This year we’re doing something a little bit outside of the box for the Travel Issue because, to be honest, if I had to figure out a new twist to make New Hope, Rehoboth, Atlantic City or Provincetown sound new and interesting for your hard-earned vacation time and travel dollars, I was going to start day-drinking and not in the good way.
So, me being a stand-up comic, a low-wattage light bulb of an idea lit up in my brain. Why don’t I ask some my LGBT comic friends I’ve met on the road where they like to go when they have time to get away?
It’s a genius idea, right? I know.
Here’s the thing you need to know about comedians: We travel a lot and usually not in a glamorous, jet-set style. We generally don’t have a bottomless pit of funds to spend on vacations, making us oh-so-resourceful when it comes time to kick back and relax. So whom better to ask about destinations that usually don’t get a lot of hype?
First up was Philadelphia-based comedian, art instructor, all-around journeyman and fried-chicken connoisseur Jess Carpenter (jesscarpentercomedian.com).
“I am such a shitty gay,” Carpenter protested when I asked him where he likes to go. “I don’t do gay vacations; I just snowboard out west and camp.”
Perfect! That’s what I’m looking for. Let’s hear it.
“I like Salt Lake City for snowboarding and Breckenridge [Colo.] because you can get pipe there,” he said. “It’s legal and you can go snowboarding. I like going up to the mountains in the fall. And yeah, there’s some gay stuff, because we can go antiquing on my way out there. [I also like] Strathmere Beach [in South Jersey] in the fall so I can have my dog on the beach. We do a cabin in Michigan in the summer, and [there isn’t] a gay bar in any of these places.”
Carpenter is happily married, so the lack of gay bars on his travel itinerary is completely understandable.
Next, I reached out to Kyle Brownrigg (www.facebook.com/kylebrownriggcomedy), one of the most blisteringly funny rising comedians in Canada operating out of Toronto and Ottawa. Canadians love to travel internationally and Brownrigg is no different, as he proceeded to show up the rest of us with his globetrotting.
“I know I would never go back to Jamaica,” he said. “[It’s] one of the most homophobic places in the world.”
Damn! I could have told you that, Kyle. Do you have any less-horrific travel destinations you’d recommend?
“Probably Italy, [specifically] Rome and Venice, because it’s gorgeous and I fit in very well,” he said. “All Italian men, even if they aren’t gay, they’re gay.”
Wow! OK, time for a disclaimer: The views expressed by the above-mentioned comedian are in no way meant to represent the views of PGN or scientific fact …even though I am pretty sure Brownrigg has done extensive field research to back up his claims.
The biggest treasure trove of travel wit and wisdom came from Jolene Sugarbaker (www.jolenestrailerpark.com), the Washington, D.C.-area comedian, multimedia personality, self-proclaimed “Trailer Park Queen” and alter ego of Jason Saffer. She’s spent the last 24 years entertaining and teaching people how to live on a budget and cook via her award-winning “Trailer Park Cooking Series.”
“My favorite places are kind of odd,” Sugarbaker admitted.
Ooh ... I like odd. Go on, Jolene.
“I love Luray Caverns [luraycaverns.com] and Skyline Caverns [skylinecaverns.com in Virginia] and touring that area,” she said. “I’ve never seen anything like it. Luray Caverns also has a museum attached of antique cars. It’s quite a collection. Skyline Caverns has a museum called American Celebration on Parade, and Shenandoah Caverns offers an up-close look at a unique collection of stunning parade floats, props and stage settings from America’s entertainment and political history. This collection includes parade floats from the Rose Parade, presidential inaugurals and other national celebrations. Children love the playful animation of the floats, while massive floats ‘they’ve only seen on TV’ fascinate adults. It’s bizarre.
“I also love Lancaster,” said Sugarbaker. “There’s a restaurant there, Good ’n Plenty [goodnplenty.com], that serves family-style. You’re seated with other people and you essentially have dinner with strangers. It’s a great way to hear viewpoints in a comfortable setting. In Lancaster, you can also take a scooter tour of all the covered bridges. I’ve always been treated with kindness in Lancaster.”
If you have a chance to see any of these talented performers in action, you won’t be disappointed. And if any of them have inspired you to visit these locations like the joke-slinging, microphone-wielding, comedy spirit animals they are … You’re welcome.