Seán Cullen is a man of many talents. He sings, he acts, writes music and more. But his diverse career wasn’t born out of a desire to do as many things as possible – he does all of this because he has to.
“To be a comedian in Canada, you have to have a lot of different interests,” he says.
In the Great White North, more is better because we don’t have enough people to sustain a single discipline. As Cullen insinuates, there are only so many places one can do standup.
However, his multidisciplinary approach has served him well. Those who may not have heard one of his routines may have heard his voice on the animated series Jimmy Two-Shoes, or seen him act in Murdoch Mysteries. Maybe you’ve read one his Hamish X young adult novels.
“I like to create things and put something new into the world, rather than just trying to do what people expect.”
“I like to create things and put something new into the world, rather than just trying to do what people expect,” he says about his various ventures.
Cullen is about to embark on the Investors Group Comedy Tour, which takes place in September and October. After all he’s done, it’s a welcome return to the medium he loves most.
“Comedy is really a conversation,” he says. “It’s just so nice to be in front of three, four, five hundred people and watch their response and be able to feel their emotion and manipulate it in a way, and make everybody happy.”
Originally from Peterborough, Cullen, 51, started his career with the Canadian band Corky and the Juice Pigs in 1987 – a trio of musicians who played quirky, intelligent and funny songs for audiences across North America and around the world. It was in that band where he developed his comedic timing and where he learned that being different and unexpected can lead to success.
He started doing standup in the late 1990s and quickly cracked people up by exploring universal themes that resonate with all audiences. From wondering aloud why everyone always asks about the weight of newborn babies, to why Bond villains never have American accents, it’s easy to relate to Cullen’s comedic observations – and that’s helped him attract crowds on both sides of the border. Besides doing regular shows stateside, he also appeared on NBC’s Last Comic Standing, finishing sixth, and he’s performed on The Tonight Show with Jay Leno and The Late Late Show with Craig Kilborn.
When the Investors Group Comedy Tour ends, Cullen plans to get back to work on various projects, which include writing a kids’ book. “My six-year-old daughter needs a book, so that’s what I’m putting my mind to,” he says, having already written novels for his two other sons.
While Cullen has been at it for decades now, with YouTube, Facebook and other social media sites, his work, no matter the form, can be found and consumed by fans new and old. Because of that, he’s more in demand than ever before. “It’s a great time to be a comedian,” he says.