Comedy has taken Belleville native Mike Pace around the world during his three decades performing standup. He’s made U.S. military troops laugh in Iraq, Afghanistan, Korea, and Saudi Arabia as well as appearing in TV shows like HBO’s "Curb Your Enthusiasm.” For the past five years Pace has performed comedy on Royal Caribbean Cruise ships and when Hurricane Irma struck last month, Pace was onboard a cruise ship trying to figure out where to go.
“If you watched the news, people were having trouble getting out of Florida so instead of sleeping on an airport floor, we decided to stay on the ship,” said Pace.
Pace said his ship, Majesty of the Seas, headed toward the hurricane zone and began evacuating survivors from St. Thomas, St. Martin and Puerto Rico, as well as delivering water, food and medical supplies to the Caribbean islands. Pace recalled a conversation with a hurricane evacuee from St. Martin.
“He said the only reason he’s alive is he put a California king mattress up against the window, otherwise he would have been sucked out like everybody else, 225 mph wind,” said Pace.
Although there was nothing funny about the destruction caused by Irma, Pace found himself telling jokes to the evacuees to take their minds off the weather disaster.
“We did one show,” said Pace. “It was an open mike night for the passengers. There were about 75 passengers.”
Pace said after spending so much time in the Caribbean, he appreciates the islanders devastated by Hurricane Irma and is pleased that Royal Caribbean continues to support the recovery effort.
“Royal Caribbean Adventure is in San Juan right now still bringing evacuees out of there and bringing supplies to them so it’s just nice to be part of a company that’s doing that right now.”