I had the good fortune to catch comedian Brad Loekle's hilarious set the last night on the recent Atlantis 25th Anniversary Cruise aboard Royal Caribbean's exquisite Anthemof the Seas. And, because he's such a stand-up guy (see what I did there?), I thought it would be fun to play a round of QUEST10NS with him:
1. Where did you go on your last trip? My last personal trip was to Palm Beach, Florida to help raise money for COMPASS, their local LGBT center that does a lot of work with LGBT youth. My last big gay adventure was on the Anthem of the Seas in May for Atlantis's 25th Anniversary year! It was gaymazing!
2. What is your favorite memory from it?
My favorite memory from Atlantis's Anthem cruise was one beautiful morning when my friend, DJ Abel Aguilera spun the most beautiful sunrise set. Some people were still up dancing from the night before, others woke up just to go to that moment. It was as close to magic as you can get on earth.
3. What's your funniest travel story ever? Well that I might have to save for my book! But one of the funniest happened in Ibiza. A group of us were headed to the massive nightclub party, SuperMarché. To get to the club you have to walk down a very steep cobblestone street with absolutely no street lights to guide your way. I was in the back of a long line of my friends when, what it turns out was a willow branch, brushed the shoulder of the girl in front of me. When she swatted it away, my mind immediately thought she'd just been attacked by bees (I'd had some wine with dinner) and I began to panic and yell "BEES! BEEEES!" and start running down the hill. This caused a general panic, as all my friends, arms flailing, followed me, tumbling down the hill like Jill after jack. When we got into the front door of the club, still screaming and swatting at imaginary insects, all the locals looked at us like we were the craziest, worst Americans on earth. We still have a good laugh about that one!
4. What city's residents have the best sense of humor? I'm a little biased toward New York City. I grew up there as a comedian and, though they can be tough and won't take any crap from a weak comedian, they also make a weak comic a strong comic very quickly. Plus it's very hard to "offend" a New Yorker. New Yorker's seem to be immune to the cultural virus of "being offended."
5. Where have you encountered your toughest crowd? I'd say it's not a place so much as a type of space and event. Some events and spaces just shouldn't have stand up comedy in them. For instance, if you run a sports bar and 99% of your customers come there to watch sports, don't produce a comedy night out of the blue. And if you do... maybe turn the 137 TVs around the comedian off.
6. What's one recommendation/piece of advice you would offer someone going on his first gay cruise? I get asked this a lot and my answer is always the same. I know that everyone walks into their first cruise worrying that it's just going to be an amped up version of all the worst aspects of our community. That it will be super clique-y, judgmental, all about having abs and having sex, etc. But the truth is, it's really the opposite. It's the gay summer camp we all would have killed for as kids. So my advice is to make sure you're luggage gets on the ship but that your baggage gets left at the dock. Once you put down your phone and say hello, you'll find the greatest gay experience you've ever had all around you.
7. Sea sickness: totally queasy or iron stomach? Iron clad. I've been through a few hurricanes and I'm the only one doing shots at the bar while it's happening!
8. Favorite ship you've been on? Smaller ship: Oceania Marina. I'd like to retire and just live on that ship for the next 40 years. Larger ship: Anthem of the Seas. Royal Caribbean has broken some amazing new ground with this class and style of ship and cruising.
9. Favorite all-time port of call? I hope I haven't found it yet. Many ports still to go! But Naples is an all time favorite, as I always spend the day yachting around Capri with friends. Some of my favorite memories come from those afternoons. And my favorite actual port itself is probably any of the Society Islands of French Polynesia. Bora Bora is the most famous but the lesser known ones around that area are equally magnificent.
10. Where will you go on your next adventure? In mid-July I head off to Europe for the rest of the summer. First I'll be the hostess with the mostess on RSVP's Legendary Danube River Cruise aboard the Avalon Expression. We'll sail from Budapest to Prague, with nearly all the stops being new to me, which is always exciting. Then I'll be performing for Atlantis Events on both their Mediterranean cruises. First the Venice to Barcelona cruise and then the Barcelona to Athens cruise. And though Europe tends to be my favorite place to travel around, the truth is just being on board the ships with thousands of my brothers and sisters from all around the world is still, for me, the best part of these cruises.
For more Brad Loekle, check out some of his NSFW stand-up from Logo's Aspen Gay Ski Weekend:
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