Orlando’s own Nurse Blake on his upcoming comedy tour and NurseCon at Sea

Blake Lynch, better known to his fans as Nurse Blake, is an Orlando native who has built quite a large following in the last 10 years. Thanks to his light-hearted, comical look at being in the U.S. health care industry, he has accumulated 191,000 followers on YouTube, 926,000 on TikTok, 984,000 on Instagram and 1.7 million on Facebook.

Lynch has turned his hysterical online persona into a successful brand that has taken him on the road with his 2022 PTO Comedy Tour, allowed him to author a children’s book and helped him to create Nurse Con at Sea, the ultimate nursing convention aboard a cruise ship.

But before becoming a stand-up comedian and an online influencer, Lynch was a nursing student at the University of Central Florida who wanted to help his friend by donating blood. When the laws at the time forbid him from doing so because he is a gay man, his fight led to the creation of Banned4Life, a nonprofit whose mission was to overturn the outdated Food and Drug Administration rules on gay and bisexual men donating blood. That fight landed Lynch on the cover of Watermark in April 2013.

Along with the activism and comedy, Lynch also released in June his first issue of Nurse Blake Magazine, a free quarterly publication that will keep you up to date on all things Nurse Blake.

Lynch was gracious enough to take a few moments from his packed schedule to talk with Watermark about his life in the 10 years since first appearing on our cover and to let us know all about his new, upcoming show, “Nurse Blake’s Shock Advised Comedy Tour.”

WATERMARK: You’ve had quite the ride for the last 10 years. You’ve gotten married, became a successful nurse, a social media influencer. You have a magazine out now and I saw that you’re an author. How does that all feel?

NURSE BLAKE: Yeah, it’s crazy. It is wild. Thank you for putting that into perspective because I really don’t think about my life like that. Honestly, I just go from day-to-day, right now I have a big tour to get ready for. While I love to reflect on all the amazing things I’ve been able to do over the years, I really just focus on the next project. I think it’s probably just that I’m trying to stay busy so I don’t have to deal with the hidden trauma of gay conversion therapy that I went through when I was like 15 to 18. I just move on to the next project.

But it is really cool. I never thought when going into nursing school that I would be in entertainment or have a magazine or run a conference. I just think it’s a testament to the different avenues that nursing could take you down. Because while I don’t work in a hospital anymore, I’m still very much a nurse. Writing education programs and stuff like that. But yeah, it is pretty wild to look on my life.

Going back to Banned4Life for a second because back in May, there was a lift on the ban of donations from gay and bisexual men in monogamous relationships. I wanted to get your thoughts on the change 10 years after your campaign.

I started that program when I was in nursing school, and thank you to Watermark for putting me on the cover because you guys definitely helped in spreading awareness about it, but it was a permanent lifetime ban back then. If you were gay or bisexual, had a sexual encounter once, you were pretty much banned for life. So, it has been a journey. It’s changed numerous times over the past 10 years where it went from a lifetime ban to a one-year ban to a 90-day ban, there’s been many different steps to get us to the point where we are today. Is it perfect? No. Is it a step in the right direction? Yes. Does it allow more blood donors into the pool? Yes. At the end of the day, that helps patients and our community.

Sometimes it takes a lot of patience and a lot of determination to just stick with whatever you’re passionate about, to see the changes move forward and come through. It was a project that a lot of people have been involved with, so it was really cool seeing everyone kind of band together and pressure the FDA to make the change.

I was a nursing student at that time who thought they could take on the FDA, and at that time I thought they were never going to listen to me. Now looking back, I’m really glad that I spoke up and I’m glad I was able to share my story and not be afraid of this large federal organization just because I was a young nursing student from Orlando. I’m really happy and inspired that I was able to speak up and be some effect of the change that happened.

You’re getting ready to start your next comedy tour, “Nurse Blake’s Shock Advised.” What can you tell us about the tour?

I start my tour July 25 in Anchorage, Alaska. I’ve never been so I’m excited about that stop and for that to be my first stop. I actually wrap up my tour Dec. 22 in Honolulu, Hawaii, so I’m going to start and finish the tour in two completely different worlds, so I’m super excited about that. I will tour pretty much anywhere that has a hospital.

What’s really cool about my comedy, and just my point of view as a nurse in comedy, is any nurse or a health care worker at a hospital will be able to relate, because we all go through the same things. It’s not just like nurses in the southeast will get it or it speaks to just nurses in the northwest, it’s pretty much anyone who’s in health care. We’ve all seen it, we’ve all smelt it, we’ve all touched it. So there is such a cool relatability to my audience, and my shows are loud. Whenever I perform at a theater that I’ve never performed at before, I worry that they think I’m going to do an inspirational TED Talk because a nurse comedy show, what is this going to be? And then after the show, they’re like, “Oh my God. Your audience!” They come in party buses, in groups of 20 and 30, and they have posters. They dress up wild and we always kill it on alcohol sales, because these nurses are just ready to have such a good time and honestly they deserve it.

The big joke is if I’m performing in your city and you do have a medical emergency, just have the ambulance drop you off at my show because that’s where all the nurses are going to be. You’re not going to want to go to the hospital cause there’s going to be no one there.

Sounds like it’s the safest room to be in.

It definitely is. And my comedy doesn’t just speak to nurses or health care workers specifically. Even though my comedy comes from a point of view as a nurse, we all know someone who’s a nurse or that works in health care. We’ve all been a patient at the end of the day. It’s just like real life stories. If you don’t know what I’m talking about or there’s a term I say that you are unaware of I am going to break that down for you during the show to make sure everyone’s on the same page. Everyone has a good time, no matter what you do occupationally.

When I was looking up your comedy I saw your Nurse Becky character. I wanted to ask, where did she come from?

Nurse Becky came from me working in Houston, Texas. At the time I was an injury prevention coordinator for Harris County. Me and this other gay nurse, my coworker Steven, were decorating the office for someone’s birthday and I was putting up balloons. He’s like, “Oh hey, Becky. That looks good.” And I’m like, “Ok, Becky.” So we just called each other Becky back and forth. One other coworker was listening, a more experienced nurse who’s older, and she ended up looking at what Becky meant. An Urban Dictionary page came up and it was something sexual so she took it as, “They’re being so inappropriate.” She screenshot it and sent it to all upper level management and was like, “They’re calling me Becky and they’re making me call them Becky. Everyone’s calling each other Becky. How will I ever be able to go to church? What’s my husband going to think about me?” And I’m like, “Oh my gosh.” It was so hilarious and Becky has just stuck with me. I had a manager that had hair like Nurse Becky at that same hospital, so between that wig and the whole Becky thing, Nurse Becky lives on through me.

NurseCon at Sea is coming back in 2024. What can you tell me about how it?

NurseCon at Sea is a multi-day event, it’s a cruise and we have the whole ship to ourselves. There’s like 3,500 nurses. I perform my show a few nights, but it’s not just a Nurse Blake cruise. We also give accredited CNEs for nurses, so I bring on 25 nursing educators. We do game shows and theme nights. We do a lot of meet ups. It’s kind of like the energy of my show that runs like 90 minutes but then putting it on a cruise and going to the Bahamas for five days. It’s the ultimate nursing conference.

With that, a lot of the cruise ships are like, “Oh, you know, we think it’s just like a nursing conference.” No, the energy is up there with like the Atlantis cruises. I have to credit my audience and the people that follow me, they bring this energy and just sense of community. It’s not just something I bring to them, it’s right when they get on the ship. It’s like everyone’s family. It’s so inclusive and it’s so diverse. It seems like everyone knows each other. We just have this relatability to one another that we just kind of break the ice with each other really, really quick. So that’s the one thing that really excites me and just keeps me going and inspires me to keep doing what I do.

You’re a really easy person to talk to. Does that come from nursing? Because you have to meet so many people on their worst day and you just have to very quickly understand their situation and connect with them.

Yeah, for sure. As a nurse, it’s our job to make everyone really, really comfortable. I feel like anyone could be a nurse and learn the hard skills, like inserting an IV or inserting a Foley catheter. I think the most unique skill of a nurse is the ability to communicate and connect, and you really can’t teach that in nursing school. I feel like being a nurse has helped me do what I do to connect with other nurses and to be able to do interviews like this, which I absolutely love doing. I love meeting people. I love traveling and meeting nurses, it’s definitely a skill that I’ve been able to bring to nursing that nursing has helped me with overtime. Another fun fact, I actually worked at Disney’s Magic Kingdom as Peter Pan. So that also was helpful. It’s so cute because people have pictures of me during a meet and greet as Nurse Blake, and then they go back 10 years ago and they have pictures of me with them or with their kids with Peter Pan.

Nurse Blake begins his staggering 100-city “Shock Advised Comedy Tour” in Anchorage, Alaska July 25 and wraps it up Dec. 21 in Honolulu, Hawaii. He has five stops in Florida in December, including a show at the Starz Center in Tampa Dec. 9 and at the Dr. Phillips Center in Orlando Dec. 11. Tickets are on sale on and available to purchase at NurseBlake.com.

NurseCon at Sea sets sail April 9-14, 2024. Book now at NurseConAtSea.com.

More in Arts & Culture

See More