Carnival Dream's Comedy Club will feature four unique comedians and eight sets per week. A Comedy extravaganza!
Carnival offers more yuk for your buck!
Carnival Dream Goes for the Comedy Jugular
Each of the new ships about to debut from the three biggest cruise lines; Carnival, Royal Caribbean and NCL will have at least one thing in common; a comedy nightclub along the lines of "The Improv" or "Catch a Rising Star."
It takes a lot of fresh talent to keep a comedy nightclub going, which may explain why no cruise line has ever had one before.
So why now? I got the scoop from Roger Blum, Carnival Cruise Line's Director of Entertainment.
The Carnival Dream Comedy Club will offer six different comedy shows per night for four nights of every seven-day cruise. Those six sets will come at these show times: 6:00 7:15, 8:30, 9:45 and 11:00 p.m., and 12:15 a.m. The last two performances will be R-rated shows for adults only.
That's 24 sets, a lot to do in one week. I couldn't help wondering how many comedians have that much material. A better question would have been "how many comedians does it take to do 24 sets in one week?" And the answer is four. Each Carnival Dream cruise will have four different comedians onboard; Two during the first half of the cruise and two different ones during the second half. That means comedy lovers are in for a real treat on these cruises.
By the way, Roger also told me, "If you cruised on Carnival Glory lately you may already know this," That's where they have been testing out the Carnival Comedy Club pilot program.
The Dream comedy club, which will take place in the 425-seat Burgundy Theater, will recreate the kind of up-close nightclub setting most stand-up comics prefer. The show schedule works like this: If you make it to the 6:00 show you will see the first comic, and if you wait until 7:30 you will see the other guy. Two different comedy shows in one night. Then if you come back at 11:00 you will see the first comedian's R-rated adults-only shows and if you can hold out until 12:15 a.m. you will see the other R-rated show.
Roger tells me they will clear the house after each set, so you can't save tables like you do deck chairs. If the demand is very high they may resort to a ticket system, but there won't be any cover charge or two-drink minimum as you will find in a land-based comedy club.
That's four different comedy shows and you are only half-way through the cruise. During the second half of the cruise you get two entirely new comedians and four entirely new shows. That's eight all-original comedy shows per cruise. And as they say in show business, that's a lot of yuk for your buck.
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I love this idea and I am sure the vast Carnival cruisers agree with me. Of course, two of the most popular Carnival comedians, Al Ernst and Happy Cole, will be regulars, but there will also be some fresh blood for the comedy jugular.
Roger tells me Carnival works with many of the land-based comedy clubs to find new talent. He says club owners contact him all the time to tip him off to the right stuff for a Carnival audience. "It is in everyone's best interest to keep these guys working," he rightly points out.
In 2005 Carnival conducted the "Carnival Comedy Challenge" in comedy clubs nationwide. It was hosted by Al Ernst. The Grand Prize was a fly-on show aboard a Carnival cruise ship for a live performance that paid $500. Additional dates were deemed "possible but not guaranteed."
What was given to last place? An Al Ernst comedy CD, of course.
With the advent of dedicated comedy clubs on cruise ships we will finally see up and coming comedians on cruise ships, and they will get to work in the style to which they are accustomed - nightclub settings with an up close audience and the bartender's blender working in the background.
By the way, Carnival will get to be the first cruise line with an onboard comedy club because Carnival Dream debuts on November 11. But Oasis of the Seas from Royal Caribbean will arrive just a few weeks later and it will have a dedicated comedy nightclub called The Comedy Spot.
NCL's Norwegian Epic will be arriving next May 2010 and it will have the "Headliner's Comedy Club" as the venue for another Second City improvisational comedy group, an already proven favorite aboard current NCL ships.