagram: @pjwalshlive
Snippet Transcripts
appreciate that. I think that's a good segregates. My last question that I have, Yeah. I'm wondering if you could share when you met John Oliver before combat to Comedy Show in 2019. Remember we when we knew that we were gonna be meeting John Oliver, right? Like I found out that John Oliver was headlining the show and I was like, Okay, we need to figure out a way to get John Oliver to remember us s. So we were, like, skipping before head were like, What could we do to get John Oliver to remember us? E I sent you a text. That was like, I was like, Do you have any extra prosthetics lying around your house? Yeah. And I said, Do we gotta hand? Let's give him a hand. Could you set me a picture? You sent me a picture of this, like, comically large hand that apparently you put on instead of your like the hook sometimes. Yeah. So Okay, so we flash forward a week were at the show we get to meet with, we get to meet with John Oliver. So we go downstairs the basement of Gotham Comedy Club in New York. We have to, like, wheel you around the building because, like, that's the way New York City. Copy. Close where you have to go through four buildings just to get back to the basement of the building. You were in your car, right? Yeah. So you're So you're in there. I bring John Oliver in. Yeah, we're talking in the in the green room back there. He's asking me some questions. Um, his wife's actually, or at least was an army doctor. And he asked me if I knew some of the guys that went to about three. I said, Yeah, I'm good friends with him. So we had a good report right away. We were chatting. He was asking about my comedy how long I've been doing it. I've just been praising him because I'm sitting in front of John Oliver right now, so I'm just sort of starstruck, But I'm trying to be cool, you know? And as the conversations wrapping up, I said, you're not You're gonna remember Adam Keys and remember a stop for the rest of your life. And I gave him the prosthetic hand. I head off my left, he goes, Are you serious. I can keep this. So I I put my card in the hand and we took a picture together, and then hey, went up to this set right after Nikki Glaser, and then I followed him, which was, uh it still gets me fired up, man. It was just a crazy night. Still still a crazy night. My favorite part was you were so smooth, like, out of nowhere. Just like because you you you didn't sell is what you were like. Mr. Oliver were just so, so grateful for your support. I want you to have this and and it's you did a pause on. Then you proceeded to rip your hand off like it was it. It was like you were very slow and very calm. And then you rip your hand off of your arm and you put it in his face on e Don't know if you meant he jumped back. Like, literally, like, jumped back into the chair. E just p. J. When you talk about comedic timing, the delivery on that probably the best delivery I've ever seen. That was one of the best nights of my life. I got them coming club and thank you. Face that for for the invitation. I'll go back anytime. Awesome man.
this was in the middle of night. We weren't even awake when it happened, but obviously one truck was destroyed, so we had to move some shocks. The next day, we tried to leave and go back to our five and and refit and and drag this destroyed vehicle back. It wasn't gonna well, actually left that morning. And about a half an hour into the mission, they called us back and they said there was, ah, same storm coming in. And if you were to go through it and something happens, we can't come, you know, help. We can send reinforcement. We can't do anything because we weren't able to see. So anyway, we got just delayed another day. But then we finally left the very next day, July 14, 2010, And, uh, because of that fan storm, there was a lot of there was no aerial surveillance for, you know, roughly 12 hours. There was a lot of time for the enemy to do things. We had quite a bit of intel before we went on that mission. We had even more than we were going back. We knew what we were looking for, but we also knew to expect a lot of other things. We know the areas that we already had problems because we had been there roughly seven months now and went to these villages a couple times. But there was reports of a of a very, very large idea out there, very large. And, you know, we wanted to make sure we found it. And every and even this one, we wanted to find everything. We wanted to find it all. We didn't want anyone to get hurt when we came up to this village. And, uh, I was in the lead truck because my truck was destroyed. That we had. We had to bring a truck from the rear of the convoy, which was the platoon sergeant struck. We had to leave four guys back at the FOP. So we're actually shorthanded now. Even nobody was killed. We had to leave people to explain that room for him. They were gonna fly back. So we're shorthanded, Justo, To make the story short, I guess. And we get to this village. They weren't very friendly to us, and we knew that. But we had to go through it because of all the until we had and all the things that could happen. So I was in the dismount team that day. I was in the lead trucks on me, and Specialist Johnson were in the lead truck. We're gonna hop out and meet two guys from the truck behind us and goes a four man, you know, fire team through this village and get what we could and get the until we could and, you know, get back safely. Um, all the intel we had, you know, we thought we were sitting pretty good, and also, you know, for a while that we were. But then when the decision was made, Okay, Officially, we're gonna go to you. We said, Roger that. We get off the mike. I was fist bumping everyone else in the vehicle. As soon as I opened the door, I didn't even get my foot on the ground. The i d went off, and you know, that's the last I remember, um, up until I woke up, which was two months later, um, in the hospital stateside. First of all, thank you for sharing that, because that not easy. And it's, um it's not easy to hear because I know you personally. We've gotten to know each other, and Sam is gonna know And, um, I think is important for people here, so, I mean, just for lead talking us through just to that is, uh we appreciate that. Now, if I thank you. And thanks for listening. Uh, maybe before I go even further just to say that that I That's the day that I You know, the day I remember opening that door from my leg out the door, Then the i d went off. That's the last I remember. But that's not the end of the story, because obviously, we were blown up, right? And we my my platoon was there and they had to come see if we need a triage what we needed, right? So, you know, this is the hard part of the story for me. We've already lost, especially Scott Andrews, three weeks prior. But you know, this day it was five of us in that truck counting me, Um, the other four guys, you know did did not survive that. Unfortunately, and I'm going to say their names quickly, if you don't mind. Um, Sergeant Chase Stanley from California. Sergeant Zachary Fisher from Missouri, specialist Matthew Johnson from Minnesota and a specialist, Jesse Reid, who was my high school friend that I mentioned earlier in this podcast. Um, you know, they didn't They didn't survive that one. And, uh, so although I know people can't see me right now, but they'll they'll get a feel for may. I ended up being a triple A Bt and pretty banged up that just didn't I got banged up, but just to be the only one that survived, that one weighs heavily on me. And and even though I look rough from the outside looking at me, I am the luckiest man alive. So, you know, I care that with me, you know, everywhere.
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