Comedian comes back to his alma mater for performance

“It makes you feel proud to come back.”

Comedian and St. Cloud State University alumnus C Willi Myles returned to his alma mater April 5 to perform for the community in Ritsche Auditorium. Hundreds from campus as well as St. Cloud attended the performance.

It was a happy homecoming.

C Willi Myles performing comedy“For every comedian that went to college … our dream is to come back to where your career started,” Myles said. “It makes you feel proud to come back to your alma mater and know that you made something of yourself. That your education here wasn’t a waste.”

Originally from Alabama, Myles attended St. Cloud State in the 1970s and ’80s, majoring in psychology and theater. He then worked with the University’s athletics department recruiting student athletes before he pursued becoming a comedian full time. His comedy draws from his own life experiences, and he said his time at SCSU was integral to his success as a comedian.

“If it wasn’t for St. Cloud and St. Cloud State, I don’t know if I would be doing exactly what I’m doing right now,” he said. “What I learned from people, what I learned from this community, what I learned from this area, what I learned from this state — there’s no way that I could’ve learned that anywhere else.”

Myles got his first chance in the spotlight on campus, emceeing talent shows for B-SURE, the Black Student Union for Racial Equality. He was a fan of “Soul Train” and wanted to be Don Cornelius.

“This is literally where it all started for me. Coming back to this campus, it means the world to me,” he said. “Standing in front of students and professors and people from the community that I went to college with here, to come back and see what they did for you by supporting you for your first couple of years, not knowing that you’d be doing this 28 years later.”

Since launching his career, Myles has opened for the likes of The O’Jays, Aretha Franklin, Ray Charles, Fleetwood Mac and Brad Paisley, among many others. Billed as “America’s Everyday Comedian,” Myles prides himself on telling stories that make everyday people laugh and feel good. He stays away from polarizing subjects such as politics, and in doing so said his audience ranges from 9-year-old children to his 97-year-old mother-in-law.

“Everybody feels better when they’re laughing,” he said. “Everybody wants to laugh. Laughter, it’s just good for your soul. It really is.”

C Willi Myles performingMyles’ stories and observational humor are inspired by his own experiences, and he said he draws a lot of inspiration from different jobs he’s worked and from his time in college.

“If I hadn’t went to school here, none of that stuff would’ve ever happened to me like it did,” he said.

Myles said it took time to build his comedy into a successful career, and that he chose success over fame. He didn’t and doesn’t want to be on TV or in movies; he wants to lead a normal life with his family and friends.

“All I wanted to do was entertain, and be able to come home and help raise my kids,” he said. “Anything I get out of comedy is a bonus because I’ve already exceeded my expectations.”

Myles said his success was not accomplished on his own. Numerous people and places have played a role over the years — a number of them from SCSU.

“I had so much help. I hate when I hear people say ‘I did it all on my own.’ I did not,” Myles said. “There were so many professors, coaches, administrative people who talked to me about my life, and community members. You’ve got to have an open heart and an open mind if you want to be successful in life.”

“I’ll never forget St. Cloud for reaching out to give me an opportunity to go to school here, because my life wouldn’t be the same, had I not went here.” 


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