When performers think of cruise liners, one thought often crosses their mind: career suicide. David Williamson thought much the same thing—that is, until the economy tanked and forced his hand into accepting a gig on a Disney cruise ship. In an interview at Magic Live 2017 (viewable in its entirety at the Magic Live website), the manic comedian/magician talked about how taking that job catapulted him into headlining at shows like the Illusionists and a leading role in Circus 1903 in Vegas.

“I did corporate for 20 years, and then the economy went away,” he says in the interview. “There was an agent who had been calling me for seven years, ‘I want to put you on Disney Cruise Line, you’d be perfect.’ I said no way, I don’t want to do cruise ships. That’s where acts go to die. I did one years ago, hated it. You dance with old ladies, call bingo, sleeping near the engine. Then out of necessity that year, I said ‘yes, I’ll try it’ and I loved it.”

The cruise gig actually allowed him to stretch his legs out a lot more than he had been able to on during his tenure as a corporate magician, and he was able to evolve and tune his act to hone in on the unique cross-section of kids and adults you’d find on a Disney Cruise. This evolution gave him the confidence to perform on stage for the Illusionists, which then led to his starring role as the Ringmaster in Circus 1903.

For the rest of the interview, including a wild story involving Mike Caveney, David Williamson, and a live chicken, watch the full video here.

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