Rob Little on the Secret World of Cruise Ships

"I've performed on 63 cruises in the past two years," says comedian Rob Little. His seafaring work ethic has paid off, as he was recently named Carnival Cruise Lines' Comedian of the Year. "That was pretty cool. I've been doing a lot of clubs and corporate shows, too."

Actually, the cruise gigs are similar to comedy clubs in that they run for several days. "They kind of book us on two cruises at a time," he explains. "So you'll go on the last half of one cruise then stay on the ship for the first half of the next cruise. It can be anywhere from three to five days."

[jump] Many comedians have mixed feelings about doing cruises. "I try to be Mr. Positive, but after 63 cruises, you can only go to Cozumel so many times before you're bored out of your mind," Little says. "We're going there to make money, not spend it." For the comedians, as well as the other performers, it's work. "We get to do some of the same things the passengers do, but we're not going off doing dolphin excursions. I just look for free internet at each port."

One downside is the accommodations. Last year, Chris Porter told us: "They give you crew quarters, which is just one step above a white-collar prison."

Little concurs.

"They have a brig on the ship, and our rooms are no different than the jail on the ship. It's more of a drunk tank, actually." Little was also surprised to find that cruise ships have a morgue. "I was on one trip where a grandmother died the first day at sea," he recalls. "It was this huge family. The cruise line said, 'We'll fly you all back and do whatever you need.' They said, 'No, grandma would want us to go on.' So, they put her on ice down in the morgue, and cruised the rest of the week."

Another strange cruise was one hosted by the cast of Duck Dynasty. "You've never seen so much camouflage on a cruise ship," he laughs. Few fans went ashore at the various ports-of-call. "They stayed on the ship and just followed the Duck Dynasty guys around."

While he wouldn't mind better quarters, Little feels the cruise industry has been treated unfairly. "One thing that happened that was super cool -- and I'm bummed this didn't make the news -- was on one cruise we rescued a fishing boat." The crew had been stranded for days when the cruise ship happened by. "The ship lowered the rescue boat with everyone on deck watching. They picked them up and dropped them off at the next port."

Back on shore, Little recently became an ordained minister, thanks to the internet. "I've been doing all these weird weddings and stuff." Little even did one in Minneapolis this past year, presiding at the nuptials of Twin Cities comic Tommy Ryman. "He's one of my best friends, and he's the one who suggested that I get ordained online. I take him on the road with me a lot." Little says he does it for fun. "The couple tells me what they want me to say, but I end up messing with it."


Rob Little

18+; 21+ later shows

Rick Bronson's House of Comedy

408 E. Broadway, Mall of America, Bloomington

7:30 p.m. Wednesday through Thursday; 9:30 p.m. Saturday; 7 p.m. Saturday and Sunday


For tickets, call 952-858-8558 or visit