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.It was during a showcase of performers trying out for gigs on cruise ships at a theater in Miami. The rest of the time was spent fighting guys who were trying to rape him – with mixed results.Then there was the crew – the grunts mostly Filipino and Indian, the officers and the captain, who loved making unintelligible announcements at random junctures, Italian.
“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.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.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.
It was a symphony of shit-faced-ness, beet-red behemoths staggering and scooting from buffet to casino to bar, cabin to cabaret, then line-dancing back to buffet.