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Alumnus turns degree into comedic career

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September 12, 2012

Alumnus Steve Holbert loves the sound of laughter, especially if he is telling the joke.Steve HolbertSteve Holbert

He sticks to a formula: Follow the pattern, craft the punch line and the delivery cannot fail.

“Building a joke takes work,” said Holbert, '11. “I like to let the audience figure out the joke, though. They have to work a little.”

The theatre and English major is in the business of laugh-out-loud fun, whether on the stage or on the job.

“English and theatre were the closest I could get to stand-up comedy,” said Holbert of Thomson, Ga. “Theatre taught me the art of performance while English taught me the art of editing.”

Within three and a half years, Holbert double majored in creative writing and theatre all while premiering dozens of his own campus performances.

Today, Holbert works as a lighting designer for the Drama Club at Georgia Military College in Milledgeville and administrative assistant in the Department of Music at Georgia College.

“My job as a lighting designer involves climbing a ladder while my administrative assistant position involves learning how to wear heels,” said Holbert.

A modern-day Robin Williams on the mic, Holbert naturally connects to audiences with edgy, entertaining humor.

This fall Holbert applied the knowledge he gained throughout his undergraduate studies during Georgia College Department of Theatre’s first “Stand-Up Comedy Night” in the Campus Black Box Theatre.

The graduate received the opportunity to showcase his crafty jokes alongside Atlanta comedians with national stand-up experience.

He joined the stage with Linda Sherbert, playwriting instructor of the Alliance Theatre in Atlanta who made Jay Leno laugh; Robin Henry, longtime journalist and writer at Tyler Perry Studios in Atlanta; and Mike Haun, up-and-coming comic named Atlanta’s and the Southeast’s funniest person.

“My set was autobiographical and covered topics like the liberation of house elves and the power of literacy,” Holbert said. “Having fantastic comedians from Atlanta come down to Georgia College saved the campus and local community gas, food and emotional abuse that comes with driving through Atlanta.”

Holbert has also helped Dr. Karen Berman, Georgia College theatre chair, co-write the play “The Birds,” a comedy satire about Occupy Wall Street and Tea Party teens fed up with America’s political system.

The ObamaRamaRomney comedy debuts at 8 p.m. Wednesday, Sept. 26, in Russell Auditorium.

“I wanted a smart, talented playwright as my co-writer,” said Berman. “I also wanted someone who was witty and could write jokes. Steve’s jokes are ridiculously funny.”

Holbert practices, performs and promotes his work through various venues. 

One of Holbert’s friends is taking his show “Red, White, Black & Blue” to the New Orleans Fringe Festival in November. The annual festival is a platform for emerging and established performing artists to provide fun, affordable theatre to the community.

Holbert also started independent film company Meadow Wolf Films with colleagues.

“Most of us plan to attend graduate school for writing, directing or acting,” he said. “We want to go into these programs with a body of work already produced and entered into film festivals.”

Classic comedians like Chonda Pierce, Rita Rudner, Phyllis Diller and Robin Williams have inspired Holbert to take his comedic career from theatre to film to TV.

He plans to become an executive producer after graduate school.

“I want to help through humor,” said Holbert. “Humor is the ability to find light in the darkest places and showing others that light. Having the ability to pay the bills would be nice too.”

ABOUT GEORGIA COLLEGE: Georgia College, the state’s designated Public Liberal Arts University, combines the educational experience expected at esteemed private liberal arts colleges with the affordability of public higher education. Its four colleges – arts and sciences, business, education and health sciences – provide 6,600 undergraduate and graduate students with an exceptional learning environment that extends beyond the classroom, with hands-on involvement with faculty research, community service, study abroad and myriad internships.

Founded in 1889, Georgia College boasts one of the most beautiful campuses in the nation with Corinthian columns fronting red brick buildings and wide open green spaces. Georgia College also offers graduate education at the historic Jefferson building in downtown Macon, at Robins Air Force Base and online.

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