When I was growing up and playing baseball, I wore the number 21 nearly every year. Twenty-one has a lot going for it: Blackjack, legal drinking age, seven times three, the century that means the future, and Roberto Clemente's jersey. I started to think 21 was pretty cool, and that my coaches must have realized my affection for that number. Not so. Our numbers only went from 21 to 34, and 21 was the smallest available. My number didn't mean Blackjack
I come from a short family as well. My parents remodeled the kitchen to set up hobbit-level shelves that even my 4'11" mother can reach, but she's still in constant danger of singing her arms trying to reach the top of the stove. My dad had to sell his first motorcycle because his legs were so short, he couldn't stop on even the slightest uphill slope. If a Keane is riding in the back, it's a near-guarantee you'll hear the phrase, "You can move that seat back. I got plenty of leg room."
My performing career was not without its height-related adventures as well. When I did musical theater, my height was a constant punchline. At age 12, and at 4 foot 9, I played "Sir Studly" in Once Upon a Mattress. In that musical, and indeed in nearly every musical I did as a teenager, there was a height-based joke at my expense. Here's the scene:
Choreographer: And at the end, the girls will all fall into the guys' arms.
Director: Hold on. What if we switch partners here, and put Sean with the tallest girl in the cast...
Choreographer: ...And then Sean falls into HER arms.
Director: Because he's so short!
Choreographer: He's the height of a girl!
Director: In fact, you can say Sean becomes a girl here.
Choreographer: He is completely emasculated right now.
Director: It's gonna be hilarious. OK, let's try this.
Choreographer: And one, and two, and three, and...
Director: Hold up right there. Sean, keep your knees together when you fall backwards. You look like a tramp up there.
It left a mark. And that's why I created The Six Feet or Taller Show, taking place tonight, January 8th, at 9PM, at 12 Galaxies. All tall comedians, and me. I'll be hosting, enjoying the stellar comedic stylings, and falling into Marcella's arms at the end of the night. Because I'm so short!
2565 Mission Street (at 22nd)
San Francisco, CA