The route to comedy superstardom no longer flows over the high seas: The Second City Theater and Norwegian Cruise Lines have announced that they’re ending a long-running deal that filled the company’s ships with young, hungry sketch and improv performers, desperately begging guests for any spare suggestions they might be willing to toss out. Established back in 2005, the cruise ship slots have become a fixture of the Chicago and New York comedy scenes, where they’re seen as a stepping stone to improv success (or, at least, the chance to squirrel some money away while going slowly insane on a boat).
Norwegian maintains a small collection of former cruise shippers who went on to stardom on its Facebook page, including Silicon Valley’s Thomas Middleditch, SNL’s Vanessa Bayer, and The Walking Dead’s Steven Yeun. (It also presumably inspired a pretty great episode of Bojack Horseman.) The Second City cruises will continue until 2018 (i.e., three more four-month shifts), at which point sea-faring Second City-ites will have to start hassling comedy-loving landlubbers for a funny word that starts with the letter “M,” instead.