IndyFringe: Terror on the High Seas

By Wendy Carson

In-laws. We all have dealt with them or heard horror stories from friends about theirs at some point in time. Now, imagine being stuck on a 10-day cruise with them, in Alaska of all places. Thus begins Les Kurkendaal’s tale.

Being a liberal, gay, black man from L.A. was hard for his partner’s conservative, gun-toting, Trump-supporting, Bakersfield family to accept, but they have repeatedly made some effort. They brought him along on this cruise to celebrate the patriarch’s 70th birthday. Their original destination was the Mediterranean, but it was deemed to be “too hot!” by his brother-in-law. Therefore, since they’ve all wanted to see Sarah Palin’s home state, Alaska was decided on.

From taking every excursion offered in order to escape them, to making some hilarious new friends on the boat, Kurkendaal’s tale swings from one crazy situation to another. However, even among all of the zany people he meets, and the crazy antics of the family, some sobering situations are also encountered.

The storytelling skill it takes to maneuver all of these issues while still keeping everything compelling is impressive, and Kurkendaal does not fail. Every show he brings here is so much better than the last. In fact, my biggest annoyance was that I wished the show had been longer.

Whether you have seen one of Kurkendaal’s shows before, or are experiencing him and his family for the first time, you should really do yourself a favor and come aboard for some laughs.

One performance left during this Fringe: 3 p.m. Saturday, Aug. 27, at ComedySportz. Get tickets at

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