For the last several months, independent radio host Jesse Thorn has been asking his listeners to sign up for updates from Boatparty.biz, a website that was, by his own admission, little more than "a drawing of a boat" and a place to enter an email address.
Few visitors to the site knew why they were giving out their email, but many did so anyway, apparently concluding that the minds behind the comedy convention MaxFunCon could do no wrong. On Tuesday, Boatparty.biz finally divulged its secret: The boat party would be just that, a three-night cruise from Miami to the Bahamas dubbed The Atlantic Ocean Comedy & Music Festival, presented by MaximumFun.org, Splitsider and KCRW.
The announcement trumpeted the pack of indie stars -- including Marc Maron, John Hodgman and Kristen Schaal -- making the schlep while making it clear that this trip wouldn't just be for podcast-listening, scarf-knitting, Bon Iver listening Brooklynites. "Don't worry, cruise enthusiasts," read the invitation. "There will also be shuffleboard and giant plates of shrimp."
The cruise is hardly the first themed excursion into the Atlantic, but the AOCMF seems singular for two reasons. First off, the cruise element of the trip seems entirely incidental. The shrimp and shuffleboard is merely an addendum to the main attraction, a flirtation with the booming world of so-called independent comedy. Secondly, the audience likely consists primarily of exactly the sort of people who would have vowed during various loft parties that they would "never consider taking a cruise."
Does this mean that the AOCMF is the world's first completely ironic cruise? Maybe, but there were already a few contenders. The Titanic Lovers Cruise marking the 100th anniversary of the good ship's descent into the North Atlantic was probably more morbid than ironic, but the Bruise Cruise -- an indie rock showcase that made a big media splash -- came dangerously close.
One thing is for damn sure, the sort of cruisers looking to take to the sea with the host of IFC's fake game show are probably going to need a lot of suntan lotion.