By Jason Tanamor
Sean Cullen, veteran actor and comedian, has been in the business for more than 20 years. And although Cullen has managed to keep himself busy, the comedian did find time to stop by for an interview with Zoiks! Online.
Q – Hey Sean. Thanks for doing this.
A - Thanks for doing this to me.
Q – I’ve been covering stand-up comedy for a long time and know just a little bit about you. Real quick, what made you decide to get into comedy?
A - I was going to acting school and they put me on academic probation. Over the summer, I started performing comedy and getting paid so I just didn't look back.
Q – You’ve been in stand-up since 1988, more than 20 years in the business. What’s the secret to staying consistently funny?
A - I try to make sure every show is a little bit different. I try to improvise, change the way I perform bits, write constantly and do other forms of artistic expression: writing, acting, parasailing and animal massage.
Q – You do a lot of comedy improv and comedic acting. Would you say you’re more of an actor or a comedian?
A - I think I'm a hybrid. I liken myself to the cabaret-style performers who could sing and dance and act and do comedy, the way people like Jackie Gleason, Jerry Lewis, and Bob Hope used to be.
Q - It seems that comedians end up in movies or television or even on stage. Is that the main goal for a comedian?
A - I think the goal is to keep working and expanding the forum of your work. That naturally leads to mass media. I would love to do more movies and television.
Q – You’re also a successful author. When you’re a comedian and writer, you do most, if not all, the writing and preparation for your trade. But as an actor, you rely on others to complete and execute a project. How much difference really is there between the two trades?
A - I got into comedy to avoid the audition process. Comedy allows you to write and perform your own work, casting yourself. Actors spend a lot of time convincing someone to give them a job. There are pros and cons to both routes but I'm happy with my career path.
Q – Have you ever been in a situation where you’re just not feeling what someone else has written and decided to change the script?
A - Usually that's just a result of me not memorizing my lines. I try to deliver what the writer has written. I'm a writer so I have a certain respect for the process. It's a little bit arrogant to change the lines to suit yourself.
Q - How much luxury or flexibility to you have with scripted projects in terms of tailoring it to how you feel it should be?
A - I am usually cast on a project because the people involved are aware of what I do. If they want me to add some things into the script or improvise, I welcome that. Not all people enjoy that however.
Q – Being in the business for so long, what would you say you’re greatest accomplishment is?
A - Looking back over everything, I think the biggest accomplishment has been that I have made a living in the field I love. On an individual basis, completing my first novel was the most satisfying thing I have ever accomplished.
Q – Is there anything else you want to achieve before it’s all said and done?
A - I want to work until I die, then donate my body to science, preferably mad science.
Q – What are you promoting?
A - I am currently performing at the Stratford Shakespeare Festival and in the process of finishing my fifth novel for young readers, “The Prince of No Clan.” My album, “I Am A Human Man” is on iTunes.
Jason Tanamor is the Editor of Zoiks! Online. He is also the author of the novels, "Hello Lesbian!" and "Anonymous." Email Jason at firstname.lastname@example.org.
By Jason Tanamor