Sean, how did you get into stand-up comedy?My parents got divorced when I was 9, and I went into depression for a while. One day while we were living at Camp Pendleton I was watching a comedy show and I remember laughing, and that made me feel much different than the way I had been feeling, and I liked that. The next day I went to class and tried making one of my classmates laugh, and when they did, I thought that was pretty cool.
What types of performances have you done?I’ve done stand-up at a few places in San Francisco. My first paid gig was a $40 job I did New Year’s Eve 2007, but the first gig I did was as a fill-in at a play we were doing. There was a time space that needed to be filled, and I jokingly said that I should go up and tell jokes, and the drama teacher said: “Go for it.”
Can you get the laughs?I’m pretty good at getting them now. The last two shows, I was relaxed, and it really helped a lot.
How about an example?One joke I tell a lot is a story about a conflict between myself and an airline attendant. She offered me a meal choice, only to tell me that they had already run out. We spent the rest of the flight taking subtle potshots at each other, only to end with her running over my foot with the drink cart.
What stand-up gag has gotten you the most laughs?I think the funniest set I ever did was on bed monsters. I think it’s because everyone can kind of relate to it in one way or another.
What bombed on stage and how did you shake it off?Everyone bombs on stage at one point or another, that’s just part of the comedy game. The worst bombing I had was definitely at the Brainwash, a coffee shop-laundromat in San Francisco. I got so nervous I forgot half of my joke and ended up rambling for five minutes. The audience, the other comedians, and my family were great though, very supportive, so I was able to shake it off pretty easily.
Who is your favorite comedian?Demetri Martin because his humor is really basic, low energy and dry and is not over-the-top, which I really like.
Do you use vulgarities?I try to stay away from that for three reasons. First, it limits your audience. Secondly, it can get distracting. And finally, if my dad is watching, he’ll give me the business once I’m off the stage. I can’t even say “shut up” in my house.
But you’re ready to graduate and move on?It will be nice to get out of high school, because up to this point everything has been planned for me, but now I get to make some more choices for myself.
College?Definitely. I tried applying to San Francisco State and the University of San Francisco, and they said I wasn’t “regularly admissible,” which I think is San Fran speak for a little too conservative. I think I’ll study journalism at community college somewhere near Camp Lejeune for a year and then search somewhere else.
So you want to become a comedian or a journalist?I want to give being a comedian a shot, but free bottled water and chicken wings won’t keep me performing at the small comedy clubs forever. That’s why a college degree is nice.
Know someone whose accomplishments, talents, job, hobby, volunteer work, awards or good deeds qualify them for 15 minutes of fame? How about someone whose claim to glory is a bit out of the ordinary — even, dare we say, oddball? Call Paul Newell at Stars and Stripes with the person’s name and contact information at DSN 229-3158 or e-mail him at: firstname.lastname@example.org
Job: Senior / Kubasaki High School, Camp Butler, Okinawa
Title: Stand-up comedian
Pacific readers: Know someone whose accomplishments, talents, job, hobby, volunteer work, awards or good deeds qualify them for 15 minutes of fame? How about someone whose claim to glory is a bit out of the ordinary — even, dare we say, oddball? Call Paul Newell at Stars and Stripes with the person’s name and contact information at DSN 229-3158 or e-mail him at: email@example.com.