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Russell Howard on the terror of becoming a cruise ship comedian

Monday 24th June 2024, 11:21am by Jay Richardson

Russell Howard: Recalibrate. Russell Howard. Copyright: Avalon Television

Once a byword for nightmare, unplayable bookings, cruise ships gigs retain a certain notoriety among comedians.

Yet Virgin Voyages are 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.

Andre Vincent, Ria Lina and John Robertson's live video game crossover The Dark Room is also part of the line-up for the five-night voyage on the Resilient Lady, which sets off from Portsmouth on 14th September and docks in Amsterdam, Bruges and Zeebrugge. Further acts are yet to be announced.

Howard already has his sea legs, having taken part in US comic Bert Kreischer's first Fully Loaded At Sea Festival, which sailed from Miami to the Bahamas in October, appearing alongside the likes of 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 then traded tales of comics whose sets had bombed so hard that they had to be helicoptered off the ship.

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