A "Day on the Job" as a Shipboard Comedian

' Cruise DirectorFebruary 16, 2009

Kuki, CruiseMates Cruise Director, takes on the challenge of becoming a professional standup comedian for one night.

Frankly I'm not much of a "Salute to Broadway" production show kind of guy. I have what used to be called a tin ear, I clap in time to music with the rhythmic attributes of the quintessential "white guy," and my size 13 feet fail me now on a regular basis.

I do however love comedy, whether on land or at sea, and recently I got to hang out -- one of the things comedians do best -- with Al Ernst, and Lewis Nixon, two of the very best comedians anywhere, during the recent John Heald Bloggers cruise on the Carnival Fantasy.

View the Video -- Kuki's Comedy Routine on Carnival Fantasy!

Both Al and Lewis were working onboard our cruise for the entire five days, which is unusual. Carnival runs a fly-in program for their headline entertainment where a comedian will normally stay onboard for one or two days to do their shows, and then jump ship in a port where another Carnival ship is docked the same day. They then change ships, and entertain a new set of passengers for the rest of the week.

But this was the Bloggers' Cruise to pay tribute to popular Carnival cruise director John Heald. So I got the feeling Al and Lewis were there more as official posse members for John Heald. There were certainly enough behind the scenes antics going on to justify calling this an "entourage."

To my great surprise, starting with dinner on the second night of the cruise, I was drawn into this elite show biz clan -- suddenly getting the regular guy treatment these comedians usually only bestow upon their peers. No doubt it was the umbrella in his pina colada talking, but that night comic genius Al Ernst suggested I open for one of his shows. In actuality, it was more of a dare, the kind where you could back down, but if you do your posse badge is immediately revoked.

Click on Pictures for Larger Images
John Heald with Al Ernst and Lewis Nixon   Carnival's Top Cruise Director, John Heald

Al Ernst was actually suggesting I walk out on a live stage in front of hundreds, possibly thousands of people, and do my own original shtick. Was I taken aback, scared, quivering in my boots? "You betcha!" as Sarah Palin would have said had she still been in the media spotlight. But at the same time a quiet calm came over me, as in "what is the worst that could happen?" besides a heart attack or drowning in terminal flop sweat.

Over the past several years I've done a series of articles for CruiseMates where I first experienced a "Day on the Job" in various cruise ship positions and then wrote an article about it. I've worked for a day as a butler on a Celebrity ship, dealt Blackjack in the casino on Princess, worked as Social Host staff on Carnival, been a Concierge for a day and a Hotel Director on NCL, and was Environmental Officer on Royal Caribbean.

All of those positions require a lot of hard work, but for those pieces the scope of what I did during my "training day" was limited to a small audience and always mostly out of the public eye. These prior experiences were always planned well in advance so I could go into them at least somewhat mentally prepared.

Continue Article >> A "Day on the Job" as a Shipboard Comedian (Part 2)

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