Here’s the lowdown on what he said:
TLR: I’m guessing you’ve never been to the Linfield campus before. Is that true?
Kirshen: I have never been to Oregon before.
TLR: What do you expect it to be like?
K: I know nothing about your school; I’m ready to expect anything from students wanting to listen to a show, to animals that I have to hunt with weapons.
No, I have no idea what to expect. You’re a liberal arts college, right?
K: And you’re in Oregon?
K: And that is as far as I’ve gotten so far on my research.
TLR: What is your comedic style?
K: I completely jump between styles and subjects. There’s one-liners; there’s stories; there’s politics; there’s just nonsense. Whatever happens to amuse me goes in the set.
TLR: Do you alter your performance for college audiences?
K: I never really go onstage with a set idea of what I’m going to talk about. In any particular gig, whether it’s colleges or whether it’s clubs or theaters or bars, or whatever, I like to run with the feeling of the place, improvise a bit, you know, pick and choose stories.
TLR: How do people react to your comedy?
K: Angrily. Angrily and violently; that’s the normal reaction, so anything that doesn’t end in like a violent riot where I’m needing a police escort out of the venue, I count as a win.
TLR: When did you begin doing comedy?
K: I was a big fan of comedy, and I was writing for this comedy paper. My friend James, who was writing with me, said he wanted to do a standup gig at this comedy night. We did our first gig together, and it carried on from there
TLR: Were you the class clown in school?
K: I wasn’t that stereotypical, always-cracking-jokes type; I was quite a nerdy kid in school — I did a math degree.
[Fun fact: Kirshen earned a math degree from the University of Cambridge. ]
K: I was good at [math] in high school. I think everyone should, at least once in their life, experience becoming instantly average at a thing they previously thought they were decent at. That’s what happened the very day I started at a university. I went from being at the top of the class to just nobody. You kind of go from being good among people who are average, and then you’re good amongst people who are geniuses.
TLR: Was comedy always the plan?
K: It wasn’t the plan. I’ve never really planned anything in my life, but I’m quite lucky to have found a job where that’s not necessary. It’s something I’d always been interested in. I’ve always liked comedy; I’ve always enjoyed the mechanics of it; I’ve enjoyed watching it, and I like making people laugh.It’s a ludicrous job to have, but I love it.
So, there you have it, straight from the funny man’s mouth.
Attending his performance in lieu of studying for final exams will be worthwhile, Kirshen said, especially since he came all the way from England for this performance.
“My show will be far more entertaining than being a success in life,” he said.
To learn more about Kirshen, visit his websites at www.facebook.com/MattKirshen or www.myspace.com/mattkirshen.
Septembre Russell/Copy chief
Septembre Russell can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.