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Last Comic Standing: An Interview with Sean Kentby Dale Sherman -- 08/04/2003
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Sean Kent may have been the first person voted off of Last Comic Standing, but like him or hate him, he made a lasting impression on the show. Even so, the viewers never really got to know much about him, especially in light of how quickly he left the series. Sean’s side of the story is a bit different than how it was captured on the show, and I came away from our interview with the feeling that Sean is a good, funny guy who got the short end of the stick on the show.
In this interview done on July 29th, Sean talked to me about a variety of topics, including how he started in standup, his tryouts for the show, how he related to the other contestants, and – of course – what he thought of his head-to-head competition with Dave Mordal.
RealityNewsOnline: We never got much of an opportunity to get to know you – you were there, and then gone – so I wanted to get some background on you. When did you get into standup?
Sean: I was working at a coffee shop in Los Angeles where they had an open mic and the people there were really kind of bad, as most open mics are. So I decided that I could do at least that bad, you know? And I was for a long time. But from the moment I got my first laugh on stage, I was hooked. Almost everybody can tell you… it took me about 8 months from the day I started to about 8 months later I passed as one of the regulars at the improvs. I had some early success that encouraged me to keep going. That’s how I got started.
RNO: So when you started doing this you thought “this was the career for me?”
Sean: Well, I didn’t know if I wanted it to be a career, I just thought, yeah, I really like doing this – let’s see where this takes me. I’m not one of those guys who wants to travel around for the rest of his life going to different towns and doing his act. I’d rather be a writer than a performer at this point. So I don’t know if I ever thought it would be a greatest career, it was a lot of fun; it was helping me get attention in a way that I haven’t been able to manufacture before.
RNO: How did you find out about the show?
Sean: You know the two guys who did the booking for the initial comedy competitions? The initial screenings? Ross and Bob? I have known Ross for awhile and before he was the booker for the tonight show he came over to my apartment to play poker.
And it was funny that at the time I was living with Brian Dunkleman, who you might remember as one of the hosts from the first season of American Idol. So I guess there’s a reality show corridor in the valley now. You can go see the stars homes over the hill and if you want to go to the other side of the hill and see the apartments rented by the reality show stars, you know that would work out.
Ross told me about the show and I thought it sounded ludicrous. Then over the next couple of days I heard more and more people talking about it. Then finally I called Ross and asked him, “All right, what’s this show about?” He said, “Oh, now you want to hear about it?” So he told me about the audition.
RNO: When you did the L.A. show, what was it like? I actually talked to one of the contestants who was part of the New York one, who told me some of the details about the New York show.
Sean: Well, the L.A. show took about five or six hours to film, at least. They actually split us up into two groups of 13 and then split us up even more from there. Half way through the show, they refreshed the audience [brought new audience members in]. Because, you know, it’s not fair to compare the laughs that somebody’s getting – who’s performing in front of people who’s been there for six hours against the guy who’s gone up first.
They split us up into groups of five – they would take us downstairs, and then everyone else was in a soundproof room so you couldn’t watch or see how the others were doing. Because were all upstairs behind this glass. You would only know how good you were against those in the group with you. So that was kind of trippy. You were in the room until they called your group in. I went up second, which was really weird. I was 19th in Vegas; I went up second to last.
I had a great time, and I had a great set – they only showed one joke from it on the show, but I did my three minutes and I had a great time.
RNO: Do you think that going on second was much better than having to go 19th in Vegas? Was there more pressure?
Sean: No, I don’t think it was. You know what, in competitions you can’t place how well you do or don’t do based on extraneous factors. Like what position you’re in. Because look at Dat Phan – he went 20th and last in Los Angeles and Las Vegas. Is last bad? Well yeah, the audience is more tired; but yeah, you’re fresher in the judges’ minds. If you go up earlier you’re going up in front of a more receptive or fresher audience, but at the same time and they won’t have anyone to compare you to. Like “he’s not as funny as the last guy,” but then you worry if the judges won’t remember you once you get to the end. It’s incumbent upon any comedian who’s any good to get up and do three minutes and get laughs. It doesn’t matter if you’re 50th.1 2 3 4 5 Next-->
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