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Name (Age): Bret LaBelle (42)
Current Residence: Dedham, MA
Occupation: Police Sergeant
Hobbies: Going to the gym, golf, improve, and bicycling.
Pet Peeves: Couples who sit on the same side of the booth, people who talk politics and religion at Thanksgiving dinner, and bullies.
Three Words to Describe You: Gregarious, funny/hilarious and caring.
NOTE: Usually I get a good thirty minutes with each contestant before the game starts. However, this season I had to get through all 20 players in only two-and-a-half hours. So, these pieces will be short and hopefully sweet.
Gordon Holmes: We’re on a bit of a tight schedule here, so if you could keep your answers short, I would appreciate it.
Bret LaBelle: I’ve got a hamburger waiting, so I’m on a tight schedule too.
Holmes: I totally respect that.
Holmes: You’re heading into a high-stress situation, but I’d imagine disarming a gunman would also be a high-stress situation. What happened there?
LaBelle: They were trying to subdue a guy. They were yelling that they couldn’t get his left hand. So, I immediately shot my hand under his left hand and he had a loaded Glock 40. The reason I knew it was a Glock right away even though it was under his clothing is because I carry a Glock. I know what it feels like. So, I just held onto it while they were trying to subdue the guy. I had a death grip on the gun and he’s trying to rip my fingers off of the gun so he can get to it. We eventually got it. There’s no easy way to do it. People will fight you like you’ve never been fought before. It took seven to eight guys to get this guy in handcuffs before it was all done.
Holmes: That is literally better than every story I have.
Holmes: My friend Jim is a cop and he talks about helping people and arresting people and I’m like, “Looks like Colby isn’t going to get enough Hall of Fame votes this year.”
LaBelle: (Laughs) It’s embarrassing getting that award. And I didn’t want to get the award because I didn’t do anything that any other cop wouldn’t have done. For whatever reason, they gave it to me. Plenty of other cops would have done it. My friends told me, “There’s plenty of (expletive deleted) you’re going to do that you’re never going to get credit for, so take the award.”
Holmes: You also do improv comedy.
LaBelle: Yes, I took an acting course and the teacher said to me, “You really should go across the street to the improv and check that out.” So, I went to Boston Improv in Cambridge and I fell in love with it.
Holmes: What happens if you have some big plan and somebody negates?
LaBelle: Then I will work with that.
Holmes: They’re not saying, “Yes, and,” they’re saying, “No, but.”
LaBelle: (Laughs) We’ll work with that. But I think it will help me with thinking on my toes and talking. I find it helps me in my job. You’ve done a little improv yourself, right?
Holmes: A little in my day. But whenever they want a place, for some reason I always say, “A dentist’s office.”
LaBelle: I have my go-to too. I just start washing dishes. It’s just a comfortable place to be.
Holmes: Hopefully you guys will win some dishes in a reward so you’re be able to be more at ease.
Holmes: Are you comfortable lying in the game of “Survivor”?
LaBelle: Yes, and you just summed it up; it’s a game. I am comfortable lying in the game and I’m assuming I’m going to be lied to many times. And I think most of the time I’ll be able to tell when I’m being lied to because I get lied to everyday at work. Not one person ever tells me the truth.
Holmes: How well do you deal with being lied to?
LaBelle: You know, when you’re a new police officer you’re shocked when someone lies to you. Like in life, you take people at their word. You’d be mad about it. I’m so used to it now, I don’t even care. When people lie to you all the time…stuff that bothered you as a young cop doesn’t bother you. You don’t take things personally. You don’t treat people differently. The guy might be the biggest scumbag, but you’ve locked him up 20 times so it’s like, “Hey Joe, buddy! Get in the back of the car.”
Holmes: Some police officers have hidden their occupations while playing the game. Will you?
LaBelle: I absolutely am going to do that. I’ve been watching this show since the inception. I got hooked on the second season and I went back and watched the first. And 90% of the people who say they are cops do not make it very far. So, I’m going to be like Tony (Vlachos). I think it hurts you, but I don’t know why.
Holmes: What is your occupation going to be?
LaBelle: A funeral director.
Holmes: Who washes dishes.
LaBelle: (Laughs) Exactly.
Holmes: Are you OK flirting in the game?
Holmes: Is that going to upset anybody back home?
LaBelle: (Laughs) No, I’m single.
Holmes: How about hunger, does that bother you?
LaBelle: I was 270 pounds the first time they called me for this two years ago, so I was all excited that I’d get on…and then Jeremy (Collins) the Cambridge firefighter got my spot.
Holmes: That turned out well for him.
LaBelle: Yes, it did. Keep rubbing that in.
LaBelle: I hear he’s a great guy, though. So, I’m happy for him.
Holmes: He is.
LaBelle: I went on a diet, I lost 55 pounds. I watch what I eat now. I’m used to having a limited diet over the last few years.
Holmes: How about paranoia?
LaBelle: I know what you’re talking about, and I’ve seen paranoid people out there like Brandon (Hantz) but I don’t get that paranoid. I’ve dealt with a lot of stressful situations and this is just a game.
Holmes: Any thoughts on the cast so far?
LaBelle: There’s a dude here who looks like an NFL player. I know you’ve already talked to him. He wears the nicest clothing. This guy is successful at something. And there are a couple of people who might be crazy. Everyone so far…you see each other, you smile. It seems like people I can work with.
Holmes: If there is twist this season, what do you think it could be?
LaBelle: I’ve seen eight or nine people so far. I think we’re going to be one tribe and there’s going to be another tribe and it’s going to be a “Fans vs. Favorites” kind of thing. I’m a fan, I’ve been trying out for a long time. I hope it’s more than that though.
Holmes: If you could align with any past player, who would it be?
LaBelle: Great question…Earl (Cole)…wait Yau-Man (Chan). They were just really cool players and I liked them. I liked how they were loyal to each other and were from opposite ends of the world.
Holmes: Lightning round time. Cats or dogs?
Holmes: Beer or wine?
Holmes: Superman or Batman?
LaBelle: Superman, all the way.
Holmes: Meat or vegetable?
Holmes: Republican or Democrat?
LaBelle: (Laughs) Independent.
Holmes: Books or TV?
Holmes: Swimming or sunbathing?
Holmes: Many casual friends or one good friend?
LaBelle: Many casual friends.
Holmes: Nice car or nice home?
LaBelle: Nice home.
Holmes: Smart or funny?
Holmes: Parvati or Boston Rob?
LaBelle: Boston Rob.
Holmes: Big vacation or big TV?
LaBelle: Big vacation.
Holmes: Working alone or with a team?
LaBelle: Working with a team.
Holmes: Dragons or unicorns?
Holmes: Careful planning or fly by the seat of your pants?
LaBelle: Careful planning.
Holmes: Jeff Probst or Ryan Seacrest?
LaBelle: Jeff Probst all the way.
Holmes: Alright, it’s hamburger time.
LaBelle: Great, nice talking to you.
Don’t miss the season premiere of “Survivor: Millennials vs. Gen-X,” Wednesday, September 21, 2016 at 8pm ET.