Out comedians Brad Loekle and Julie Goldman are teaming up for an evening of comedy Feb. 3 at the Rrazz Room.
Both comics, regularly seen on TV and stages around the country, originally lived on the East Coast for many years before moving to the West Coast. We wondered what on earth would lure them away from balmy California climates and cruise-ship performances, and back to the bitter cold on our side of the country.
“Julie Goldman and I lost a bet and we have to go,” Loekle joked (we hope). “Julie and I tour together a lot and I’m spending the next two months doing events in and out of the Southeast and the Caribbean and she’s going to be doing some shows in the Northeast. And we’ve been dying to get back up to the Northeast because she moved away from there 10 years ago and I moved away five years ago. So we just decided to do some shows together while we’re on the East Coast.”
Loekle said that while his approach to making audiences laugh is different from Goldman’s, their individual performance styles mesh well on the same bill.
“What I love about her style is that we both have a real intensity and energy that is different but it plays off each other really well,” he said. “We’re both loud, energetic, over-the-top aggressive people. Most of the lesbian comedians I work with — who I love and adore — are in the Ellen [DeGeneres] vein of the calm, observational, matter-of-fact vein. What I love about Julie’s is the ferocious nature of her personality and her comedy.”
We asked if either of them is going harder on political observations in their jokes these days.
“I think we’re both doing the same as we ever did,” Loekle said. “I’m probably doing it a little bit more. I’m a very political person in my personal life. I’m very socially involved and have been my whole life. So I tend not to talk about it a lot on stage because I want some time away from it and because a lot of my material is autobiographical, so it’s not driven by hot topics. It’s driven by personal experience.
“Julie has always been more about talking about the pulse of the culture. I don’t think she’s doing more of it. It’s just [that] people are perking up their ears more just because of the extreme nature of the social climate we live in now. Neither of us are comedians who avoid anything but [we] haven’t suddenly become social critics that we weren’t before.”
Both Loekle and Goldman perform for LGBT and mainstream audiences. Loekle said that while audiences in general are more accepting these days of gay and lesbian comedians, the industry itself still likes to corral sexual and ethnic minorities into themed comedy shows.
“Audiences accept it more than the venues,” he said. “If you look at clubs in particular across the country, in a lot of places, you see black comedians or a black comedy night — the same for lady comedians and gay shows. They still tend to compartmentalize the audiences but if you talk to most gay comedians, they’ll tell you it’s much easier to perform for a straight audience than a gay audience. We’re a novelty to a straight audience. To them, it’s fun and different and anything we talk about regarding our culture is a Jacques Cousteau peek into a different world. Gay audiences tend to be extremely judgmental of gay artists from the point of view of, ‘Do you represent me? Do I want you representing me?’ There’s a whole psychology to ‘gay’ in comedy that is so much more complex, [whereas] heterosexual audiences just go to a comedy show to have a good time.”
Loekle added that his mainstream TV-show appearances have attracted a significant demographic of fans outside the LGBT community, and sometimes fans with differing political and social views as well.
“I probably pull a little more of the other side of the aisle because of the years that I was on TruTV,” he said. “I was on a show for eight years called ‘World’s Dumbest,’ which pulled a very heterosexual, heteronormative, Middle-American crowd. And they were big fans of me and I’m big fans of them. Obviously, the political climate has polarized a lot of them. I definitely tend to have more of that demographic in my audience. I haven’t experienced any issues with them and I don’t think Julie has. There are also a lot of quiet gay people who didn’t vote along progressive lines in this election. I think those people get really quiet when they are in a room full of strangers and understandably so.
‘It’s a volatile time we live in. But I don’t, in recent memory, remember a time when I’ve had somebody stand and said ‘Fuck you! Trump’s our president. Suck it up!’ Luckily we don’t draw that kind of crowd and frankly, in most comedy clubs, that kind of behavior went out a long time ago. So, for better or worse, we don’t get those moments like we used to 10 or 15 years ago.”
Speaking of “World’s Dumbest,” we asked Loekle if being in a society where people are voluntarily eating Tide Pods means the show will probably never go off the air.
“We can make episodes of that show for eternity,” he said. “Humans have no predators anymore except for ourselves. We’re not thinning the herd and people are out there doing the dumbest things. People are doing things that we knew were dumb 50 years ago, like not vaccinating your children so they don’t die. There is no shortage when I look at my phone in the morning of something dumb that happened the night before while I was asleep.”
Julie Goldman and Brad Loekle perform 8 p.m. Feb. 3 at The Rrazz Room, 6426 Lower York Road., New Hope. For more information or tickets, call 888-596-1027 or visit www.therrazzroom.com.