Sean Kent of Modern Dads Responds to Being Called Moronic by His Interviewer.

Sean Kent and his family, Joopsy, Rachel and Arwen hang out with Lucy the dog.

Sean Kent and his family, Joopsy, Rachel and Arwen hang out with Lucy the dog.

Sean Kent, the funny one on A&E’s new show Modern Dads, talks with Jason Moles about surviving cancer, being a step-dad and gender differences.

Jason Moles: Hey Sean, thanks for taking the time to answer a few questions for our readers. The show focuses on four stay-at-home-dads. How did you guys meet and were you all good friends before the show started?

Sean Kent: I met Stone waaay back in High School. We ran in similar circles.
Plus Stone went to Austin High which had much higher quality parties than the Southern Baptist school I was going to. We lost touch after I left for LA in ’95.
I met Nate in college at the University of Texas. We sort of lost touch for a while to but maintained a friendship.
When I moved back to Austin a couple years ago we all reconnected because we were all doing a similar thing in our lives again. Only this time it wasn’t partying, it was raising kids. As I like to put it – Stone and I used to chase girls together and now we are chasing them again, but this time it’s because one won’t put her jacket on to go to school and the other one won’t give me back my iPad.
As for Rick, I think we got him off of Craig’s List under “Used Furniture”. Just kidding. Nate met him at a dad function and he’s been part of our little crew ever since. We love the guy. He’s our glue.
So to answer your question – yes we were  friends before. Hopefully we will stay friends now that we are international superstars the likes of which haven’t been seen since Julio Iglesias.
JM: You’re a step-dad of two kids. How’s that working out for you? Do you face any specific struggles that the other guys don’t?

SK: It’s working out great. I survived cancer twice and the chemo I went through during my bone marrow transplant made me completely sterile. So to find the love of my life in Rachel while she was single and raising super young kids was a fortunate thing for a guy like me indeed. In fact those kids are the greatest thing that ever happened to me.

It’s interesting the way a man’s mind can work about fatherhood.
I never thought I’d get to be a dad and I never planned on being one. I just figured with my lifestyle as a comic and also having all my “kids” stored in a sperm bank that children were a long shot. It didn’t actually bother me much.
But now that I am a dad I can’t imagine NOT being one. I’m sure other dads will relate to that feeling. Obviously you expect your life to change when you become a dad, but the level of change you undergo is hard to explain to someone who hasn’t experienced it.
My kids have made me a better person and a more complete man. I love them beyond anything I could have imagined. I always heard other dads talk this way and I thought it was an exaggeration. But it’s not.
As for struggles…
Rachel and I aren’t married yet so even though I’ve been raising the girls full time for years, my legal status is I’m their mom’s boyfriend. That brings up legal concerns that the other guys don’t have to consider, like what if there was a medical decision or something. But they know and I know that my status is that I’m their daddy. Always will be.
JM: The title of the show is ‘Modern Dads.’ Why aren’t there any dads on the show who hold down a 9-5 somewhere but are still actively involved fathers?
SK: Well there are working fathers on the show. They just don’t show us at work because the show isn’t about our jobs, it’s about parenting. There are absolutely a million different types of dads who deserve representation in popular culture. However we are a show that is focused on a group of four dads who are friends and live in Austin.
Stone works from home and Nate is a professional photographer who also works at home. I work as a comedian 9 or so days a month on the road. But that means I’m home 21 or more days a month. During that time I’m full time fathering. I father when I’m on the road too. We will do homework together by Skype. [Ed. Note: That's awesome.] Whatever it takes to stay involved.
So to answer your question – in reality three of the guys work a job of some sort. Rick is a traditional SAHD but my God, raising four kids sure is hard work, isn’t it?
JM: In the premiere episode, you guys all take your kids to the park and then one of you says, “Are they alive? Cool, let’s look at our phones and check our fantasy leagues.” Is this how you truly approach parenting or was this something the producers wanted you to say in hopes of getting a few chuckles out of it?
SK: No, that’s not how I parent. You may have missed the parts of the show where I talked about how my kids are everything to me or perhaps that one joke threw you off the scent.
Here’s what I was doing – I was making a hyperbolic statement in order to illustrate the hyper-communicative tendencies of women’s groups versus naturally taciturn men who spend time together. The show used it as a segue to commence the scene where we are at the park. That’s about it.
The producers have never once told me to say anything. This show is entirely unscripted. We told them from the beginning and they promised us in the early days of development they would not paint us into something we are not. What you see is what you get.

If we were made out to be something we weren’t then people would sniff that BS out right away. But people have really latched on to the show and seem to root for us because they see us caring about about being good dads an supporting the women in our life. It reminds me of a Bill Cosby type vibe in a way, only there are four of us and Rick is the only one eating pudding pops.

JM: Do you think that statement and all that it implies is an accurate representation of modern dads in America? Is that a good thing or a bad thing in your opinion?

SK: It wasn’t a statement. It was a joke. You could never in a million years represent all the fathers in America with one sentence. Are “modern dads” better fathers than fathers a generation ago? I think that’s a case by case situation. There have been good and bad fathers through every generation.

Perhaps one difference is our generation talks with each other more and has access to more information about the challenges of fathering. So maybe we are more helpful to each other than past generations in that we are all learning from shared failures and successes.
I’m pretty sure that when my father was growing up in the Depression his dad didn’t attend any seminars or read too many books on parenting.
JM: I’ve written about things you should never say to a dad and as a SAHD, I’m sure you’ve heard worse. What’s the most annoying thing people say to you?
SK: People who call a stay at home dad lazy. That would never happen to a stay at home mom. Raising kids is hard work no matter what gender you are.
JM: What is the one thing you wish more people would understand about today’s dads who are competent, nurturing, and skilled at raising kids?
SK: I wish people would recognize that SAHDs and highly involved Dads are some of the most valuable resources society has.
It can be an economic nightmare to try and raise a kid on one income or to shift careers in order to stay home. But kids benefit greatly when a family is able to do this. A child needs  a ton of time from their parents and a ton of guidance to turn into a successful, positive, thoughtful adult. If a family is able to provide that time then whatever form it takes should be applauded. A dad changing diapers all day is not someone who’s unemployed or chooses not to work. He’s not someone to be mocked. He’s a guy who’s very lucky that he is able to do that. He’s a guy who was smart enough and secure enough in his masculinity to put parenting ahead of his career. SAHDs and highly involved dads rock. :)
JM: Some critics, including myself, weren’t too fond of the first episode. What do you have to say to them and why should anyone keep watching?
SK: I know you didn’t like it. You called us “moronic” on Twitter. That doesn’t usually indicate enjoyment or fondness. Or were you being coy? You minx, you. We did get very nice reviews in Salon, Slate, the San Francisco Chronicle, The LA Times and the NY Post to mention a few. They seem to enjoy our show because it’s a positive, comedic portrayal of fathers who care very deeply about their kids. I think that’s enough to recommend it to anyone.
As I was writing this I was multitasking on my phone and a young man tweeted me that our show makes him want to be a father. That’s about the best review I could get.
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Catch the newest episode of Modern Dads on Wednesdays nights at 10:30pm EST.
You can follow Sean on Twitter at @SeanKent and on Instagram at SeanKentComedy. If that doesn’t satisfy your stalker urges, you can poke him on facebook or make his web site your homepage.
 
Catch his stand-up routine in Vegas on September 9-15 at the MGM.
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