Today I will not be participating in the usual "Carnival.com top ANYTHING! Blog", because this is my blog! So recently (today) Senior Cruise Director/Brand Ambassador of Carnival Cruise Lines John Heald posted a new post in his blog (johnhealdsblog.com) regarding the Punchliner Comedy Club aboard the Carnival "Funships". Remember that all of these shows have a "Family Friendly" show which is comedy for all ages, and there is also the "R-Rated (18+) shows". This person here attended the 18+ show. So here is the comment, and under that will be some highlights of the answer given by Mr. Heald.
This week we got off the Fascination which was my wife and my second Carnival cruise. The room steward Lana was the best we have ever had as were Anoop and Thomas our servers in the dining hall. This was my first experience of the comedy club you have on the ship and the language and sexual topics used by both the comedians was so disgusting that we left. As we did we were mocked by the comedian and left very embarrassed and upset. I complained at the front desk but they had no sympathy explaining that it was an R-rated performance. Yes it was, we were told at the start of the show but the language used was so disgusting and hearing the F bomb every other word and talking about sex is not comedy. Why do comedians you hire need to offend and cuss so much because it is not funny and I know that other passengers we spoke to in the dining hall all said the same thing!!!!!
Highlights from the response by John Heald (copied directly from the blog):This is a very interesting comment and as I said, the opinions on Facebook about this made for excellent reading. It seems that from the opinions mentioned there that most agreed that as long as we warn guests both in writing in the Fun Times and that the same warning is given by the comedy club host before the show that the performances will contain adult material that we should continue to take the comedians leash off from the family shows and allow them to say what they wish. There were some who felt that the use of swear words was not necessary when performing comedy and this is an interesting point. Now I am not a standup comedian but I do try to make people laugh using improv and audience members as well and I guess this gives me a platform from which to give you my thoughts on this. Like most of our Punchliner comedians I sometimes don’t give enough thought to offence. It’s not because I don’t care who I offend. It’s because there isn’t always time to think if a joke will be offensive before you say it. You think it and have a split second to decide to say it or not.......
The problem is, like I said, that people are offended by very different things. While 300 people in the Punchliner on the Carnival Breeze may laugh, two may get up and walk out. With comedy, I would suggest that it is really quite impossible to please everyone....
There is the argument that if a joke is funny enough, people often forget to take offence. It used to be the case that if something offended a guest, they complained and you said sorry. Everyone considered this fair enough, and everyone shook hands, forgave and forgot. But today the age of political correctness has removed any such compromise and there are days when I think it may be safer to write factual, non-opinionated blogs and not even try to attempt to be funny on stage. I know many of my comedian friends who are constantly second guessing themselves about it or not they should say a particular joke....
One last thing that came up on Facebook and that was how the comedians deal with hecklers. Now it would be nice to think that in our comedy clubs everyone should sit down and listen but as we know it doesn’t work like this. That’s why any decent comedian will have a whole series of heckler put-down lines and any comedian that doesn’t is probably going to have a very short shelf life in the world of comedy. Then there is the fact that during the show (Andi who posted above) got up and walked out to some kind of comment from the comedian. This happens and while I certainly apologise to Andi for this but I would hazard to guess that she was sitting close to the front. Our stages at the Punchliner comedy club are close to the seats and if in the middle of a set up to a joke, or worse a punchline to a joke, guests stand up and walk right past the comedian it is natural for them to make some kind of comment.
So do I think we should stop our comedians from swearing? No, I do not but I will say that many of our best comedians use swear words sparingly. Yes, their material is very adult based but they use swear words to accent a point. My best advice is that if you are unsure about our adult shows please sit close to the back so if you don’t like the material you can casually get up and leave unseen by the comedian. There are definite improvements we need to make to the Punchliner not only on who performs there but schedules and seating etc and that is something that will happen as we now have a brilliant new comedy manager who I know will keep the Punchliner Comedy Club at the highest level and keep you all laughing out loud.
[All mentions of Facebook link to the Facebook page for John Heald, the information here is not my own and fully belongs to John Heald, this can be removed at his request or by select others.]