by Ryan Meehan
Critically acclaimed standup comic and winner of the prestigious San Francisco and Seattle International comedy competitions, Sean Kent is currently performing his hard hitting sociopolitical comedy to packed houses worldwide. A two-time cancer survivor, Sean also works to raise awareness by speaking and performing at a variety of annual charity events including the Cancer for College Fundraiser with Will Ferrell and the City of Hope Bone Marrow Transplant Reunion. Sean’s recently released album “Waiting for the Rapture” was hailed as “brilliant” by Laughspin Magazine and can be heard on XM / Sirius Radio. You can also listen to Sean Kent on his Pandora station and as a featured comic on 24/7 Comedy Radio. In a review of his live stage show, Cinemablend called Sean’s performance: “seamless… Kent manages the unthinkable without ever appearing out of place.” Sean is listed in top position as “hands down the #1 Funniest Tweeter” on FunniestTweets.com, was chosen as “One of the Top Ten Funniest People on Twitter” by LaughTrack.com, was the featured comic on MySpace. com, and is most widely known for his appearance as a series regular on two seasons of NBC’s Last Comic Standing where his performances were labeled “Edgy and daring.” And, he’s our guest today in 5 Questions.
FOH: Could you briefly describe your first experience doing standup? What was it about the whole thing that made you want to do it the second time?
SK: I was working at a coffee shop on Ventura Boulevard in Los Angeles and like all coffee shops in LA it had an open mic. I was so bored with my life at the time. I was just going to acting class, working as a barista during the day and saving money for my gender reassignment surgery. It was a really dull existence.
So I thought I might as well give this comedy deal a shot. It seemed like what the comics were doing was cool. They seemed like the smartest, funniest guys in the room. They seemed to be really, really cool and part of me has always wanted to be cool (I’m not). So maybe that played into it. Anyway I fought back major nerves and did it. I literally almost puked. Afterwards these two nice Israeli dudes who worked with me told me they thought I had been funny which made me feel better than it probably should have.
What made me come back the second time was that right after I got off-stage, Bette Midler approached me (she’d been in the audience) and asked if she could take me for a drink. One thing led to another and the next thing I know Bette’s got me chained to a bed naked while she’s slowly lubing her arm up to her freaking elbow with Crisco. Bette took the last of my innocence that night. She changed me. She taught me what show business was all about. It was the best night of my life. I honestly thought all comedy shows were like that. They’re not but I’m still chasing that high.
Also It turns out I have no other real talents. I can’t show up for an office job on time and I’m unable to act like I give a shit about things I don’t give a shit about. This makes it impossible for me to have a real job. Hence, my career in comedy!
FOH: After you had returned from your cancer treatment, what was it that made you want to get back to work? Was it just too much to deal with to not be doing comedy?
SK: You have to remember the doctors told me I had a 40% chance of living for five years so essentially my overriding emotion was being REALLY scared of dying. So I kept booking as many gigs, as far out as I could. In my mind I’d be like, “I can’t die, I’ve got to be in Vegas in October”. I know that doesn’t make actual, physical sense but it made mental sense. It really kept me going. Those were five very long years. I wouldn’t wish that on anyone. Except a few people maybe. Like Hitler. Fuck Hitler. But nobody else comes to mind. (Neil Young? I don’t’ like him!)
FOH: Looking back on all that you had been through, do you think now that you’d approach it differently?
SK: I make mistakes everyday that I wish I could take back. Like the other day I ran over a curb and killed a nun. But nobody saw it so was it really a mistake?
Honestly I genuinely, sort of most days like or can tolerate who I am and where I am in life (especially since the hair-plugs!) so I’ve got to be fine with everything that happened to put me here. Except of course for having cancer. Fuck that shit!
And also my ex-wife. Fuck her too. I hope she reads this. Can we make sure she gets a copy?
FOH: In the past couple of weeks we’ve had Daniel Tosh get into a pretty controversial argument with an audience member at the Laugh Factory, a heckler in Jacksonville throwing a wine glass at Tammy Pescatelli, and now Eddie Griffin fighting a beverage war by dumping a bottle of water on someone who had tossed a drink at him. What’s going on here? Do club owners need to do a better job as to handling situation like this before it reaches this point?
SK: Absolutely there has to be better control at the club level. Hell I wish every club had an off-duty cop in it, armed and standing against the back wall. There’s a lot of fucked up thinking behind some of this stuff. For instance a club owner won’t want to throw out a large party of loud, heckling patrons because they’re buying lots of drinks. But they’re also RUINING THE SHOW for the rest of the audience. So if you kick them out you may lose a hundred bucks in liquor sales. That’s true. But if you let them stay and fuck up the show then the rest of the audience, a couple hundred people usually, are going to think you run a shitty dive bar of a comedy club. They’re not going to want to come back because you didn’t keep control of your showroom. If that happens enough it will put you out of business. It’s short-term vs. long-term thinking. So there’s that. Then there’s people who are too cheap to spring for a bouncer, or a bouncer who’s too much of a pussy to kick someone out. Look, we’re not getting more civilized as a people. So we’re going to have to set standards for what is acceptable behavior in a public gathering. It has to come from the top. The owners have to make sure that the show is sacred and protected. Hell the show is the reason your club exists in the first place. So if you’re not going to protect the show, then what the fuck are well all doing there? Basically getting bullied by a bunch of assholes who in a polite society should get kicked out on their asses.
Side note – My girlfriend, who I love and trust deeply, says I come off to “complainey” in that answer. So I apologize if that’s the case.
FOH: How in the world did you become friends with Tom Von Doom of Cycle Sluts From Hell?
SK: He and I met through a fellow comic named Pat Evans who you’ve never heard of. Tom and I got to talking and he’s really a normal dude, minus the Satan worship and the massive Sudafed addiction.
In reality Tom is now an editor for movies and TV, including some really cool documentaries. He’s been a great friend to me, including letting me crash on his floor when my ex-wife and I were fighting. Did I mention she sucks balls? Oh man, what a demon spawn bitch. Anyway he and I have very similar interests and we’re both good at things the other wishes they were good at. He’s an incredible musician and I’m not. Really he could be doing soundtracks if he wanted to. He even co-wrote “Your Genitals are Evil”, the lone song on my first album. It still gets a ton of airplay on comedy radio stations and Sirius/XM. (Don’t tell him because he’ll want half the royalties.)
On the other hand Tom wishes he was funny like me. He wishes it SO BAD. But he’s just not. Sad, really. But I still love him.
FOH: What’s next for Sean Kent in the upcoming twelve months?
SK: I’m going to continue touring comedy clubs like a maniac because I love it and I love my fans immensely. I’m going to continue to be a good father to my two little daughters because I love them with insane amounts of ooey gooey love love love. Lastly, I’m going to continue to be a good partner to my girlfriend Rachel because she’s smart, beautiful and lets me rut around on top of her like a disgusting animal. Also I just taped some stand up for a new show on Nick at Nite and I’m working on a pilot for A & E. Thanks for the questions! This was fun!
Official Website: www.seankent.com
Sean on Twitter: @seankent
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