Let’s Go on a See Cruise, Shall We?

by Lenny Schmidt on May 7, 2013


nude cruisers shopped

I’ve been working as a comedian on cruise ships for about three years now.  There are negatives of course, no texting on board, crappy TV, small cabin, stuck on a ship for a long period of time, but very few jobs offer free food, accommodations, and cheap drinks. Oh, and I get to spend most of my time in places like New York, New Orleans, the Caribbean and the Bahamas. I truly am blessed.

The last few years, “theme” cruises have been the rage. There’s the “Kiss” cruise, featuring the members of Kiss, for example. There’s also Singles, Gay,  Hair Metal,  AA… There are dozens of them. I’m on my way back from  a theme cruise right now. A nudist cruise.

A nudist cruise! At first you’re thinking – sweet, everybody’s naked! Then, you realize – shit, everybody’s naked! You are not surrounded by Jennifer Anistons, Kim Kardashians, or Sarah Raffertys. Incorrect, my friend. You’re sharing the high seas with people who aren’t at the top of your I wanna see them naked list. “Bea Arthur,” “Rosanne,” and “Richard Nixon,” that’s the kind of naked I’m talking about, the kind of naked I don’t want to see.

nude cruisers couple retouch

Hell, I don’t wanna see me naked, either. Honestly, I only look good naked in two positions, both of which hurt my back. Even when someone does want to see me naked, I try to talk them out of it. “It’s really not in your best interest…”

I kept my clothes on for the duration, which somehow made the whole cruise even more weird.  You’re NAKED, I wanted to say to the passengers. People can see you’re… everything. Don’t you get cold? I wanted to ask. I can’t walk around without socks, let alone pants. But, these nudists…I changed my daily routine, as I sought to avoid this sea of flesh, but naked people were everywhere. At bingo, the casino, the pool, hot tubs, the showroom, dinner, even at the Captain’s table.

karaoke redacted

Karaoke: Once you’ve watched “Tom Arnold” destroy Billy idol, “Ole Big Balls” massacre Ole Blue Eyes, and “Patton Oswald,” “Red Foxx,” “Whoopi Goldberg,” and “Barbara Walters” blast out Y-M-C-A naked, you will never be the same.

The Gym: “Wilfred Brimley” on a treadmill, “Julia Child” on the Stairmaster. Why “Martin Landau” would ever have attempted the rowing machine is beyond me.  What a smell. Some parts of the human body need to be covered when you sweat.

The Buffet: I did NOT go to the buffet.

Through it all, I learned that there are two types of nudists;

1) The “HEY LOOK I’M NAKED!” people.

wacky fun nudists sponged

These are the exhibitionists. It’s all the show, the big SURPRISE! Kind of a “Shock and Awe… why did you have to go there?” campaign. Nipple clamps, tattoos, glitter, stickers, messages shaved into body hair. Anything to freak you out. “Andre the Giant” with his penis wrapped in duct tape. Unreal. Everything was a parade. They wanted to be noticed.

At my late show, “Old Clint Eastwood” was sitting in the front row, spread eagle. I mean spread F%^KING EAGLE! so much it had to hurt. He was just staring at me the whole show. Big smile, sack hanging, “Go ahead, make my day.”


They were just regular people who happen to be naked. We just hung (BAM! PUN!) out and talked. “Soooo, looks like that housing market is coming back. How bout those Blackhawks?!”

retouched nudists on rail 2

It was about the time I was playing poker with “Fat Jonah Hill” that something dawned on me. I’m the freak here, I thought. I’m dressed. I’m the one out of place.

When it was over, I was asked if I wanted to do the nude “circuit.” There are dozens of national nude events. Apparently, they need a comedian. What the hell, a gig’s a gig.  Maybe next time I’ll strip down down to my birthday suit and bask in my nude glory. Maybe next time Sarah Rafferty will be there — and maybe she’ll be nude too.

sarah rafferty retouch


Lenny Schmidt

Lenny Schmidt is an actor/comic/writer/director who lives in Los Angeles. He's appeared in numerous films and TV shows including "Southland", "True Blood", and "Castle". He's performed stand-up in clubs, theaters, and cruise ships all over the world. He enjoys sleep, steak, and sports, not necessarily in that order.

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