Long Stories For No Reason: John Cullen's new album will give you reasons to laugh
Vancouver comedian John Cullen releases his third comedy album, Long Stories For No Reason, this Friday.
The title for John Cullen's second comedy album, Long Stories For No Reason, came from a bit of pillow talk with his girlfriend.
"We were kind of laying in bed one night, just chatting about our relationship and stuff. She's pretty introverted and I talk a lot more than she does," said Cullen, who then asked his girlfriend if his chattiness annoys her.
"'Do you ever get tired of how much I talk?', and she said 'no, I don't really except for when you tell long stories for no reason."
Cullen thought that was such a great way of describing his jokes, which are all based on things that happened in his real life.
"I've always liked it when people are able to take an event that happens to them and turn it into a story that's relatable and funny to everyone… to make it into a shared experience."
In Long Stories For No Reason, the Vancouver-based comic comes clean about his road rage, his loathing for spin classes and his traumatizing appendix removal experience.
"I saw a 'one last car' sticker on a bike on the back of a car," Cullen shares "the most Vancouver thing" he's ever seen in the opening track "Hello, I Have Road Rage."
A comedian by night and teacher by day
"I've been teaching for longer than I've been doing comedy," said Cullen, who works as a high school substitute teacher. "This is my 12th year teaching and my tenth year doing comedy."
Being a substitute teacher allows Cullen more freedom and flexibility to pursue his night job as a comedian, he said. "If I get asked to do a festival or there's something big going on in comedy, it's easy for me to take days off of work."
"I love doing both and I have a passion for both sides. I try my best to keep it as even as possible."
In Long Stories For No Reason, Cullen explains the code red drill at school and breaks down the progression of a teacher's strike.
"We get one week, one week of Ethan just sitting at home stoned playing Call of Duty all day. And then you're like GET IN THERE," he says in "It's a Teacher's Strike."
Despite making fun of the Ethans, Aidans and Tylers in his jokes, Cullen said his students have shown great support for his comedy gigs.
"I've had former students and their parents come to my shows, that happened quite a bit," said Cullen, who sees it as a huge compliment.
Because he does most of his shows at 19+ bars and clubs, the students need to grow up a bit to see them.
"I made enough of an impact on them, I guess, that two years later they're like 'ok cool I'm 19 and I'm going to see Mr. Cullen do comedy," he said. "It's pretty awesome."
Staying creative while stuck at home
In addition to doing comedy and teaching, Cullen also has two podcasts. His main podcast, Blocked Party, is about to hit the 100th episode.
"We bring on a guest every week to talk about a time that they got blocked on social media," he said. "We're lucky we've got a pretty solid audience."
With live shows put on pause since the pandemic, Cullen said working on the podcast has been a creative outlet.
"Lots of creative people are stuck at home… everybody's trying to just scratch that creative itch," he said.
"Being creative and being funny [on the podcast] definitely helps to kind of scratch that itch… so that you don't miss performing as much as you might otherwise."
Last week, Cullen did his first socially-distanced in-person theatre show since the recording of the album. He was nervous about the audience's response.
"Are people even going to care about jokes right now? Because it feels like the landscape of the world has changed so much," Cullen said.
"It went well because… even though it is the pandemic and the world's changed, I think people are also happy to not think about that for a little bit."