Kyle Cease Delivers Comedic Talk on Overcoming Societal Pressure and Self-Doubt

Claremont McKenna College welcomed comedian Kyle Cease to the Marian Miner Cook Athenaeum on Thursday, Sept. 15, where Cease talked about overcoming life’s challenges, fighting the critic inside our head, and accomplishing the things we’re afraid of.

Ranked No.1 on Comedy Central’s "Stand-up Showdown" in 2009 for his television special “Weirder, Blacker, Dimpler," Cease captured the audience’s laughter from the moment he stepped on stage.

Cease talked about how “the problem with the world is that we think ‘we don’t know’ is a bad thing.” He said that when we let go of the pressure of what to say, what people think of us, and what could happen to us, we become “freer,” and, most importantly, we free ourselves from the expectations of needing to be our perfect selves and the fears of failure.

Cease noted that news and advertisements in our society constantly feed into our fears. He explained that the media makes us feel incomplete by telling us, for example, we’re not safe enough, not healthy enough, or not rich enough.

“They scare the crap out of you for 58 minutes [...] so they can sell you these ridiculous pills,” he said. “[Even though the] side effects may include death or bleeding from your butt. ‘Oh, well I won't have social anxiety so....’”

Cease suggested that the next time one has a negative thought, such as “What if they don’t like me?” they should instead embrace those thoughts and think, “Awesome,” “Cool,” or “I love that!”

Jenny Cang CM ‘17 said the talk took her by surprise.

“I loved how he brought students to the stage. That’s definitely not something regular speakers would do,” she said. “It was better than I expected it to be. I sort of expected it to be like a motivational speech, but I liked the comedy part of it.”

Cease also shared his morning routine with the audience: get up, sit in a chair, and do nothing but focus on one’s thoughts.

“The moment you stare at that thought, it starts to disappear,” he said.

Michael Boggess CM ‘17 called the talk a “a great change of pace.”

“I liked all the images he used. They’re very specific. And I think as a comedic speaker, that’s very important,” Boggess said.