Cabin Boy is a fantasy film released in 1994 by Touchstone Pictures and produced by Tim Burton which starred comedian Chris Elliott. Elliott co-wrote the film with Adam Resnick. Both men worked for the Late Night with David Letterman TV show in the 1980s, as well as the short-lived Fox sitcom Get A Life in the early 1990s.
The project was originally to be directed by Tim Burton, who had contacted Chris Elliott after seeing Get a Life episode Neptune 2000. Writer Adam Resnick took over the direction after Burton was offered the film Ed Wood.
The film initially fared poorly in the box office but later found modest success on home video. It has gained something of a cult following.
Nathanial convinces the ship's cabin boy, Kenny, to change course for Hawaii, but when they land in a storm in Hell's Bucket, Kenny is knocked overboard and Nathaniel must take over the role of ship's cabin boy. The crew (and accidental passenger) of The Filthy Whore then encounter a number of strange and disturbing beings as they continue on through Hell's Bucket, including an iceberg monster and Chocki the man-shark. Nathaniel also fishes out a woman from the ocean, iron worker and swimmer Trina, played by Melora Walters.
The film includes a brief appearance from Elliott's former boss, David Letterman, as the crusty fishing village sock monkey salesman. He utters his famous line; "Would you like to buy a monkey?" Letterman preferred to be credited as "Earl Hofert" for his role. It also features former Late Night with Conan O'Brien sidekick Andy Richter as the Filthy Whore's dullard of a first mate, Kenny. Cabin Boy also features a brief, uncredited cameo appearance by Alfred Molina as Nathaniel's teacher.
Hip-Hop producer Dan The Automator uses "Nathaniel Merriweather" as an alias when working on projects with Prince Paul, most notably on the album Nathaniel Merriweather presents Lovage: Music to Make Love To Your Old Lady By. Furthermore, Dan and Paul together form the group Handsome Boy Modeling School, a name taken from an episode of Elliot's FOX sitcom Get A Life!. Finally, Dan The Automator has released a compilation album entitled Wanna Buy A Monkey? in a reference to Letterman's character in Cabin Boy.
Cabin Boy makes yet another appearance in a Dan the Automator production with the sci-fi hip-hop album released by Kool Keith alias: Dr. Octagon. A sample of the conversation concerning Chris Elliot's discovery of Sharky occurs on the album during the intro to the track "Halfsharkalligatorhalfman".
The film's opening premise bears a striking similarity to Captains Courageous by Rudyard Kipling. Both stories center on spoiled rich boys trapped among rough and tumble fishermen who have no respect for their rank or wealth.