Once a felon and now a “born again comedian,” Dean Schardan is really turning his life around. The man has not had it easy and it’s not because cruel people paved a tortuous road for him; unfortunately he’s the one who put himself in such terrible situations.
In 1999, just four nights before he was to marry for the second time, Schardan executed a plan to rob from four different banks. “I gave up on life,” Schardan had said about his attitude. “If I got caught, I was going to have a shootout with the cops. That’s how dark it was for me.”
The authorities eventually tracked him down, but no shootout occurred. Schardan served an excruciating seven-year jail sentence. When he was released, he tried to walk the straight and narrow, but it would only take six months for Schardan to find his way back into prison for writing a bad check.
“I came back home at 37, not a penny in the bank, wearing secondhand clothes. I was angry.”
After his second release, Schardan received court-ordered therapy and met an accepting girlfriend. Combined they both helped him fight his demons. But as cliche as it may sound, comedy was the cure that led Schardan back on track. He began performing at packed clubs and did so well audiences were willing to pay $17.50 a pop just to hear his jokes.
Thus far, his short comedic career has been a success, and with his past behind him, he’s attempting to move forward with a reality show.
The show – which is tentatively called The Long Road Home - reveals the story of a comedian who’s life went off course but is turning things around by doing good for others. Some of those helpful things include volunteering and giving back to the community. Stltoday.com says, “Now, three cable networks are interested. They want a six-minute pitch video first. The production crew also is assembling a full pilot episode from the 80 hours of footage.”
At the age of 40, Schardan feels that he has finally grown up and the show would be a constant reminder of the mistakes he has made. With this show, Schardan plans to help the communities in every city he performs in, and hopefully encourage other comedians along the way.
Art Vleuf, Shardan’s manager and a local comedy club owner, said, “I think the show has a shot. It’s a long shot. But it’s a calculated long shot.”
If the show bombs, Schardan says he’ll keep his newfound positive attitude. “If Hollywood looks at it and says it’s a horrible idea, we’ll continue to give back. In my life, I have a lot to give back for.”
Watch Dean discuss his reality show here:
About the Author: I have a Bachelor's of Arts in English/Creative Writing and minor in Dance with the aspirations to become a young adult fiction writer! Of course, in my spare time I freakishly love cleaning, taking photographs, watching a good movie, dancing like a baboon and having a mad crush on Andy Samberg. I believe comedy is vital and am excited to be a part of AmericasComedy.Com!