Joseph and his martinis decided to do some fast dirty interviews onboard Jonathan Coulton’sfourth annual music-comedy-nerd cruise. A plethora of cruise-goers including Grant Imahara, John Scalzi, The Doubleclicks, and more answer questions about the cruise, community, alcohol, Angry Clown Island, Beyonce, Lord of the Flies, and more. PLUS: A very special version of the Obsessed theme song by Molly Lewis.
Tag Archives: Sea Monkeys
Molly Lewis and The Doubleclicks take a brief break from their Ladies of Ragnarok tour to compete in an obsessive smackdown! Who is the most obsessed? Molly with Star Tours? Angela with Portland City Planning? Aubrey with audio equipment? Or random audience volunteer (and Molly’s boyfriend) Ben with fine menswear? Plus, awkward questions about intimacy!
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!
On February 19th, 2012, a boat will leave Fort Lauderdale and sail out into the Caribbean Sea carrying with it the attendees of MURDER CRUISE 2012.
There are several inaccuracies in that sentence, so I will preemptively push my glasses up and correct myself.
Technically, it’s not a boat. It’s a ship. But come on, boat sounds more romantic. Also, it doesn’t sail. It moves under some other power than blowing. Nuclear reactors? Coal shoveling? Perhaps a flux-capacitor? I think it might be a combination of turbines and will power. It’s unknowable without looking it up on wikipedia.
And, no, it’s not actually called MURDER CRUISE 2012. That was a joke started by Paul F. Tompkins on the twitters. It’s actually called JoCoCruiseCrazy II. It’s a big floating geek concert/comedy festival hosted by Jonathan Coulton.
If you’re not sure who Jonathan Coulton is, it’s possible this is the first page you’ve looked at on the internets since 2003. All you really need to know is this: Jonathan Coulton is a nice man who sings songs and makes money doing it. After singing songs and making money on land for a while, he looked around and said, “What if I sang songs and made money in the middle of the Caribbean Sea?” And he did and it worked out, so now he’s doing it again.
The cruise is packed with talented entertainers and I’m honored to be doing a performance on this will-and-turbine-powered geek boat.
Right here and right now, I’m going to make seven predictions about what will happen on JoCoMurderCrazyCruise II and we’ll see how accurate they are.
PREDICTION NUMBER ONE:
There will be a MURDER. Not a sad real life murder involving consequences and human feelings, but a light, festive, Agatha Christie murder where some jackass no one likes gets drowned in a chocolate fountain when the lights go out on the Lido Deck and a bunch of colorful suspects with easy-to-remember names happen to be in the same room.
PREDICTION NUMBER TWO:
We will not sink. Though we will be attacked by a Kraken.
The Kraken will be easily defeated. A Kraken is basically a bully who lives in the sea. We will confront the Kraken about what is missing in his life that he has to attack a boat. He’ll say, “It’s not a boat, it’s a ship.” And we’ll say, “Don’t be pedantic, Kraken.” And we’ll make some quick and funny “It Gets Better, Kraken” parody videos and he’ll go away.
PREDICTION NUMBER THREE:
There is a possibility the owners of the cruise line will charge me extra if I look at the sea too often.
PREDICTION NUMBER FOUR:
I will probably get full-on old man cranky about the use of the word “squee.”
There will be a lot of excitement on the boat and people will want a short, emphatic word to express that emotion. I’m all for that. The emotion, the expression. Just not the word choice.
When I hear the word “squee,” I picture a panel from a Star Wars comic book in which R2-D2 is farting. Big, block letters shooting from the little astromech droid’s backside.
So while I might enjoy the comedy of John Hodgman or the music of Paul and Storm or the stories of Wil Wheaton or the reasonably priced rum drinks at a pirate ship bar on a small island in the Bahamas, I can’t squee.
For me, it’s a matter of respect. I can’t bring myself to say, “I’m enjoying John Roderick’s song. I think I’ll use my mouth to fart like a robot.”
Perhaps this opinion will lead me to be the man that is drowned in the chocolate fountain.
PREDICTION NUMBER FIVE:
I will foolishly attempt to define geek culture to an old woman from Arkansas.
The people on the cruise who are there for Jonathan Coulton and friends call themselves Sea Monkeys. Sea Monkeys are a fun, friendly, and inviting group of people.
There will be many people on the boat who are not Sea Monkeys. They will be confused and alarmed by all the excited people running around singing songs and saying “squee.”
They won’t even know that “squee” sounds like you’re imitating a Star Wars robot farting in a comic book. They think comic books still cost a dime and mostly feature Superman beating up nazis.
At least one of these people will gaze at me across the gaping cultural chasm and say, “Hey, you want to leap across the gorge and explain this to me?”
And I will try. And I will fail.
I will say words like “twitter” and “ukulele” and “bonhomie” and phrases like “no, we don’t all wear glasses, some of us have contacts” and “no, nerd isn’t really a negative term as we’ve made an effort to culturally appropriate the word and celebrate its positive aspects.”
And the perfectly nice woman from across the chasm will say things like “what?” and “huh?” and “so you’re all just getting together to sing songs about the Star Tracks?”
And I’ll use the word “filk” and she’ll think I’m swearing at her.
And I will go drown myself in the chocolate fountain.
PREDICTION NUMBER SIX
Even though my name is Scrimshaw, I will fail to hunt and kill a whale, then carve a picture into its bones. I will drown my sorrows in whiskey and this will make my ancestors proud.
PREDICTION NUMBER SEVEN
The cruise will be awesome. I will grossly overuse the word “awesome” and it will make me seem like a big hypocrite about the farting robot word.
After the cruise, I’ll do my best to let you know exactly how inaccurate my predictions were. Until then, I’m off to pack some shorts that I will not wear for fear of blinding my fellow Sea Monkeys with the pale white glow sticks that are my legs.