Stand-up comic, Army reservist sounds off on weekend drill, military’s love of PowerPoint


Stand-up comedian and TikTok star Ben Brainard, also a specialist in the U.S. Army Reserve, recently provided his 1.5 million followers with a hysterical look behind the curtain of virtual battle assemblies — weekend drills — and the military’s undying affinity for PowerPoint presentations.

Brainard explained in the video — while displaying an impressive collection of headgear — how his unit has been using the Defense Department’s Microsoft Teams remote work platform to conduct virtual briefings. The description does not exactly offer a ringing endorsement for those in charge of the presentations.

“[Virtual battle assembly] means I just wake up one weekend a month at 8:00 a.m., log into Microsoft Teams, turn my phone on mute, and go back to sleep,” said Brainard, providing valuable advice for would-be shammers across the military’s reserve components.

Watch @Ben_Brainard address the worst part of being in the military — the misguided abuse of PowerPoint presentations — while wearing 18 million hats

— Observation Post (@MilitaryTimesOP) October 19, 2020

During one such battle assembly, in which he remained awake, Brainard experienced the military’s infliction of death by Powerpoint.

“It was twelve hours of PowerPoints — and not like fun PowerPoints or ones with pictures,” he exclaimed, adding that the briefings boiled down to “Microsoft Word … on slides!”

Brainard then recounted the content of one specific anti-terrorism training that included a note about skyjackings.

“In the event of a skyjacking, try to understand the skyjacker.

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Understand? He’s jacking the sky! What else is there to understand?… He and I don’t want this plane to land in the same spot,” he said.

We don’t get it either, Ben. But, first sergeant called –– he needs to make sure the company shows up as 100 percent on anti-terrorism training in his briefing to the battalion command sergeant major next week.

Despite the jokes, Brainard was quick to reassure his chain of command in a tweet that they still have his undivided attention.



Davis Winkie is a reporting intern at the Military Times. His writing has appeared in The New Republic, Task & Purpose, VICE, and others. He previously worked as a military historian, and he is a human resources officer in the Army National Guard.

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