Russell Howard on the Terror of Becoming a Cruise Ship Comedian

Russell Howard Faces the Fear of Cruise Ship Comedy

Headlining Virgin Voyages’ Inaugural Comedy Festival Aboard the Resilient Lady

Once a byword for nightmare, unplayable bookings, cruise ship gigs retain a certain notoriety among comedians. Yet Virgin Voyages is trying to overturn the image of pensioners baffled and enraged by contemporary stand-up by launching what’s billed as the company’s first-ever comedy festival, headlined by Russell Howard.

Russell Howard - © Copyright: Big Issue
Credit: Russell Howard – © Copyright: Big Issue

Taking place aboard Resilient Lady, the five-night voyage promises a stellar line-up. Departing from Portsmouth on 14th September, the cruise will make stops in Amsterdam, Bruges, and Zeebrugge. Alongside Howard, the festival will feature performances by Andre Vincent, Ria Lina, and John Robertson’s live video game crossover, The Dark Room. With further acts yet to be announced, excitement is building for this unique event.

Russell Howard is no stranger to the waves, having taken part in US comic Bert Kreischer’s first Fully Loaded At Sea Festival, which sailed from Miami to the Bahamas in October. Howard shared the stage with comedic heavyweights such as Mark Normand, Jim Norton, Felipe Esparza, and Ms. Pat.

Speaking to Kreischer on his Bertcast podcast before the trip, Howard described a cruise gig as “the most terrifying thing because my brain instantly goes: ‘If it goes badly then you see them at the buffet!'” He and Kreischer traded tales of comics whose sets had bombed so hard that they had to be helicoptered off the ship, highlighting the unique pressures of performing on a cruise.

Resilient Lady - © Copyright: Virgin Voyages
Credit: Resilient Lady – © Copyright: Virgin Voyages

Virgin Voyages’ comedy festival aims to change the perception of cruise ship gigs, offering passengers a fresh and entertaining experience while showcasing top-tier comedic talent. As Resilient Lady prepares to set sail, comedy fans eagerly await what promises to be an unforgettable voyage.