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Sharon Houston finds comedy in personal places on ‘Shuran Shuran’

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Sharon Houston - comedian, storyteller and longtime go-to girl for hidden camera TV shows (including MTV’s “Punk’d” and Oxygen’s “Celebrities Undercover”) - is celebrating a #2 chart placement for her debut comedy album “Shuran Shuran.” 

“I was afraid to look at the chart when it went on sale,” Houston told me during an interview. “One of my friends said ‘Do you want to see? Do you want me to tell you?’ When they told me it was at #2, I was very, very excited.”

The cover art for “Shuran Shuran” is a nod to iconic illustrator Patrick Nagel, best known for designing the cover art for Duran Duran’s 1982 album “Rio” and his classic female-form illustrations for Playboy.

“One of my girlfriends is a friend of Duran Duran’s and she tweeted the cover art to them,” Houston said. “Maybe they’ll stream the album on Spotify. Another friend told me I’m ahead of the curve because Urban Decay - the cosmetics company - came out with an ‘80s-throwback lipstick, lip-gloss color scheme with a Patrick Nagel print as the promo.”

Recorded over a series of weekends in West Hollywood, Houston’s album mines comedy from deeply personal places, including relationships, alcoholism and family origin.

“Right now, my favorite comedy subjects to explore involve looking deeper into my past and my ethnicity and how it relates to everyone,” he said. “I find that the things that seem different about us actually make us more the same.”

She’s also a huge fan of programming featured on Netflix.

“I have a new five-minute bit on ‘Ozark.’ I think it’s the best show I’ve ever seen. Basically, it’s me talking about how insane we all get when we find a new show that we love. I want to fight people who don’t watch what I watch! That’s how passionate I am about Netflix shows.”

Houston also shares some behind-the-scenes stories from her years of working on hidden-camera and court TV shows. 

“For years, I kept saying no to ‘Punk’d’ but when I finally said yes, it turned out to be the most fun and the best job I’ve ever had,” she said.

Houston’s endgame is to sell a show concept created by her; she says she stumbled into working on court TV shows almost by accident.

“A friend said they were looking for associate producers on ‘Judge Joe Brown,’” she said. “I needed a job and wanted to learn more about TV production. I love court shows. I love watching them and I love producing them. ‘Judge Judy’ is my favorite.”

Houston says that most court TV shows feature real cases which were filed in small claims court.

“People fight really hard in the courtroom because if the plaintiff wins, we’ll pay the settlement on behalf of the defendant,” Houston said. “That’s how we’re able to get people to appear on the show. You can sue someone in your local small claims court, but good luck collecting.”

Houston warns that not all court TV shows feature real cases.

“There are some fake court shows out there. Anything produced by entertainment studios features actors and all the cases are made up. They’ll put up a disclaimer saying that what you are seeing is based on real events. It isn’t. It’s all made up.”

As for the shows featuring real cases with real-life litigants, Houston cites “Hot Bench,” “Judge Judy,” “Judge Joe Brown” and “Judge Alex.”

Houston’s first job in television after she moved to Los Angeles was a 1999 guest spot on the sitcom “Everybody Loves Raymond.”

“I was so nervous when I was doing run-throughs, I was afraid I was going to get fired for flubbing my lines,” Houston recalled of her appearance in the show’s third season episode “Cruising With Marie.”

“That set could not have been kinder to me. Doris Roberts was beyond amazing. That woman was absolutely lovely. I’m really grateful that I had that experience.”

In 2014, Houston was a producer on the History Channel reality series “Down East Dickering;” she says she would love to visit the state of Maine.

“I so want to go to Maine,” she said. “I remember getting panicked calls from the cast at 5:00 am. The characters in Maine were so colorful. I love that Down East accent. I can’t do it but I love it. It’s such a beautiful state and I’m in love with Maine, but I’ve never been.”


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