I recently returned from being a performer on JoCoCruiseCrazy II–a big floating music/comedy cruise.
In contrast to my musings and predictions here, I now believe the boat is powered by slightly drunk people having fun. Luckily, all the Sea Monkeys (this is the name the JoCo Cruise-Goers have given themselves) were having fun constantly and even managed to have fun backwards when the ship needed to reverse out of a port.
What follows is a collection of words, images, and sometimes links to moving images about my experiences on Drunk-Fun-Cruise 2012. Some statements are true, some are blatant lies.
All of the performers on the boat were talented and lovely people–with the exception of John Hodgman who spent the entire cruise swilling his “youth serum” (full pitchers of an unholy rum-malort cocktail) and screaming at the staff that they weren’t doing enough to defend the virtue of the Oxford Comma.
We had a formal night. People wore fake mustaches and little fezzes. All this boat-moving fun was in honor of Paul F.Tompkins–a kind and funny man, yes, but also a man who has accused me of being a murderer on more than one occasion. However as the old adage goes–“the smart phone camera does not lie!” It’s clear from the photo below which giant blurry head is a-plottin’ to kill some people.
I did a performance of my geek comedy stand-up/storytelling show Joseph Scrimshaw and The Comedy of Doom. I wrote an audience interactive bit called Star Trek: Oregon Trail. To my delight and surprise, my totally unplanned audience volunteer was Wil Wheaton. What followed was funny, but also surprisingly sexy. Do you choose to go on an away mission from this blog and watch the video?
A link to the full video of my show is at the bottom of this post. As you can tell, the majority of Sea Monkeys are cyborgs who have cameras embedded in their foreheads and can upload stuff to youtube by touching a computer thing on the side of their head like they were Lobot from The Empire Strikes Back. (Google image Lobot if you have to, then laugh and laugh.)
I was also honored to play the role of Ed McMahon to Paul and Storm’s two-headed Johnny Carson in this podcast recorded with a live (at least 25% hungover) audience during JoCoCruiseCrazy.
THE CRUISE ITSELF
Being on a cruise is pretty awesome. As you can see from this photo, it’s like spending a week trapped in a generic desktop theme.
That said, cruises are weird. They remind me of the old commercials for Grey Poupon.
Yes, you’re classy. BUT COME ON, YOU’RE MUSTARD AND WE ALL KNOW IT. STOP TRYING SO HARD!
The cruise ship staff does odd and sometimes terrifying things as if to constantly remind you, “this ain’t just mustard, son, this is motherfucking Grey Poupon floating on the sea!”
For example, the stewards make what they claim to be “animal sculptures” out of your towels. As you can see from the photo below, this is not an animal. This is a disturbing baby thing the stewards made after getting high and watching David Lynch’s Eraserhead seventeen times in a row.
In an effort to make sure the whole ship doesn’t get sick at once and pile into the infirmary like it was Groucho’s stateroom, little Purell hand sanitizer squirting units are set up along the walls roughly every inch or so.
Because these stations are everywhere, you constantly see people rubbing their hands together as though everyone is a super villain planning to hijack the boat and sail it to their volcano fortress.
There were around 550 Sea Monkeys on the cruise and another 1000 or so normal cruise-goers. While many of the normal cruise-goers were perfectly nice and charming people, at least half of them seemed to be on the cruise to meet a stereotype quota. Basically, they were angry old people who forced me to reconsider my preconceived notion that “douchebag” is a word only used to describe young people.
Here are a few of my favorite overheard quotes:
“I’ll tell you this right now: if water gets in here, we’re going to sink.”
“I need a colonoscopy.”
“It’s about respect. Let’s go get some ashes for Ash Wednesday. They got ’em at the piano bar.”
“Cheeseburger! Cheeseburger! Cheeseburger! Cheeseburger!”
This last quote was said by the window on the Lido Deck that serves cheeseburgers and hot dogs to old men who feel the taco bar is too ethnic. There had been a back up in service because my commie pink-o wife ordered a veggie burger. All of the old men behind us were greatly agitated by this. As we walked away, as if to assert their manliness, four or five them began shouting “cheeseburger!” It was like they were doing a thoroughly American reenactment of the Monty Python Spam sketch.
I got off the boat when we stopped at Aruba and Curacao. Both interesting exotic places. For example, when you get off the boat in Aruba one of the first things you see is a Dunkin’ Donuts and a Little Caesar’s Pizza RIGHT NEXT TO EACH OTHER.
I have honestly never seen that in real America.
To be fair, there are many interesting excursions to be had by cruise-goers who, you know, plan. (One friend went to an ostrich farm and learned the secret dance of the angry and/or horny ostrich.) But no matter how exotic these cruise destinations are, when you get off the boat you are usually presented with a “Little America” shopping district full of gifts for the whole family. Like this:
On Aruba, there was a movie theater playing The Phantom Menace in 3D. My wife and I debated going to see it. We thought it would be a fun way to drive geeks mad.
“What did you do with the precious few hours you had on a beautiful island off the coast of South America?”
“We sat in a dark theater for two hours watching Episode One in 3D.”
Unfortunately, as we approached the box office window we saw it was roped off with police tape. I decided to simply believe that Episode One was against the law in Aruba and we sat on a beach drinking beer instead.
The attendees of JoCoCruiseCrazy are supportive intelligent audiences and very fun people. They took it upon themselves to set up random “unofficial” events. I was invited to join an impromptu drawing circle.
My useless liberal arts degree is actually in the useless field of visual art, so it was great fun to sit under the stars and uselessly sketch the Sea Monkeys. Here’s a sketch of the gentleman who filmed me making filthy Star Trek jokes with Wil Wheaton:
THE MORAL OF THE CRUISE
Everyone involved with the cruise–performers, Sea Monkeys, the terrifying towel twisting stewards–are all truly wonderful. The event is special. As in, it is actually NOT NORMAL. It’s part cruise, part concert, part floating geek convention, part ukulele heavy band camp, and all awesome. If you actually read through this entire blog and enjoyed it even slightly, you would enjoy this cruise and you should go here to sign up for announcements about JoCoCruiseCrazy 2013.
If you didn’t have to Google image Lobot, you should sign up twice. If you didn’t have to Google image Lobot OR look up the Groucho’s stateroom reference, you’re probably the kind of person who would enjoy spending a little under an hour of your life watching a video of me saying jokes into a microphone. You will also be rewarded with a special appearance by the very funny Paul and Storm playing Dumbledore and Tom Bombadil if you make it through the whole thing!