Sean Jordan [Interview]

I need to preface this introduction by giving a full on apology to Sean Jordan, one of my favorite working comedians of the now. I am writing this introduction on May 5th, 2017. As you will notice, that is just a few days shy of 5 months after this amazing interview was published. This is for two reasons: 1) I am a total dick and 2) (time for the excuses) I released this interview during my transition from southern Spain to the Suffolk region of England. And totally dropped the ball with the site for a few weeks during that transition. And Christmas was happening and stuff. So, again, my sincerest apologies to Sean Jordan, who again, is one of the finest comedians of the now that you absolutely must check out. Now for a more formal and deserving introduction.

God dammit I love Sean Jordan. He is exactly the kind of person I want to see standing in a room with the full desire to make me smile. His light-hearted take on life and the misery all around us is not only entertaining, but absolutely admirable. He comes from a time and place that I am very specifically familiar with. As a kid growing up in the late 80’s and early 90’s, moving into the teen years at the later part of the decade, it was a very specific time to be alive, and Sean Jordan can tell you all about it in a truly beautiful way. And, as die hard Jordan fans will already know, he hails from one of the most wholesome parts of the country you could ever imagine, yet have probably never experienced, the midwest. Specifically, Sioux Falls South Dakota. For anyone who has spent some time in South Dakota, you will automatically know that Sioux Falls is definitely the “big city” for that region. (Random fun fact: Ellsworth Air Force Base, based just outside of Rapid City, is the 5th largest “city” in the state of South Dakota). And what is the best thing about all of this? Sean has ZERO shame in any of this. And why should he? He loves what he does, where he came from, and is destined to delight audiences for decades to come.

Recently Sean Jordan has developed a worthy following as a “guest”, more of a co-host at this point, on the brilliant and creative podcast All Fantasy Everything, hosted by another brilliant comedian (hailing from my beloved (sort of) homeland…shout out to Beaverton!) Ian Karmel and also featuring a new favorite comedian of mine who is also a “guest” on the show David Gborie. If you haven’t listen to this amazing podcast, please fucking do it, right now. I mean, read this incredibly thoughtful and personal interview that Sean has graciously provided us. And then go and listen to the brilliance of Karmel, Jordan, and Gborie who have a synergy that is beyond comparison to anything you have ever heard before. I guarantee it.

So, again, with apologies to this very hilarious comedian, I would whole-heartedly love to (re)introduce to you all, the great Sean Jordan!

What made you decide you wanted to join the world of comedy? And what were some of your earliest comedic influences?

I honestly had no clue I wanted to be a comedian before I started. The first stand up show I went to was Bobcat Goldthwait and I absolutely loved it. I think I was around 23 or 24. I remember the MC being super funny and dry and I thought to myself that it was kind of how I was just in general. I think I mentioned something about wanting to try stand up while I was at work one day and then a coworker heard an ad on the radio for a comedy contest and he told me I should enter. I ended up entering and winning but not because I was any good of course. I brought something like 80 people to the show so they all just voted for me and that kind of sealed it. I did fucking terrible! I remember my first set pretty well and still have the note cards from it. Not a single actual joke, just a bunch of ideas that didn’t have punch lines or anything. As bad as I did though I was still super into it from jump. It was one of the best feelings in the world getting off that stage and just thinking “I did it, I actually got up there and told jokes to strangers.” Nothing has ever made me more nervous in my entire life and I love that feeling. I still get nervous but in a good and exciting way.

My earliest influences were the comics that came to the club that I really enjoyed. I still love them to this day. Tommy Johnagin, Brendon Walsh, Andi Smith and Brett Erickson to name a few. A couple years in I started to pay attention to people like Doug Benson, Paul F. Tompkins, Sarah Silverman and people from that class.

So, what was the stand up scene like when you started out in Sioux Falls, South Dakota where you are originally from? Were there any other local talents in such a specific area of the country?

The scene was VERY small in Sioux Falls. There were 2 other comedians that actually lived in Sioux Falls when I started. There were 0 open mics so the only place to work was the comedy club as a host for the shows. The only way to get to host was to win the contest pretty much. After I won they invited me to start hosting. Looking back that was a horrible way to start developing material but it was fantastic to get comfortable in front of people. I was doing 1 or 2 shows a week and gradually one of the comics kind of fell off so it was just myself and another kid who would host shows. I started doing 4 or 5 a week and he would cover 1 or 2. My friend Jon started doing stand up a year or so after I did so then he would do a show or 2 a week as well. Eventually the club closed and there was nowhere to do stand up in town. I know that sounds ridiculous but there was literally nowhere doing shows or open mics for 2 or 3 years! That’s pretty much why I moved. I hadn’t done stand up for years and I was bummed because I knew it was what I wanted to do. That ultimately brought me to Portland which ended up being the best decision I’ve ever made.

The scene in Sioux Falls is getting a lot better now though. There are a handful of very good comedians, open mics, a record store called Total Drag that is amazing about putting on shows and a comedy just opened back up in town. I love all of that.

In 2009 you became a Portland transplant. What made you want to move to the PDX area? Did you know any comedians working out there? And what was your overall thoughts on the comedy scene out there?

The reason I moved to Portland was kind of touched on in the last question but I’ll dive in a little deeper. Portland was never the destination, I just knew I wanted to leave Sioux Falls. I had never really left before so I was kind of scared to go on my own. I had some friends who decided to move from Sioux Falls to the west coast but they didn’t know where. I told them if they moved and got a place to stay that I would come live with them as soon as they were settled. They tried San Fran but couldn’t find a place or jobs so they just ended up going up the interstate to Portland and found a pretty dope spot. I look back on it and it was in an amazing part of the city for pretty cheap considering it’s Portland. They moved in and had an extra room just sitting there! I got pretty lucky with my job as well because they had a branch in Portland I could transfer to. So in the middle of a recession I got to move to Portland with a dope place to live, 2 of my best friends in the world already there and a job waiting for me. It couldn’t have been a better situation. I didn’t know any comedians at the time but I ended up doing another comedy contest in 2010 in Portland and met a bunch of people that would end up being my friends to this day.

I moved to Portland at the exact right time for comedy. The scene was always good but in 2010 they started the Portland comedy contest up again so I made it just in time for that. The next year The Bridgetown Comedy Festival started up again after a year hiatus and Helium Comedy Club opened up. Those 3 things really pumped some life into the scene again and I got to be there for the start of all of it. I was very fortunate in that way.


You recently moved once again to what seems like the most logical place, Los Angeles. Looking back on your experience in the Rose City, how you do feel about it? And what was your main reason to move to L.A.?

My experience in Portland was probably the best time of my life so far. The excitement of leaving Sioux Falls for the first time made the summer of 2009 the best ever for so many reasons. Then i moved to Portland and learned how to live away from home and also learned so so so so much about stand up and what kind of person I was. It taught me so many life lessons and I’ll always love Portland for that.

I’m excited to be in LA for the same reason. The possibilities are endless here and it’s just another chapter in my life. It’s been almost the same situation here in that my best friend had a room that he wasn’t using that I just moved into. So I got to come to LA and instead of having to search for a place I had a room here with a friend built in. If it weren’t for that I honestly might not have lasted here. I moved because I was just thinking that if I don’t now then I never will. I don’t want to look back and think “what if?” So I said fuck it and moved. I didn’t have a job waiting for me or anything, no manager or agent but I do have confidence in my ability and hopefully that’ll be enough 🙂 Things have a way of working out and that’s what’s been going on since I got here. I’ve never been more nervous about life or worried so much about money but that’s kind of part of the deal I think. This city can break you down and you have to realize why you do stand up. If you’re in stand up to make money or get fame then chances are you’re in the wrong business. It can certainly happen but I feel it only happens to the people who are in it for the love of the game which is something this city will pound into your head. I’ve been here for almost a year now and it’s very hard. I stick in there because I love doing it though and I feel like as long as you work hard and work for the right reasons that good things can and will happen.

While we are discussing your continuous globetrotting, would you be able to enlighten our readers as to where some of your favorite places to do stand up are? Are there any middle land areas that surprise the left and right coasters of the country?

Performing can be fun anywhere! It’s such a universal thing that everyone enjoys. My favorite places to do stand up are Minneapolis, Denver and Portland. I’m sure that comes as no surprise to anyone 🙂 I’ll say this, the first club I ever did a feature set at was in Peoria IL and it’s still pretty fun there. I don’t think a lot of people would see that one coming. Also Madison WI. They have one of the best clubs I’ve ever worked! It’s a college town so it’s very fun to go to. Tell jokes, walk around campus, get drunk with college kids and grab some late night pizza! Do that for 4 days and then go home and sleep for a week 🙂

You have been one of my favorite comedians to appear on the brilliant contest driven podcast Doug Loves Movies, hosted by Doug Benson. I am always excited to notice that you will be on the show. So how do you enjoy your appearances on the podcast? Is it as fun as it sounds like it is?

I absolutely love going on DLM and it is as much fun as it sounds. Doug has helped me out in stand up more than I could have ever asked for. So when I was in Sioux Falls bar tending and not doing stand up because thee was no club, Doug texted me out of the blue one day. I got a text saying “Hey, I’m in town. We should grab a drink.” I had no clue who it was but it turned out to be Doug and he was in town doing a college. He ended up coming to the bar I worked at after and talked to me a little about moving. He said that I needed to and wherever I ended up he would do his best to help me out. When I was in Portland he let me open for him at a theater which was my first big theater show, he pretty much got me into the comedy club as a regular act and had me on DLM for the first time.
So what does the future hold for Sean Jordan? Anything you would like to plug here?

I don’t really know what the future holds 🙂 I’m trying to get writing jobs and late night sets of course but it’s a pretty long process. I’m just gonna stick it out in LA and work my little pooper off! Hope for good things.

The only thing I wanna plug is stand up comedy in general. Go watch some live stand up and enjoy it 🙂

What was the last thing that made you smile?

Doesn’t take much to make me smile 🙂 I got coffee today and walked around the mall a little and there was a kid in a stroller with little antlers on his head. That made me smile BIG. I love the holidays.

About rontrembathiii
write. write. write.

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