Cameron Stirner is MFS’s new resident funnyman, and anyone who looks him over knows it instantly. Clad in a black leather jacket and a goofy smile, Stirner is the quintessential class clown. “I crack a lot of jokes, even if 90% of them don’t work,” deadpans Stirner. “I just like to make people laugh. Not sure if my teachers appreciate that.”
He’s loved being funny ever since he could remember, but Stirner, a freshman, didn’t really get into standup until early this year, when he performed at the sophomore-run Coffee House on October 16th. Buoyed by his success there—and success for a comic is defined by laughs, of which Stirner is rarely without— Stirner bided his time until February 18th, when he was able to showcase his comedic chops in front of the entire Upper School during the freshman-run Talent Show. And while there were a lot of great performances that night, no performance by a single individual received quite as enthusiastic a response as Cameron Stirner’s comedy routine.
There’s a glint in Stirner’s eyes just before he makes a joke that warns his audience they will never expect what he’s going to say next—but if it’s any comfort, Cameron doesn’t always know himself. “I do a lot of improv,” he says proudly. “The treehouse joke? I thought of it about thirty seconds before I stepped on stage.” In the spirit of improvisation, Cameron also knows how to move past mistakes and keep on rolling: “I actually did trip backstage, and I gave Mr. Thomson my guitar pick so I didn’t have one. But I just kept on going and tried to keep it funny.” Judging by the good-natured reaction of the audience, which accepted Cameron’s fumbles as an integral part of his self-deprecating routine and laughed right along with him, he certainly succeeded.
While Stirner’s comedy may seem spontaneous, that impression belies the hard work he puts in behind the scenes. An avid student of the craft, his comedic heroes include singer-songwriter Bo Burnham, from whom he borrowed two jokes in his set, one of them unintentionally; and British comedian Jimmy Carr, whose deadpan delivery and onstage presence influenced Cameron greatly. Beyond comedy, Cameron is also a writer. “I’m working on a sci-fi novel, hopefully soon to be a trilogy,” he explains. “The book is more serious than funny, so I think taking a break to work on my comedy helped me with both of them.” Also a guitar player, he integrated his music into the end of his set with a Bo Burnham-esque joke that rounded out his show nicely.
As for the future, Cameron hopes to continue pushing his comedic game. As for advice to other students wishing to follow in his footsteps, Cameron is wry yet enthusiastic, “On stage, if you want to do stand-up comedy, it’s definitely easier to be a bit of an extrovert. You have to be comfortable putting yourself out there. I took a few shots at myself on stage, but opening yourself up like that is part of being funny.”
As per his personality, Stirner ended his WordsWorth interview with a joke. “True story, that girlfriend joke I made on stage, about her saying ‘Slowly die and wither away’ when we broke up? That actually happened. It was incredible.” Sometimes, life writes the jokes for you.