My name is David St John, and I have been in the entertainment business for most of my life! I am a well established professional comedy entertainer, based in the UK, having previously spent several years as a lead singer/frontman in semi-pro pop groups, before launching into a solo career back in the 70s.
If you want to check me out, then surf on by - www.davidstjohn.co.uk
- you should find it interesting to see what I have been up to for many years!
Like many entertainers, I have done some cruising work over the last few years - mainly as a visiting guest comedy act, flown in to do a 14 day run, on the passenger changeover basis ie 7/14 day duration around the Mediterranean itineraries. We usually have to offer a couple of alternating and different routines over the two-week period - basically a 50 minute routine, and performed twice nightly to cater for the two meal sittings. I am talking about smaller ships, unlike many of the larger vessels which you US passengers normally talk about! As some passengers stay on for two weeks, then the entertainment must also change to cater for this element.
I have generally found that many passengers seem to grumble about the general standard of live entertainment, as I often surf by a few cruise-based websites, such as this Cruise Mates - excellent! I do sympathise with the usual criticism of yet another 'Broadway' type revue shows, although most of them are very well staged, and use talented singers and dancers.
Maybe I'm biased, but people need to see REAL variety, and many passengers enjoy something different, and maybe more relevant to their age, background, taste etc. Unfortunately, I have noticed a reluctance within the smaller market UK based cruising trade, to when it comes to booking 'new faces' like myself, despite a wealth of different talents! On my last cruising work , I did my usual contracted comedy cabaret spots in the main show lounge, in between the usual nightly productions shows, and mainly working for English-speaking passengers, mostly UK based, who enjoyed this contrast.
In addition, I also did a few unscheduled late night shows in the small intimate piano lounge, which was really appreciated. This was more of a comedy/vocal act, and I have a wide repertoire of songs to offer, and take requests, plus interactive chat and really got everybody singing away! Many of the audience mentioned how refreshing it was to have a ship's guest entertainer doing more than his allotted times and giving them some classic 60s and 70s music, that many of them grew up with! They were never a 'Broadway' type audience anyway, so enjoyed hearing their requests for stuff like the Eagles, Nilsson, Beatles, Byrds, Dylan, Don McLean, The Doors etc - all amongst the usual requests for Elvis, C&W classics etc. The audience even get 12 string electric guitar and blues harmonica - Straw hats and canes? Nah......
I was just wondering if any of you guys get the same impression, when enjoying your own cruising breaks? My main interest lies with me being a solo entertainer, and curious to know of the difference between our European market and your own US-based arena? I'd like to hear of any comments. Have you seen many Brit-comedians (or understood them??) There is a Transatlantic difference in humour - sorry- humor!
I note, from several UK-based cruising websites, that there is a general dis-satisfaction when it comes to onboard entertainment, as many passengers seem to find that the same old acts follow them around different ships, as the tight-knit agents and shipping bbookers seem to 'play safe' with tried and tested artistes? It's obviously a smaller market than the American based cruise industry, so may explain the familiarity of certain entertainers, working between a fairly small circuit?
I'm seriously considering an exploratory business/pleasure trip to Florida, to checkout the scene, and maybe kick some bookers' butts into trying a fresh approach. I adapt my comedy to suit any type of audience, and many an American passenger has commented that I should cross the Pond - mind you - I am Southampton born, so am nearly there. Many of my family went to sea, although my great grandfather was unlucky, and got shipwrecked in the Mid Atlantic - then got picked up by the Titanic!! ;o)
Look forward to hearing from y'all! (See - a multilingual Limey!
David St John