Who knew that joining the Army would lead toward a career in standup comedy?
Maj. Jody Fuller definitely didn’t have that in his plans.
But, nevertheless, he has been successful on this career-path and is bringing his show to The Summit next month.
The Opelika native, who served three tours in Iraq, was named “one of the 15 Southern stand-up comedians that will make you laugh ’til you cry” by “It’s a Southern Thing,” and GI Jobs Magazine listed him as “One of 15 Veterans taking the comedy world by storm.”
“I was always the funny guy growing up,” Fuller said.
It was a strange route, though, he took to the stage. After high school, he enlisted in the Army and served four years as a medic. He then enrolled at Auburn-Montgomery and graduated with a degree in marketing/business management in August 2001.
A month later Fuller’s world – and everyone else’s – changed.
“After 9/11, I decided to go back into the Army and was accepted at OCS (officer candidate school),” he said. “I was going to go through OCS at Fort Benning.”
This is when the comedy bug bit.
“Before I had to report, I went to an open mike (comedy show) in Birmingham,” he said. “‘I like this’ I thought.
“I left for the Army and did some comedy for OCS at Fort Benning.”
And then Fuller took his act on the road, so to speak.
“I was assigned to Fort Lewis in June 2003 and did some open mikes in Seattle,” he said. His first deployment to Iraq was from 2003-04 and he did some of his act there and a friend videotaped a performance.
Which led to a gig in Las Vegas when he returned stateside.
“Wendy’s Good Taste Comedy Challenge,” Fuller said. It was a nationwide competition with the top five vote-getters winning a trip to the Comedy Festival in Las Vegas. “I submitted the clip and was voted to the top five.”
In 2006, Fuller left active duty to join the Alabama National Guard and continued to tickle funny bones.
“I was doing a little bit here and a little bit there,” he said.
Fuller’s Dothan-based Guard unit (1203rd Engineer Battalion) was deployed for a year to Iraq in 2007 and his hometown (Opelika) unit, the 111th Ordnance Group (EOD), was deployed in 2010.
“That unit was the Group Headquarters over the 441st Ordnance Battalion out of Huntsville, who was deployed with us at the same time,” he said.
It was here where his fame preceded him.
“I met my home unit commander, a colonel,” Fuller said. “He said, “So, you’re the infamous Capt. Fuller.”
He transferred to the Army Reserve in 2014 and was promoted to major and his comedy also took off.
“It has been bonkers,” Fuller said. “I’ve been blessed to entertain troops around the world.
“I’ve performed in 36 states; I get to see a lot of people.”
Fuller said his comedy style is storytelling as opposed to jokes and one-liners.
“Most everything I say is true, or based on truth, or embellished,” he said. “I can do the same comedy for troops and (civilians).
“It’s a fun style.”