Comedian Brad Upton

A magician and a comedian do a podcast– on a cruise ship.  I don’t have a punchline but we’re probably both bloated.  Enjoy.

Being an entertainer who works cruise shops a lot you meet interesting people.  Or at least your chances are higher.  Working on ships is very competitive right now and the quality of the acts is showing that.  Cruise lines are actively trying to becoming more hip.  The chances of meeting interesting people who are a little more unique, fun or down right weird — it’s just greatly intensified at sea.

The way I see it there are the following 4 stages of the shiplife:

  1. The Occasionals or the Newbs (newbs is the short form for newbies– which used to be a short form for something) opportunity feels great to this group– It’s exciting times.
  2. Fulltimers — they work ships full time. Most of their years income gets served with a plated breakfast and and a bathrobe.  Unless your work Carnival.  Apparently, I dunno that’s what I’ve been told. After the full timers we get
  3. Kickassers– this is the acts or groups that have a little extra sparkle, or in some cases extra pat on the back from the cruise line bookers, aka agents.
  4. Legends — the acts who have trampled over the ocassionalists and the newbs to earn the wisdom of fulltimers and keep their kickassers nametag– these are the full time ass kicking legends.

I think I’m in walking in Fulltimer Ass Kisser territory or at least I’m stepping in patches of it and Brad is walking with legends.

Brad gives several nuggets and wisdom for performers through stories about his career– and we both discuss some of the oddities of ship life.

You’ll hear:

  • Get To the Funny Part– how he writes the funniest possible joke.
  • An entertainers   career at really difficult times of life
  • The complexities of adding new material.
  • What comes first? The better you get the better your own standards get.
  • Confidence the real secret to being a good performer? When confidence is most important.
  • Wanna be a comedian– A logical action to take for an ideal first step

If you are listening for the first time Touring Tricks is also the name of my weekly webseries which you should check out– or


Update (August 25, 2016) : Subscribe on iTunes! We’re approved and ready.  Click here to connect on iTunes.

Connect with Brad Upton Here:



Magic and Comedy? Thoughts From Ryan Joyce

Magic and comedy aren’t completely two different worlds.  Like a Venn diagram you’ve got “magicians” on one side, “comedians” on the other with an area in the middle where there’s a dance floor.  Over the past few years I’ve been spending more time in the middle.

I have a lot friends who are comedians– actually I’d venture to say that for the most part I’m drawn more to comedians than magicians.  I like the way they think.  I’m trying to get back to my magic roots but right now words inspire me more than magic.

Comedians are good with words.

Both performers share a desire to label parts of their work life with “words”, magician’s are notorious for it.  If I “flash” an audience I’m not standing onstage with a trench coat showing people my unexpected magic wand– it means I’m accidently showing a glimpse at something they shouldn’t see.  Like a palmed card or something going up the sleeve.

Same feeling– less flesh.

Magicians use the word “worker” a lot. “He or she is a worker.”  or “The stuff he sells isn’t his working material.”   I’ve notice comedian’s frequently use the word “gigging” instead.  It sounds rougher, grittier, time-tested– less pretentious.

Maybe magicians are just pretentious comedians– who aren’t as funny.  I dunno.

This past week I was gigging on a cruise ship– a new line for me.  I’ve been pretty much exclusive with one cruise line my entire nautical life and now I’m starting to see other buffets.  My last of five weeks on-board have been spent meeting all sort of new people– including the gentleman I’m about to introduce you to.  My last week onboard Brad Upton walked on the ship– after getting to know him I learned we have several mutual friends and many of these friends I consider “great” friends.

But that makes me a pretentious magician

I watched his show; his ten o’clock show– often the harder of the two sets on this particular ship– and enjoyed the hell out of it.  He killed and the audience loved him.  I loved him.   Walking back to my stateroom we unexpectedly crossed paths and exchanged my sincerest pleasantries and I dropped the keyword that distinguished me from the rest of the passengers.

That word is “guest entertainer.”

Here’s something you need to know about cruise ships. A dirty little governing law– an unwritten rule.  Until both guest entertainers have seen each other work or know their reputation– we tend to keep an arms length distance.  It’s for safety.  There is nothing worse in the world then becoming amicable with someone– watching their show– realizing they suck– and now presto bitches you’ve gotta a week together in the floating buffet.

For some magicians tend to be most avoided– hmmmm…

And since I’m a pretentious magician I’d call this “laying low”

A comedian would probably call it “avoidance”

It’s for own safety– thankfully we both passed the test and by the end of the cruise we sat down and chatted about things.

By | 2016-11-25T22:12:25+00:00 August 23rd, 2016|Podcast|0 Comments

About the Author:

Ryan Joyce is a magician, hypnotist and voice behind Touring Tricks Podcast and weekly web series. He's appeared on worldwide tours and shows including Penn & Teller's Fool Us. Tune in weekly-- that's the recommended dosage. or iTunes

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