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Kevin Soja

Claude Stuart '91

Claude Stuart ΚΌ91 has been blessed to pursue a career he loves. You can sense it the moment you hear his voice.

In addition to performing stand-up comedy routines, the professional comedian currently writes jokes for the game show “Funny You Should Ask,” which began airing in 2017 and features guest stars such as Howie Mandel, Jon Lovitz, Tiffany Haddish, and Louie Anderson.

Born in Greenville, Miss., Stuart spent his high school years as a boarding student at the Gow School in western New York before doing a postgraduate year at Berkshire. His year under the Mountain was the perfect blend of structure and independence—exactly what he needed before enrolling at Southern Methodist University in Dallas, Texas. “The best decision I made,” proclaims Stuart of his Berkshire experience.

While earning his degree in communications, Stuart competed in and won a comedy contest called “Funniest Person at SMU.” He also gained notoriety for his work on “Shark Man and the Dirt Clod,” a nationally syndicated radio show produced by Dallas-based station Z-Rock, where he worked as an intern. From there, he shifted to stand-up comedy and after graduating from SMU in 1995, he moved to Los Angeles to begin auditioning for television and film roles. 

Los Angeles has been home for Stuart ever since. He and his wife, Heather De Sisto, are proud parents of their six-year-old son, Claude V. And, from what Stuart shares, it appears the two of them have a budding comedian on their hands, and that’s no joke!

Learn more about Stuart’s successful career in comedy and entertainment in the Q&A below:

What led you to a career in arts and entertainment?
I was always the class clown. I absolutely LOVED performing and would do it for any possible audience who would give me their attention. I knew from a very early age that I wanted to pursue comedy; I didn't know right away whether it would be stand-up or improv or sketch, but comedy has always been my first love.

What has been the most rewarding professional experience for you thus far?
Professionally, I've accomplished a lot of things I’m proud of. I've been on TV shows like "The Tonight Show," "That 70's Show," "Scrubs," and "Will & Grace," and I've worked with some of my favorite comedians and comedic actors like Dennis Miller, Jerry Seinfeld, Vince Vaughn, and Tim Allen. I'm currently starring on an Amazon Prime show and a show on The Weather Channel. I think what’s most rewarding is the fact that I'm dyslexic and have always had tutoring support as a kid, yet now I write for a TV show and have gotten close to 400 jokes on the air. I honestly never would've predicted that. And trust me, neither would any of my teachers!

Claude with his wife, Heather De Sisto

How did Berkshire help you shape and pursue your goals?
My teachers always championed my strengths (like English and public speaking) and worked with me to improve my challenges (like chemistry and anything involving math). They were very motivational and inspiring while also being tough and firm. I needed and learned from all those qualities. Berkshire offered classes and activities that genuinely fascinated me and led me to my career, including talent shows, improv classes, courses where all the students wrote and performed a play for the entire school, and it even had its own radio station. 

One of my best friends and I had our own radio show in 1990-91, and just a few years later, I was writing and co-hosting a nationally syndicated morning radio show. Berkshire was an unbelievably effective training center for me. My friends agreed with this sentiment. If you had a passionate interest, Berkshire gave you an opportunity to pursue it.

What are your fondest memories of Berkshire?
I immediately thought of how happy and proud I was to graduate, but I promise that didn’t mean because I was leaving the School! I loved all of the opportunities I was given to perform in front of live audiences, the variety of sports offered (I played tennis and ran cross country), the enthusiasm of the teachers and how much you could tell they loved their jobs, being able to order pizza and sub sandwiches at night (for some reason, that was absolutely AWESOME!), and the dances were so much fun. What makes me smile the most, however, is the camaraderie among so many of the kids I met there. That kind of friendship is priceless.

What advice do you have for our current Bears?
Three things come to mind: 1) It's not where you go, it's who you're with;  2) Trust your first instinct; 99% of the time, it's the right one; and  3) Whatever career you pursue, make sure that you love it with all your heart. If you don't, it's not worth all that time and energy. Plus, when you love your job, you always do it better.