This Super Bowl weekend I’ll be performing on the Celebrity Equinox, a giant cruise ship, in the Caribbean Sea. I’m sure there will be huge screens, plus food and drinks galore. I’m equally sure it will be a great time. I strongly advise you to join me on the Equinox, January 31 through February 10. But the best Super Bowl party I’ve ever attended on a large ship was four years ago. Let me tell you about the time I hopped on a plane, tail-hooked onto an aircraft carrier in the middle of the ocean and put on a Super Bowl championship ring!
The craziest. Super Bowl. Weekend.
The cabins might not be as cushy on the carrier, but cruise ships don’t have a close-in weapons system spitting out 4500 rounds of depleted uranium per minute. Attention, pirates: suck it.
My adventure began on a Friday night when I met up with fellow comedians Tom Foss and Steve Simeone, along with Comics On Duty honcho Rich Davis, and sacked out in a San Diego hotel awaiting an early morning pick up by the US Navy. The hotel had a piano bar, which apparently is the old-people substitute for karaoke. It allows the geriatric to belt out hits of the 60’s. Most likely the 1860’s. I couldn’t recognize any of the songs. But man did the seniors love them some ancient tunes. And that’s awesome, because it probably reminded them of the good old days when they sat around the fire in animal pelts, inventing music.
Despite this scarring of my inner ear tissue, I managed to hear my alarm at 5 in the morning. We were then escorted onto Naval Air Station North Island and crammed into a C2-A Greyhound along with some players and staff from the Green Bay Packers.
Apparently, it’s dangerous to land a plane onto a boat in the ocean. So to help with safety, I was issued a very large helmet and this tiny vest-thingy in the picture to the left. I’ve seen water-wings bigger than the vest-thingy. But it’s a military vest-thingy so I assume it expands on contact with seawater to create a slightly less-tiny vest-thingy. I hoped.
Tail-hooking onto a moving aircraft carrier is, I imagine, one of the most difficult things to do in the world for a pilot (and big props to ours). At the same time, it is also one of the craziest fun things to experience. You go from 150mph to zero in just a couple of seconds. Captain Kuzmick of the USS John C. Stennis gave us certificates, marking our induction into the club of tailhookers. So it’s official, I’m all Top Gun-ish! The take-off is nuts as well. Steam-powered catapults fling you off the end of a too-short runway that makes you feel just like Alfre Woodard getting sucked into the sky in The Forgotten. But with much better dialog and acting. I strongly suggest you join the Navy in hopes that you might be able to experience this. Either that, or be like me and tell fart jokes.
It wasn’t my first time aboard the Stennis. In 2001, I had the awesome opportunity to attend Disney’s world premiere of Pearl Harbor on the ship, docked in Pearl Harbor. The event was a legendary Hollywood production in itself: a team of Navy SEALs parachuting from a Black Hawk helicopter; Faith Hill singing the National Anthem; a screening of the film on the landing deck; all capped off by the Honolulu Symphony playing along to what I believe is the world’s longest fireworks show. (It clocked in at 15 minutes, which is more than double the 6 minutes of fireworks recently set off in a Guinness Records-certified Dubai show.)
This time, instead of a movie premiere and Faith Hill, the sailors were treated to comedians and NFL stars. The hangar deck doubled as a gigantic comedy club, and where the crew would be watching the Super Bowl later. I can’t say it enough times, but doing shows for these men and women, no matter where they might be serving, is my favorite part of my job.
Mason Crosby headed up the Packer delegation. Mason scored more points in his first two years in the NFL than any other rookie in league history. Also on board: punter Jeremy Kapinos, fullback John Kuhn, and staff members Red Batty and T-Bone Bakken. Head trainer Pepper Burruss was with the team since 1993, and he brought along some serious bling. Of course, I just had to try them on.
I think this means we’re dating now.
Kuhn has a ring from his year in Pittsburgh, and Red’s got one from his 16 years with Green Bay as well. Red even has a ring from the CFL Grey Cup championship! There hasn’t been so much gold and diamonds on a ship since the days of Captain Jack Sparrow. Which is so long ago that old people in San Diego know songs from that time.
If you weren’t there, you missed out on a party of a lifetime. But you still have time to join me on another enormous Super Bowl weekend at sea aboard a different humongous ship. Judging by the stats, they are nearly identical: