We had the good fortune of connecting with Brad Loekle and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Brad, other than deciding to work for yourself, what was the single most important decision you made that contributed to your success?
From the moment I got into comedy, I knew I couldn’t listen to all the “little voices” in show business who will always suggest you conform or fit in to a mold. Though we all know that actors suffer the pit falls of type casting, the truth is many other types of artists are pressured to fit into similar boxes. Whether it’s the style and subject of your material or even your looks… something one would assume wouldn’t play a leading role in comedy; there will always be pressure to be a bit of a carbon copy of someone else. Someone, most likely, already making the powers that be a lot of money. It’s best to not let that get in your head (though easier said than done). We’re seeing a real coming of age for LGBTQ+ people in comedy. The birth of a new and vibrant generation. When I got into comedy 20 years ago, being a gay person in the standup world was like being a unicorn that tap danced: no one knew what to do with us. I was told regularly that, though I was funny and original, no one knew what to do with “your kind” of originality… and so securing work was more of an uphill battle. But that’s the thing about being an artist… and about working for yourself… you have to hold to your vision. You have to steer your ship and be true to the stars you see in the sky. I’m definitely a more successful comedian… in all ways… because I didn’t take the supposed “easy path” of conformity.
Alright, so let’s move onto what keeps you busy professionally?
The thing I’m most proud of is that everything I’ve done and everything I have in my life and career I got and did my way. (Not to invoke a Sinatra lyric too heavily). Regardless of the highs and lows of life and work (and everyone has plenty of both… don’t let social media fool you into thinking otherwise), I’ve always lived a life and created work that is entirely my own. I’ve never wanted to be anyone other than myself and I’ve never tried to me… thank the gay gods! If I wanted people to take one thing away from my work and my story it would be that a life lived completely and fully true to your own self is never a bad idea. It is always a good choice to be yourself.
Let’s say your best friend was visiting the area and you wanted to show them the best time ever. Where would you take them? Give us a little itinerary – say it was a week long trip, where would you eat, drink, visit, hang out, etc.
I can’t wait to take anyone to my favorite spots, now that we’re in shouting distance of the world opening again! Well, first and foremost, I’d plan a week of meals. When I moved to LA from NYC, I thought I’d never eat out again. The image of LA, in a New yorker’s eyes, is still that it is some sort of culinary desert. I was thrilled to find out otherwise. So there would definitely be glasses clinked and forks filled at spots like: Mozza, Paradise Cove Cafe, Crossroads Kitchen, and more than a few quick stops at Apollonia’s Pizzeria for THE BEST slices in town. Then we’d have to do “the fruit loop” of gay bar and club hopping. Nightlife is such in important part of gay culture and I’ve missed it so much during the pandemic. So showing the love and living the nightlife would be high on our list. From Akbar to The Abbey, and everywhere in-between. (My heart and my wallet always end up at Micky’s… which has some of my favorite people and memories in it).
Who else deserves some credit and recognition?
I have to give a shout out to creative team and the gaymazing audiences at Atlantis Events. For the last 10 years I’ve been able to travel the world, and hone my craft in the most wonderfully creative environment. They put together these fabulous charter cruises and resort weeks where I’m surrounded by members of my own community from around the country and the globe. I get to work, and play, along side some of the most amazing artists from all sorts of disciplines: theater, music, drag, comedy, circus arts… you name it! I get to collaborate and create with a spectrum of artists that I never would be able to at an ordinary comedy club. I’ve grown so much as a comedian, and as a person, in this environment and I can’t wait to get back to it now that the world is beginning to open up again!