Comedian Ashley Gutermuth peforms relatable bits about her life as a military spouse, runner and animal lover.

Comedian Ashley Gutermuth peforms relatable bits about her life as a military spouse, runner and animal lover. (@photoladyphotos)

Comedian Ashley Gutermuth’s last name is often mispronounced “gutter mouth,” which is neither an accurate pronunciation nor a description of her stand-up routine.

Gutermuth is a clean comic who does relatable bits about her life as a military spouse, runner and animal lover. She pokes fun at her high-and-tight haircut and seems to relish confusing people about her gender.

In one bit, she talks about moving frequently because of her husband’s Air Force career. “My job is convincing people that I have a husband,” she quips.

The military community in Japan can see her perform live this month when the Best Medicine Brigade comedy group tours bases from the snowy northeast to sunny Okinawa.

Gutermuth, named the 2023 Air Force spouse of the year by Armed Forces Insurance, uses her social media presence to highlight issues affecting military families such as food insecurity, spouse unemployment rates and housing.

Gutermuth in 2020 won the “Seinfeld Challenge,” judged by Jerry Seinfeld in an episode of “The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon.” She has appeared alongside comedians Mark Curry, Chris Kattan and Steve Hytner, among others.

Comedian Ashley Gutermuth peforms relatable bits about her life as a military spouse, runner and animal lover.

Comedian Ashley Gutermuth peforms relatable bits about her life as a military spouse, runner and animal lover. (Ashley Gutermuth)

The Best Medicine Brigade — founder and Army veteran Robin Phoenix, Christian Johnson and Gutermuth — kicks off the first performance of its Japan tour on Feb. 7 at Yokota Air Base in western Tokyo. The Brigade strives to bring “heal-arious” comedy to military members who need a dose of fun.

Gutermuth spoke to Stars and Stripes through Zoom on Jan. 17 about the upcoming tour. Her responses have been edited for length and clarity.

Stars and Stripes: Have you ever been to Japan?

Gutermuth: I’ve never been to that part of the world at all. So, it’s a whole new thing. I want to make a video like, “Hey, how do I behave?” because I don’t want to do anything culturally wrong. I’m already a little odd, so I don’t want to cause any diplomatic issues.

How did you meet your husband?

We’ve been together for a long time now. We were friends and met that way, and ever since, I’ve been trying to get him fired with my videos. He’s 20 years older than me, and sometimes people think that’s a lie.

They also think my last name is Guttermouth. Then they think I swear. I don’t even swear when I do comedy! I used to have trouble where people said, “we can’t book you because you’ll be too edgy.” I’m really not edgy.

How do you keep a straight face with your strange food combination videos like where you eat sardines on Twinkies?

Thousand-mile stare, that’s what you have to have. I’ve always done weird things like that. It really makes me laugh to do something strange with a completely straight face. I make those videos to make me laugh. One of the things that ended up tasting good was air-fried cheese with banana. A cheesy banana is good. I don’t know why it’s good, but it works.

Are the bits that you do about your husband true?

Mostly true. It’s mostly me making fun of him for wanting to go to bed early.

Well, does he have to get up early for PT?

No, he’s in the Air Force. They don’t do that.

Were you always funny? How did you get into comedy?

I always wanted to be a comedian. When I was little, I only paid attention to comedy. It was all I liked. I love British comedy. And then as I got older, I did plays and acting. I bought myself a camcorder and made silly little clay videos. I’m always trying to get attention.

If you weren’t a comedian, what would you be?

Just trouble. I would be scamming people. Actually, I’ve had a lot of jobs. I went to school for aviation safety, and I went to an FAA thing, and I looked around and said, I will not fit in here. This will not work.

Veterans message me saying they’re getting out; they’d like to have a side hustle doing comedy. And I tell them, it’s going to cost you money for years until you can get people to come to your shows. You’re paid in chicken wings — if you’re lucky. A lot of it, you’re paid in stage time. You drive three hours to talk to people for 10 minutes who probably hate you, you’re paid nothing and then you drive home. And that’s what comedy is.

Stars and Stripes wrote last year about your efforts to combat food insecurity in military families. What other military issues do you speak about?

My main interests are dealing with food insecurity, mental health and suicide prevention. I work with Stronghold Food Pantry. Monica Bassett is an Army spouse, and she created this food pantry.

We’re trying to take it all over the world and spread awareness about this issue of people not being able to afford food — one in four military families — and to help people in whatever ways we can.

Most of the people who follow me online are not military. They’re people who support the military. So, if I can get them to understand that there are these barriers military members have to continue to serve in the military, and if we can help them a bit, they will stay in and the country is stronger for it.

Why do you think that military spouses are good subjects for your comedy?

I think they like that I talk about things that people don’t really talk about. Yeah, there are the pens in the dryer, but there’s also the food insecurity piece.

Or I’m talking about privatized housing and how that’s problematic. It’s soul-crushing when you start to learn about the bureaucracy behind all of the problems we have and how seemingly impossible it is to change.

But you just have to set it on fire. You have to have no awareness of how it may hurt your own job prospects. I post on LinkedIn. I never want a real job again. No one will hire me for anything serious. But you have to blow it up.

Are you more comfortable performing for military audiences?

There are less acronyms that I have to explain to military audiences.

Are there any challenges in performing for a military audience?

What’s funny is if you go to perform on a military base, they say, all right, it has to be clean humor. But if you talk to anybody in the military, you realize that this is the darkest person I’ve ever met in my life. They’re using the f-bomb every other word. So God forbid I say anything like that into a microphone. But I’m a clean comedian anyway.

Best Medicine Brigade

Location: Yokota Air Base, Feb. 7; Misawa Air Base, Feb. 8; Naval Air Facility Atsugi, Feb. 9; CATC Fuji, Feb. 10; Camp Zama, Feb. 11; Torii Station, Feb. 14; Camp Shields; Feb. 15; Camp Kinser, Feb. 16; Camp Hansen, Feb. 17.

Hours: Showtime is at 7 p.m. for all bases except Camp Shields (7:30 p.m.) and Camps Kinser and Hansen (8 p.m.).

Prices: Admission (adults only) is free.

Dress: Casual

Information: Online:

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Claire Jenq joined Stars and Stripes in 2022 as a digital editor and is based out of Japan. She has a Master of Business Administration degree with a focus on marketing from the University of Toledo and a Bachelor of English degree from the Ohio State University.

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