Maximum Fun on the high seas: The Atlantic Ocean Comedy & Music Festival

Today is the final day to buy tickets for the first-ever Atlantic Ocean Comedy & Music Festival, happening in September with two stops in the Bahamas on its four days and three nights at sea.

It’s not the first comedy cruise and certainly not the last.

But it’s your last chance to be part of this Maximum Fun, as the “Boat Party” is put together by Maximum Fun’s own radio and podcast host with the most, Jesse Thorn (from Bullseye; Jordan, Jesse, GO!; Judge John Hodgman and other things that exude Maximum Fun).

His comedy crew onboard Royal Caribbean’s Majesty of the Seas includes:

Chuck Bryant • Rhea Butcher • Wyatt Cenac • John Darnielle of the Mountain Goats Dan Deacon • Cameron Esposito • John Hodgman • Josie Long • Marc Maron • Nellie McKay • Eugene Mirman • Jonah Ray • Jasper Redd • John Roderick •  Kurt Braunohler • Scott Simpson • Nick Thune

Thorn spoke with The Comic’s Comic back in the spring, and his answers to my questions — thought by him and me to be lost at sea, perhaps — have been rescued. In March, Thorn’s new idea already was a triumph, of sorts — as both the Carnival Triumph incident had happened, as well as news that the “rival” Mark McGrath & Friends Cruise had been grounded.

It is something that the Carnival Triumph cruise scared off McGrath while doing the opposite for you and comedians, isn’t it? It’s a beautiful thing. One more thing: Knowing that Eugene Mirman normally does his own comedy festival in mid-September, was that an issue booking him for your Boat Party?

Eugene was exceedingly gracious about it, and we’re really excited to have him. And if something catastrophic happened, and he canceled, we’d be able to bring in someone just as wonderful in a heartbeat – people I talked to were really excited about this festival.

As far as McGrath goes, he was happy to blame the cancellation on the Carnival disaster (and his cruise, unlike ours, was on Carnival), but I don’t think he was scared of that. I think he was scared of us. He knew that we’d already named his cruise our rival, and he folded like a paper crane. He couldn’t take the heat we were bringing.

Did you look into past comedy-related cruises — such as Lewis Black’s Comedy Cruise, for example — for any guidance in putting together your festival on the seas? I do believe his was on Royal Caribbean as well.

We really didn’t look at any past comedy cruises… the only models we had were our own MaxFunCon and the experiences of my friend Jonathan Coulton, whose JoCo Cruise Crazy has been a huge success for three years running now. Black is probably the closest to what we’ve done, but really this is the first time anyone with comedy taste has put on a cruise for other people with comedy taste.

And now that McGrath is out of the way, does this move John Mayer’s Mayercraft into the top rival slot? Or is it VH1? One of the many other Sixthman rock boats?

It seems like the Mayercraft Carrier is also “on hiatus.” We’re consdering the Matchbox 20 Cruise, but those Sixth Man cruises are pretty awe-inspringly terrible. Well, the Weezer cruise looks fine, but mostly it looks like a list of people I wouldn’t want to be on a boat with. Kid Rock?

Also, I’d be remiss if I didn’t mention that I recently spoke with Boston-based comedian Jimmy Dunn, who just wrote a tell-all humor book about his years working cruise ships called “Boat Hack.” 

Many great comedians have worked cruise ships, but it’s really a lowest-common-denominator thing, the shit gig of shit gigs. It’s our goal to bring together great comics and a great audience, so everyone can have a blast.

Click here for answers to your FAQ on Maximum Fun’s Boat Party. Today (Aug. 9, 2013) is the final day to secure your berth onboard the ship!

The Atlantic Ocean Comedy & Music Festival, Sept. 13-16, 2013

Sean L. McCarthy

Editor and publisher since 2007, when he was named New York's Funniest Reporter. Former newspaper reporter at the New York Daily News, Boston Herald and smaller dailies and community papers across America. Loves comedy so much he founded this site.

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