If Saul and Esther liked you, then, like a tuna sandwich with low-sodium mayo, you would be considered palatable fare for the passengers. Port’s left.” I scribbled it all down on my nautical crash-course cheat sheet. The beauty of comedy is that there are essentially no rules besides showing up, being funny, doing your time, and not getting the club staff pregnant.The crowd was ornery, and each act struggled through their shouting of phrases like “speak up! JR led me to my cabin, which was down a narrow hallway behind a bank of elevators. But on Circus Cruises there were rules about what performers could wear (pressed dress-casual with additional options for “elegant night”), where performers could eat (the crew’s mess hall), and how to appropriately interact with passengers (no sleeping around – one of the few I didn’t have to adjust to).t started as it often does in showbiz: I had to make a room full of old Jews laugh. A friend of mine who’d done ten years at Lorton Penitentiary once described the same routine.
Apparently there was a ping-pong table set up next to his piano, and he hated when people played during his set.So day after day the passengers would arrive at the table and find the paddles missing.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.Only way to pay for things.” “No.” “Show you where your cabin is? At the time I was hired by Circus Cruises I was pulling up on 50 years of age, a combustible ingredient, especially after 30 years working in a field with absolutely zero stability.
“I’ll just see if I can score a parka at the gift shop.” .
When I asked one of the crew about why this was the case, he told me, “Americans are more likely to file a lawsuit for working conditions that are basically indentured servitude, whereas other nationalities are just…used to it.
“Plus,” he added, “very few of them could fit through the door of the crew cabins.” Above deck were magic shows and slot machines, but below deck was like an urbanized honeycomb of the crew’s cabins, some turned into bodegas with anything you’d want from booze to DVDs to socks.
While I had one foot in the Manhattan clubs as a regular, another was on the pedal doing road gigs.
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.
There was a doo-wop group, a “human statue of liberty,” a boy band, a flamenco dancer, and a piano player from New York who sang in Yiddish. Once ensconced, I studied the pamphlet I’d been given.