Authoring a book has led to an opportunity I really didn’t expect. I can now add “cruise ship entertainer” to my business card. It’s an interesting story how it all came about.
During the final editing process of my book, “SPUNKY GRANDMAS….And Other Amusing Characters,” my wife Sally and I happened to be vacationing on an American Cruise Lines cruise from Jacksonville to Charleston. Besides enjoying the trip, I was exchanging emails on a daily basis with the publisher. It was a bit upsetting that my onboard internet connection wasn’t very good. That turned out to be a lucky break. Sally, who unlike me, isn’t bashful about asking others for help, enlisted the help of the ship’s cruise director for technical assistance.
The cruise director became interested in the book, enjoyed some of my creations, and asked if I’d like to read a few excerpts to entertain fellow passengers during the daily cocktail hour. I jumped at the chance, and my brief “show” was a hit. That spawned the idea of approaching the folks at American Cruise Lines who hire onboard entertainers with a proposal to come aboard their ships when they’re docked in my hometown, Winona, MN. Their ships stop here about 35 times each year.
Knowing that Mark Twain is a name heard a lot on Mississippi River Cruises, I created a show called, “Humor In The Tradition Of Mark Twain,” and pitched it to the cruise line. In the show, I share some of my works and point out how they employ many of the same techniques Mark Twain used to tickle funny bones. I toss in a few of Twain’s best quotes along the way, and it makes for an entertaining 45 minutes. The presentation is about 10% enrichment lecture and 90% comedy act.
After submitting an audition video, I was given an opportunity to appear on their first Winona stop of the season. Things went well enough that I was given other opportunities, and I’ve now become a regular entertainer during their Winona stops. I usually sell a few books, but the bigger reward is the fun I have entertaining their guests.