Single.” Even though following that guy was like following Springsteen in Jersey, I managed to book one gig. “I guess I’m gon’ be your orientation.” “Where’s the venue? It was also freezing, with no way to turn down the air conditioner. My act had to be completely rearranged into three different half hours, one child-friendly, each one repeated once, plus a different “welcome aboard” show, not to be repeated.It was with a cruise line that, as a professional courtesy, I’ll call “Circus Cruises.” It had the collective ambience of a floating Red Lobster. I flew into Texas where the ship, headed to Mexico, would be taking off. My act is essentially a low-budget indie film about my life in New York with neighborhood characters like “heroin dude” and “check-cashing place lady with beard eating an LGBTBLT.” I’d also been warned that if passengers complained about a performer, that performer could be helicoptered off of the ship. Cruise ships are one of the last refuges for veteran comedians to make a living doing what they do.Apparently there was a ping-pong table set up next to his piano, and he hated when people played during his set.
Still, I figured it would be smart to give the world of cruise ships a shot, even though with Circus, I was starting at the bottom.It was a symphony of shit-faced-ness, beet-red behemoths staggering and scooting from buffet to casino to bar, cabin to cabaret, then line-dancing back to buffet.It was as if I was watching an anti-American propaganda video.Needless to say, I hadn’t stockpiled material children could relate to.Afterward I got a note from the entertainment director to remove the phrase “knowing each other biblically” and my tried-and-true swear substitute “mother-flower.” But the good news was that “Johnson” was acceptable.