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Award-winning comedian Sean Cullen is quirky and fun and needs a ride that suits his unique personality

sarah dea The Globe and Mail

Sean Cullen

Profession: Stand-up comedian and actor

Age: 45

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Hometown: Peterborough, Ont.

Notable achievements: He is a multiple Canadian Comedy Awards winner and has three Gemini Awards. Upcoming: He's performing at the 11th Annual Canadian Comedy Awards Gala, Best of the Fest Gala, at Winter Garden Theatre in Toronto on Sunday, Oct. 17. He's performing in Peter Pan at Stratford Festival until Oct. 31. He has a new children's book, The Prince of Two Tribes, coming out this month; his earlier novel, Prince of Neither Here Nor There, was nominated for the Toronto Book Award this year - the winner will be announced Oct. 14.

Sean Cullen hit the stage more than two decades ago as a member of the comedy troupe Corky and The Juice Pigs. In 1998, he went solo and never looked back.

The award-winning comedian is quirky and fun and needs a ride that suits his unique personality - that's why he drives a 2010 Ford Flex.

Why did you buy a Flex?

I have a couple of kids and my last car only had two doors. It was a '98 Jeep Cherokee. I bought it 13 years ago.

I did a commercial for Ford for their Sync system about a year ago and I got to drive around in a lot of Fords and I was impressed by how roomy it was inside. So I bought it - it was employee pricing so that was another good bonus. After the Jeep, this is like riding in a jetliner - it's amazing.

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My dad used to get these giant station wagons. We had five kids. The station wagon doesn't exist any more. I like the shape of this and it reminded me of that - it can fit seven people.

I like things that look a bit strange, too. I like things with a bit of character. I think it looks like a space shuttle.

What does a Flex say about you?

It says I am a man who likes to drive larger cars. It's something I feel secure in with my family.

It's a quirky vehicle and I think that suits me very well. It's very unusual. People ask you about it a lot.

You run into other Ford owners and it's, like, 'Ah yes, you and I, we get it!

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It's funny, in Stratford I see a million Pontiac Aztecs - I have no idea why, but there are hundreds of them. It's that kind of car - it's got that weird mystique. If you like it you really like it. It's like being a Beetle owner.

What was your first car?

My first car I bought when I was 15. I couldn't drive it yet. It was a 1967 MG Midget. Five-hundred dollars used.

My father revamped it for me and put it all together and I drove it for a few years. It's still at my home in Peterborough. I'm going to one day fix it up and get it going.

Are you handy mechanically - do you tinker with cars?

No! No!

My dad was an amazing mechanic. He's one of those guys who grew up in the depression and had to learn how to fix everything himself. He couldn't afford to get anyone to fix things for him.

I wish I had learned something from him. He wasn't a very patient guy. He wasn't a patient teacher, but he was very good with his hands.

Have you had any car mishaps?

I owned a used 1987 Range Rover when I was in California. I like big cars. I like tanks. It was huge and powerful. It was very old and once the safety brake didn't go on all the way and it rolled down my driveway and crashed into a parked car and totally destroyed it! Absolutely destroyed it and my car was fine. Not a scratch on it.

What's your favourite driving memory?

Those tours across the country were really amazing. Driving around Canada and getting to know people and see the country from a car is the kind of thing every Canadian person should do.

My father had a giant Dodge Monaco custom station wagon when we were growing up - it could seat nine. We would drive from Peterborough to Oshawa - no one else could ever drive their kid so my dad would have nine kids in the car driving to a soccer game. That was a wonderful memory.

He also hitched a trailer and we, all seven of us in our family, went down to Prince Edward Island. That was a really wonderful time. Cars in Canada - you're connected with them. It connects you with the landscape.

If I could bring you the keys to any car, what would it be?

An Aston Martin DB9. It's a pretty nice car, or maybe the Aston Martin from Goldfinger. That would be great, too.

What's your worst driving memory?

I was the only one who could drive when we were with Corky and The Juice Pigs. One of the other guys decided to get his 365 [learner's permit] He had driven a bit and thought he was ready.

We had just done a show in Ottawa and we had to drive to Winnipeg to do another show the next day. We had no time to stop - I was driving and I was so tired. I was just dying until I finally said just outside of Thunder Bay to Greg, 'Hey, can you drive? I need to rest.' He gets in the car, comes off the shoulder and drives along.

Up north, they have these passing lanes that suddenly widen and I said, 'Okay, indicate and let people go past you' and then he came to the end of the lane and said, 'Now, what do I do?' I said, 'Indicate and go back into the regular lane.' And he says, 'Ah, ah,' and he just spun the entire extended cargo van 360 degrees. We ended up facing the other way on the other shoulder.

I was wide awake. I drove the rest of the way. That was terrifying.

The interview has been edited and condensed.

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About the Author

Petrina Gentile is an award-winning automotive journalist - one of the few women who cover cars in Canada. Her life revolves around wheels. She has been writing for the Drive section since 2004. Besides auto reviews, she also interviews celebrities like Norman Jewison, Patrick Dempsey, Rick Hansen, Dean McDermott, Russell Peters, and Ron MacLean for her My Car column. More

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