Jason Blanchard is a road comic - it’s just that sometimes, that road involves water.
The veteran comic has a regular gig performing on cruise ships for vacationing audiences, but Buffalonians won’t need a life jacket to see Blanchard do stand-up; he’ll be at Rob’s Comedy Playhouse for two shows on April 30.
Question: Were there any comedians who influenced you growing up?
Answer: No. I never even thought about being a comedian until I was 29 years old. A group of friends and I were at a comedy club and one of my buddies dared me to give it a try. A month later I had signed up for my first open mic and I was hooked.
Right now my favorite comedian is Bill Burr. He is funny, a bit angry and has no fear when he is behind the mic.
Q: Now that you're in comedy, is watching other comics something you avoid, so you don't even unintentionally pick up a premise or joke, or are you still into other comedians?
A: I am a huge fan of comedy and comedians, so I do watch and listen. For a comic, there is more of an appreciation for how great comics do what they do. Plus it helps me to avoid premises that are over done and forces me to find unique ideas for my material.
Q: How often are you performing on cruises?
A: Too much! Nowadays I am performing on up to six cruises a month. That means five shows per cruise. On one ship, that number is eight to nine shows per cruise.
Q: What's the biggest difference you had to learn about performing on the ship vs. a regular club gig?
A: There is a huge learning curve. Two of the five shows we do on Carnival ships are PG. Families with their children are in the room watching shows together. It takes time but you learn how to work a crowd that is comprised of 8-year-olds, those who are 80 and everyone in between.
The other main difference is that people on a ship will come back and see you over and over. That is why some of the comics on Carnival ships work very hard to have five completely different shows. This makes the guests very happy and helps us build a large fan base.
Q: What are the best and worst aspects of performing on a cruise ship?
A: The best part (is) most of the Punchliner Comedy Club’s on the ships have lounges that hold 350 to 500 people (and are) are packed every night. Performing in that environment on a nightly basis is simply electric.
The worst part (is) the travel. It seems glamorous and exciting to fly to the Caribbean or to Europe every week but that experience gets old fast. I have realized that there are a lot of parents out there who failed in teaching their children manners and how to respect other people. Instead of letting that frustration build into hate, I now joyfully hunt these douchebags and post the pictures under #douchetracker.
Who: Jason Blanchard
When: 7:30 p.m. and 10 p.m. April 30
Where: Rob’s Comedy Playhouse, 1340 North Forest, Williamsville