Seán Cullen | The Canadian Encyclopedia


Seán Cullen

Cullen, Seán

 Seán Cullen, actor, singer, comedian (b at Peterborough, Ont 1965). Seán Cullen graduated from Peterborough Collegiate and Vocational School and began honing his knife-edged, wacky sense of humour at the University of Windsor, where he hosted a regular show on CJAM campus radio station.

By the late 1980s, Cullen was part of the musical threesome Corky and the Juice Pigs, making audiences laugh all over the world, most notably in Canada at Montréal's Just for Laughs festival, in Australia at the Melbourne International Comedy Festival, and in Scotland, where the group won an award at the International Comedy Festival at the Edinburgh Fringe. Cullen remained with Corky and the Juice Pigs for 13 years. They toured with, and often played as the opening act for, the Barenaked Ladies band. To get laughs, Cullen, whose voice is a rich baritone, would mix and match genres by using a deep voice to mimic Broadway-style singers such as Robert GOULET or by using a falsetto/nasal twang to imitate Neil YOUNG, Bob Dylan or the group R.E.M.

Cullen has appeared in such feature films as The Love Guru, Saint Ralph, Where the Truth Lies and Phil the Alien, which earned him the Canadian Comedy Award for best male performance in a film. He appeared numerous times in Montréal's Just for Laughs, has been featured on MAD TV, and performed in Mel Brooks' The Producers and at the STRATFORD FESTIVAL in A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum.

Cullen has entertained national audiences via CBC Radio's Simply Seán and appeared on the Royal Canadian Air Farce as well as in his own one-man show Wood, Cheese and Children, the children's series Monster Warriors, and his own Seán Cullen Show on CBC. Other television credits include the series Slings and Arrows, The Tonight Show with Jay Leno and The Ellen Degeneres Show; Cullen also made it to the finals on The Last Comic Standing.

After the birth of his first son, Cullen wrote the Hamish X series of novels for young adults. Following the birth of his second child he wrote The Prince of Neither Here Nor There.

Cullen's choice of subject matter for his standup comedy is wide reaching. He may joke about politics or food fads. He may allude to world problems such as famine or to social questions about the isolation of homosexuality. Often he uses a bizarre stream-of-consciousness style of patter that at first seems foolish but may also make audiences feel nervously uncomfortable even as they giggle.

Cullen's seemingly nonsensical songs are always cunningly tinged with insightful truths that are as funny as they are surprising. Whether aimed at cultural icons or at the ridiculousness of everyday life, the absurd lyrics are characterized by being both silly and profound at the same time.

Seán Cullen has won 3 GEMINI AWARDS: in 2001 for best performance or host in a variety program or series (Just for Laughs), in 2003 for hosting the Gemini Awards, and for best host for his appearance in What Were They Thinking? in 2006.