A "Day on the Job" as a Shipboard Comedian (Part 3)

' Cruise DirectorFebruary 16, 2009

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

The morning of the show, scheduled for 11:00 PM on the last night of the cruise, I awoke with nothing but panic in my mind. I searched for excuses to get out of this insane predicament. After all, these were comedians telling me I would be great and who trusts the judgement of a comedian?

I told them how messy an attack of Norovirus could get on stage, but there was no letting me off the hook. So getting the hook was all I kept thinking about for the rest of the day -- like on the old Gong Show TV series.

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

I got together for one last shakedown with Al and Lewis that afternoon, and as I blew several lines at first I couldn't help thinking they would be just as amused if I just peed my pants on stage while completely forgetting my act. You know, I would become the kind of story comedians tell on the Conan O'Brien show.

But soon their dedication and enthusiasm had a calming effect on me. When they said they really believed I could pull it off I put all my trust in their capable knowledge of comedy. Despite my fear of bombing, I came to believe they truly wanted me to succeed. I was going to step out on that stage and be funny!

On the day of the show time passed very slowly -- the butterflies in my stomach, feeling more like gallstones or pancreatitis. With only a few hours to go I wandered the ship aimlessly, trying to pass time chatting with friends and strangers alike. What was I seeing in the eyes of the people I talked to; something like "is he friggin' crazy?"

We hadn't done any actual rehearsal on stage with a live microphone, which made me nervous, but that's the way they planned it. Just prior to the show, Lewis took me back stage for the first time and spent a few moments trying to make me comfortable. Unfortunately, Al doesn't look anything like a beautiful Swedish masseuse.

I took a peek out from behind the curtain and was shocked to see the showroom packed to capacity. It actually calmed my nerves somewhat thinking "these people are even dumber than me, coming out to watch my show at 11 PM on the last night of a cruise."

The show began when Lewis walked on stage to warm up the crowd. Then came the magic moment. He introduced me; the curtains opened, and I walked out on a stage on my very own for the very first time. With the stage lights on I couldn't see anything except a lone microphone and I had the realization that my job at that moment was to make 800 people laugh. I couldn't see them but I knew the crowd was there (and ready to throw things at me). I stood for what felt like an eternity but was most likely only seconds, and I thought, "just how cool is this?" Then I thought I'd better say something.

The first time I heard the audience laugh was a huge thrill!

Continue Article >> A "Day on the Job" as a Shipboard Comedian (Part 4)

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