3-Minute Interview: Joe Sears

The actor and co-star Jaston Williams play about 20 characters in “Greater Tuna,” the hit series of comedies about the “third smallest town in Texas” that began in 1981. The new fourth show, “Tuna Does Vegas,” runs at the Curran Theatre from Tuesday through June 28.

Haven’t the “Greater Tuna” shows played in San Francisco a lot? Yes, we’ve been here many different times. If you add it up, it’s probably about a year that we’ve spent here.

How have things changed since the first”Greater Tuna”? I was 30 years old when “Greater Tuna” began; now I’m 58. I really look the part of Aunt Pearl. Also, now I don’t go out as much as I used to. I’ll stay home and read a book.

Do you like the fact that “Greater Tuna” is often presented by community theaters? I love it! There are good character actors all across the nation.

Are there times when versions of the shows aren’t good? Yes, people are lazy sometimes; I’ve seen Bertha with a mustache. The key is not to mock the characters. … The satire takes care of the laughs. You can’t mock these people.

What do you and Jaston Williams want from the shows? Employment. We were members of a theater troupe; we had to write a play, we were so grateful for stage work. We never knew we’d be on Broadway. That was icing on the cake.

How do you keep the shows fresh? We just do. We’re both so scared someone will catch us with our pants down. I can’t do it 50 percent.

What are you looking forward to during your stay? The breakfasts in the theater district — Sears has the best corned beef hash; I've waited in line for it. And David’s Deli and Lori’s Diner, too.

lkatz@sfexaminer.com

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