Brad Loekle is going to be on this season's Last Comic Standing, which premieres July 22 at 9 p.m. on NBC. He was nice enough to answer my questions about season nine of the show, and about his views and ideas pertaining to gay superheroes (hopefully, LGBT characters will be more commonly portrayed in big budget action and adventure films, and then we can just call them "superheroes").
Fun fact: when I Googled "Brad Loekle Superhero," the title photo of this article is what came up, along with the one below.
Q. Do you feel a big budget film featuring a gay superhero would be empowering to the LGBT community?
A. I do. So long as it was a decent one. No one wants Ben Affleck’s Daredevil to also have the burden of being gay lol. But I’d love to see Batman get into a little BDSM. But seriously, I can remember the only images of gay men I saw on TV when I was growing up was gay men dying of AIDS in the streets. Literally. So to have gay male heroes, be they “super” or otherwise, will always be important.
Q. Do you have any ideas about existing heroes or villains you'd want to see represented as LGBT on the big screen?
A. Well, since “The Avengers” was a big hit I’d love to see the “Young Avengers” make it to the screen in some way, shape or form. And you’d be hard pressed to make that series a film or a TV show without all the gays in it. I mean you can’t swing a cat without hitting someone or something queer and THAT’S gaymazing!
Q. Would you be interested in playing a superhero or villain, regardless of the character's sexual or gender orientation? If so, what would you personally bring to the role?
A. I’d LOVE to be a villain. Most actors will tell you it’s always more fun to play the villain, especially in this genre. And I’ve always been a man of extremes so let’s make me a brilliant F-M transgender villain who’s waging war on religion and the GOP! The trouble is most of the super heroes would probably secretly cheer that villain on! I’d be the Dexter Morgan of the superhero genre.
Q. As for Last Comic Standing, do you know if the audience will be participating in the selection process (as in the past), or if it will be limited to the judges (as in last season)?
A. The audience, both in the studio and at home, will not be voting on this season. Last season the show really changed a lot and I know most comics feel it was also very much for the better. When Wanda Sykes took over the show she really refocused it to be about the art of comedy and the work of real comedians rather than being about a sort of “reality” competition. I love all my fans and viewers but sometimes when we can vote on these shows we vote for who we think is cute rather than who we think will make a great comedian, singer, dancer, etc. Though there were times during the competition where I think we would have all told you it would have been easier to be judged by all of America than by the three comedy icons deciding our fates.
Q. Having seen Jamie Kennedy's documentary, Heckler, I am very interested in how comedians deal with the ups and downs of developing their careers. Have you experienced difficulties with audiences, and if so, how have you dealt with it?
A. I have to say, actual heckling has gone down in the 10+ years I’ve been doing standup. Though the amount of people who are “offended” seems to have gone up dramatically. It’s an odd juxtaposition, really. I actually have fun when heckling happens because if you handle it correctly, they can’t win. Audiences will always eventually turn on a heckler so you just wait for that moment to happen and then capitalize on it. It’s a classic situation of giving someone enough rope to hang him or herself. Comics only ever seem to get in trouble when they care about what audiences and hecklers think. I really don’t. I mean I hope you like my work, but I didn’t make it just for you. I made it for me. You can take it our leave it. And, for me, that’s how you always win an audience and a fan and how you never lose out to a heckler or a hater.
Q. Is there anything you'd like to share about working with this season's judges, individually or as a group?
A. I love being able to perform for Keenan, Norm, and Roseanne. I mean, I’m 37 so these three people whom I truly grew up on, and in many ways, grew up because of their work. And I think for all of us competing it was also a great lesson in how comedy is experienced totally differently by every single person. Here are three legends of comedy, but now they are also audience members. They are there taking in your work just like anyone else. And different things excited or disappointed different judges. So you really have to accept, as a comedian, that you can only “do you”. You have to be completely and totally your own individual writer and performer and then let the chips fall where they may. There is no such thing as a universally loved joke. And I think I “believed” in that idea going in, but working with these three amazing comedians, and also with Wanda… I believed it then, I KNOW it now.
A really big, genuine thank you to Brad Loekle. Not only did he answer all my questions, he did so via email, thereby practically writing this article for me!