“But things got really out of hand tonight… There was a big talent show, and I worked really hard all day getting my Van Morrison impression down… I wanted to replicate him when he sang “Caravan” with the Band during The Last Waltz? So I borrowed this older female passenger’s purple pantsuit, and I made it into the kinda jumpsuit that he wore that night. It looked pretty similar to it.”

“Yeah, that was some outfit he wore.”

“Yeah, yeah. So I worked out the song with the ship’s band… and it sounded really good, because they have horns and stuff… So I go up there for the actual show, I get about halfway in, the people are lovin’ it... But I can see from Van’s face that he’s really angry. He — of course, he and John are the judges — so he’s really mad. And I can see that Mellencamp’s lovin’ it, though.”

“He’s loving that Van’s getting mad?”

“I wasn’t trying to make fun of Van, but he sees it as me really bustin’ Van’s bees… Every time I do like a move, Mellencamp needles Van in the ribs. Y’know, he’s laughin’? And then at the end I start doin’ those real big high kicks that Van does in the movie? Y’know, kinda like sync up with the horns?”

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“You’re really selling ‘em.”

“But my pantsuit splits, right in the bottom? Where my bottom is?”

“Yeah. Where your bottom is.”

“Yeah, yeah. And they fall apart?”

“Uh-huh.”

“And then it starts to tear up the front, too, and you can see that I’ve stuffed both the back where my bottom is, and my stomach area with pillows, like to make it seem more like Van, like I guess implying that he’s kinda chubby?

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“He really hated that.”

“So he sees these pillows fall out. And then — oh, that’s embarrassing.”

“He didn’t like that at all… It’s over, and then he gave me a 1/10, and Mellencamp gave me a 10/10… and then they start yelling at each other. And then Van pulled out a huge knife, and he stabbed Mellencamp in the chest.”

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“In the chest?”

“So everyone is running everywhere, everyone’s scared. And Van’s chasing everyone around, mainly me, cause he blamed the whole thing on me, and said I was gonna be next. And I said, no, no, I love his music… and I love everything he’s ever done, and it only made him madder, it was like the compliments made him madder, meaner, angrier. So now he’s running around the boat with this big shillelagh looking for me.”

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“He’s got a knife and a shillelagh?”

“Exactly, yeah, and I’ve been hiding from the whole time in a lifeboat under a tarp, that’s where I’ve calling from right now…”

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“You’re hiding? ‘Cause you were saying you were having such a blast.”

“Yeah… in retrospect, it wasn’t so much of a blast.”

“It sounds like you’re hiding in terror.”

“Well, I am right — oh, no… I think he’s outside. I can hear him, walking around the boat… I can smell his whiskey-scented cologne… OH NO! VAN, NO! HOW ARE YOU ABLE TO PICK ME UP? YOU’RE LIKE EIGHTY! NOOOOOO!!! I’m in the ocean.”

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“You’re in the ocean?”

“HIDE MY SPANK BANK!”

— “Darren Takes The Van Mellen Cruise,” Scharpling & Wurster, Best of the Best Show (Numero Group, 2015)

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