MIAMI (June 10, 2019)—Carnival Cruise Line and Thrillist have teamed up to launch “Island Hoppers,” a first-of-its-kind comedy competition show at sea, aiming to find the cruise line’s next comedy star to perform at its shipboard Punchliner Comedy Clubs.
The mobile-first series is hosted by award-winning actor James Van Der Beek and was filmed during a recent Caribbean cruise aboard Carnival Horizon. Over the course of seven episodes, Van Der Beek takes viewers on a journey as three up-and-coming comedians compete in entertaining challenges, judged by longtime Punchliner Comedy Club veterans Billy D. Washington, Jodi White and William Lee Martin. “Island Hoppers” will air June 11, on Thrillist’s Facebook, Instagram, YouTube and Twitter channels.
Hilarity ensues as the challengers demonstrate their creative cocktail-making skills at Carnival Horizon’s Alchemy Bar while having to perform a comedic act and offer their best one-liners as they traverse the heart-racing Mystic Mountain Jamaican bobsled ride during a call in Ocho Rios.
“I’m not really a host, and I’m definitely not a standup,” said Van Der Beek. “But this show is so unique I feel like that worked in our favor. As a writer and actor, I have a huge appreciation for what it takes to get up in front of a room full of strangers and make people laugh, so it was a joy to jump in and play with a group this talented and hilarious. Plus, we all got to be on the Carnival Horizon, which just made everything fun.”
“Entertaining 5 million guests across 26 ships is not an easy job. We’re always looking for top talent to add to our roster, so finding the perfect comedian is quite the task,” said Chris Nelson, Carnival’s vice president of entertainment. “That’s why we’re really excited to partner with Thrillist on this new and creative way to bring new comedians to our comedy club roster. Our guests love fun – comedy is part of our DNA – so we’re particularly thrilled that we are able to showcase incredible talent on every sailing.”
“Travel and fun is at the heart of what we cover every single day at Thrillist and ‘Island Hoppers’ is a perfect extension of that. We’re excited to bring this new series to our audience and offer them an entertaining and unique view of all of the fun that can be had aboard a Carnival ship,” said Thrillist President Ocean MacAdams.
Carnival’s Punchliner Comedy Clubs are the largest purveyors of comedy in the world with 27,000 shows annually across the line’s 26-ship fleet. Boasting more comedy performances than any land-based comedy club in the world, the Punchliner Comedy Clubs feature a lineup of top-notch talent who perform 30-minute shows, including family-friendly and adults-only sets, multiple times each voyage. All performances are offered on a complimentary basis.
(Gerry Barker is a freelance travel writer who has covered the cruise industry for 10 years, formerly with The Palm Beach Post. He and his wife Pam maintain a Cruise Blog on NorthPalmBeachLife.com)