• Courtesy Kurt Braunohler
  • One of two Jet Skis Braunohler will ride

When I saw comedian Kurt Braunohler at Up Comedy Club earlier this month, he did not disappoint. Sure, the jokes were hilarious, as expected, but the most exciting moment of the show was when he announced, in between declarations that this was definitely not a joke, that he’d be back in the city in a few weeks time for his next big stunt—a Jet Ski trip from Chicago to New Orleans.

It may seem a little extreme, but let us not forget that this was the man who raised $6,000 via Kickstarter to have a joke sky written above Los Angeles. “I’ve been obsessed with this idea that we can take these moments of absurdity to make the world a better place just for a minute,” Braunohler said. “Why don’t we try to have a really dumb idea raise money for a good cause?”

This time around, Braunohler is collecting donations via Indiegogo, and all the money raised will go toward Heifer International; his end goal is to provide 500 goats and 1,000 chickens to struggling families in Africa. As for the cost of the journey, Comedy Central is footing the bill and filming the whole thing for its new web series, Roustabout.

Braunohler worked with an ex-military marine coordinator to map out a route of lakes, rivers, and a few detours on land beginning at Navy Pier on Fri 5/30 and ending in New Orleans on Thu 6/5. There will be two Jet Skis—each named by two $2,000 donors—a chase boat, an EMT, a lifeguard, and a film crew along for each leg of the journey.

  • Courtesy Kurt Braunohler
  • Kurt Braunohler will rock this tuxedo wetsuit on his adventure.

“I did train on the road, and I’m hoping that helps,” Braunohler said. “There’s no way to really train to be on a Jet Ski for six hours a day.”

Braunohler’s prejourney performance with Wyatt Cenac and Candy Lawrence at Schubas has already sold out, but all are welcome to Friday morning’s send-off. The festivities will kick-off at 7 AM 9 AM at Navy Pier with Cenac (and possibly, Braunohler hopes, Mayor Rahm Emanuel) on hand to christen the Jet Skis and send him on his way. He’ll stop to perform in a few cities along the way (Peoria and Saint Louis among them), officiate a Jet Ski marriage for one couple who earned the right through the terms of their Indiegogo donation, and, if all goes well, end with a celebration show in New Orleans next Thursday. The six episodes of the series following Braunohler’s journey will premiere on cc.com in July.