James Van Der Beek & Carnival Host Their First Comedy Competition

carnival cruise thrillist comedy competition
Carnival is the largest purveyor of comedy in the world. - Photo by Carnival Cruise Line

Carnival Cruise Line has teamed up with Thrillist to launch “Island Hoppers,” an all-new comedy competition show at sea. The goal? Finding the line’s next comedy star to perform in their ships’ Punchliner Comedy Clubs.

The series is hosted by award-winning actor James Van Der Beek, and was filmed during a recent cruise aboard Carnival Horizon in the Caribbean. Throughout seven episodes, Van Der Beek takes viewers behind-the-scenes as three up-and-coming comedians compete in challenges, which are judged by Punchliner Comedy Club veterans Billy D. Washington, Jodi White, and William Lee Martin. 

Laughter ensues as the competitors try their hand at cocktail-making in the Alchemy Bar while having to perform a comedic act, and offer their best one-liners as they whoosh by on the heart-racing Mystic Mountain Jamaican bobsled ride during a port 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.”

“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 hosts of comedy in the world, with 27,000 shows each year across their 26-ship fleet. They hold more comedy performances than any land-based comedy club, featuring a talented lineup who perform both family-friendly and adults-only sets multiple times per cruise, which are 30 minutes long each. All performances are complimentary, and have proven extremely popular among both new and loyal Carnival passengers.

“Island Hoppers” will air June 11 on Thrillist’s Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter profiles, as well as on their YouTube channel.

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