Success in funny reality
When Sequoia Slentz, owner of Cleanbox Entertainment in Laguna Beach, set his sights on the entertainment business nearly a decade ago, he never fathomed that his success would far exceed his goals.
The Laguna native, who was once the frontman for local punk band Yer Mom and who initially set out to produce punk albums and merchandise with the establishment of Cleanbox in 2001, is now juggling a reality TV show, concert bookings, music and TV promotions and a clothing line.
“I’ve learned that if you set out to do what’s important to you in life, you might not wind up doing just that, but you’ll find something along the way that will satisfy your original plans,” Slentz said.
He, in collaboration with Cleanbox partner and fellow Lagunan John Bovenizer (son of local artist, Helma Bovenizer, who built the “Another Beautiful Day in Paradise” bench in front of the city library), has wrapped up the 12th episode of their reality show, “On the Road with the Killers of Comedy,” of which the first six were picked up by Howard [Stern] TV and will air Feb 5.
Slentz had become a booking agent for the Killers of Comedy in 2006, when he learned through his graphic designer, Jason Bland, who also designed T-shirts for the Howard Stern Show, that the comedic cast (including Bob Levy, Yucko the Clown and Beetlejuice) needed an Orange County rep.
Cleanbox began designing the Killers of Comedy’s merchandise and managing all of their websites, and later bought the trademark to become the official booking agent for the show.
They’ve now put on more 60 shows nationwide, including a few with Stern sidekick and “Too Fat to Fish” author, Artie Lang.
During a comical fiasco that occurred while setting up for a stand-up show in Chicago (which involved a belligerent Beetlejuice, a bridal party and a video camera), the idea for a reality show suddenly occurred to Slentz.
“I thought to myself, this is even funnier than the real show,” he said. “I’ve got to find a way to make a reality show.”
He pitched the idea to Third Floor Films producer Michael Maccarone (who also played the child version of Stern in “Private Parts”) who decided it was film-worthy.
His career path, Slentz said, has unfolded through connections he’s made at each stop along the way.
“I really owe thanks to Chip and Chuck at the Sandpiper for giving me the opportunity to get this all started,” he said. “If it weren’t for them giving me a shot at booking shows, I probably wouldn’t be here.”
Cleanbox got its start by booking gigs like Harry Palmdale and Saint Ann’s for the Piper’s Monday night shows.
The owner of Gypsy Lounge, who frequented the Piper and was blown away to see that Cleanbox pulled in a crowd on Mondays, asked Slentz to do Wednesday night bookings at Gypsy.
Even with his busy coast-to-coast touring schedule, Slentz said he still makes time to do local bookings. It is Cleanbox who introduced bands likes Henheart and Ryan Crosby to the Piper, and Alice Wallace and the Greatest Cover Band Ever to Ocean Avenue Brewery.
“You never know when all of this will end,” he said. “I know I’ll always have a place at the Piper and in Laguna.”
Slentz is married to his high-school sweetheart, Leslie Christen Slentz. The couple lives in Dana Point with their 3-year-old son, Micah.
Cleanbox will host its fifth concert with the Fab Faux on Saturday at Orpheum Theatre in Los Angeles.
The Beatles Tribute band was founded by the bassist for the Late Show with David Letterman, Will Lee, and also features Late Night with Conan O’Brien guitarist Jimmy Vivino and drummer Rich Pagano. The band will be accompanied by the Hogshead Horns and Creme Tangerine Strings of Saturday Night Live.
For more information about Cleanbox Entertainment, visit www.cleanboxentertainment .com.
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