Cruise ships are where stand-up comedy goes to die. Usually. The comics that work the floating laugh venues are condescendingly referred to as ‘boat acts’ for their pandering or more hack style that’s necessary to appeal to the general vacationing public. But cruise industry giant Carnival is hoping to change that stigma. They hired George Lopez as their new Director of Comedy. Yes. That’s a real title.
“We do comedy,” Carnival senior vice president Mark Tamis said, “but (we thought) how can we do comedy better?” Their answer is to rebrand every Punchliner Comedy Club, found on each Carnival cruise ship, to Punchliner Comedy Clubs Presented by George Lopez. Lopez will be active in securing top and up-and-coming talent for the venues, serve as the introduction voice to the clubs in pre-recorded messages and have his act available to watch on in-ship televisions.
At a press conference in New York, Lopez admitted to never having been on a cruise, but that he plans to board one later this year. “I’m excited about my partnership with Carnival,” Lopez said, “People will laugh like they’ve never laughed before.”
After recently having his TBS talk show cancelled, Lopez hopes this partnership will be a success and can count on strong support from Carnival towards ramping up their comedy department. Just last year, we reported that Punchliner Comedy Clubs were being added to Carnival’s entire fleet, offering 35-minute shows on multiple nights of each voyage with at least two comedians performing every night. Carnival claims it hosts more people at its comedy shows than any land-based comedy chain in the USA.
The first Punchliner Comedy Club Presented by George Lopez will debut on the near three thousand-passenger Carnival Liberty later this month, with the clubs being fleet wide by next year. Lopez is a huge name in the comedy world, and if he does well in securing solid line-ups for the ships, he could do a lot to reshape the negative connotations attached to performing comedy out at sea. Or he could phone it in and just have his name slapped on a sign.
What do you think? Can George Lopez change the comedy world’s perception of cruise-ship comedy acts?