I did a show on a cruise ship this weekend.
On the last day of a seven day cruise from New York to Bermuda, there was a “Star Seeker”-type talent show. I entered, along with five others. Two of them were under 18s (a brother and sister pair). Besides me, everyone else was musical, either singing or playing the piano, or both.
I asked if I could go last, and my wish was granted. I was supposed to do three minutes, but I’m sure it was a good 7-10 minute set when all was said and done. It started slow as my first joke fell flat, and I forgot my set list half-way through, but I did a good combination of proven material along with some venue-specific stuff that seemed pretty likely to be relatable (if you’ve ever taken a cruise, you know that the ship’s toilets beg for observation — and by day seven, it’s a pretty safe bet that everyone in the audience has used the toilet).
I had been a bit discouraged watching the professional comics on the ship — the older fellow had good stage presence and was obviously a pro, but his material was not challenging or enlightening. He knows his audience and he gets laughs, but what he does is something I know I could never do. I think I would like to do comedy on a cruise ship on some point, so seeing the audience go bananas for that style of comedy left me worried that my stuff would be too hard to follow or boring to them. I’ve never really done a show to middle America, and I was a bit worried that they wouldn’t get me.
But they did. It was a good show, the audience laughed and laughed, and I had many many people come up to me afterward telling me they enjoyed it or that I was funny or that I did well or something along those lines. Some of them were people that I had met on the cruise prior and others were complete strangers.
I didn’t win the contest, but I did lose to a fellow who was pretty much flawless in his performance of a Bon Jovi song (he played piano and sang). I was later told that I lost by just one point (out of 100, I believe). This guy was so good at what he did that I took the relatively minor disparity as a major compliment.
One of the judges called me over after I came off stage and encourage me to continue being a comic, finding an agent, and tried hard to sell me on the idea of working a cruise ship, Norwegian in particular. Hey, sounds good to me. I just need to figure out how to do so.
Anyway, the cruise was great, and I think it may have been my largest audience yet. Thank you, Norwegian Crown.