Five Questions For Alum Mike Gibbons '85

Mike Gibbons is a multiple Emmy Award-winning comedy writer and producer, best known as the co-creator and executive producer of Tosh.0 on Comedy Central. His other work includes: The Showbiz Show with David Spade, The Ellen DeGeneres Show, Sports Show with Norm Macdonald, and Brody Stevens: Enjoy It, which he created with Zach Galifianakis for HBO. In 2015 Gibbons launched The Late Late Show with James Corden, for which he won an Emmy Award. Currently Gibbons writes and executive produces The Great Indoors, which he created for CBS. He is a graduate of Boston Univ. (BA '89) and New York Univ. (MA '94).

What are your fondest memories of Berkshire?

There are many... the times on the mountain, big games, dipping the grilled cheese sandwiches in a ketchup and mayo combo.... But more than anything it's the friends I made. I still see many of them at least once a year, often in Vegas where we fondly have no memories.

What are the most important life lessons that you learned as a student?

I gained a true appreciation of nature. It sounds so simplistic, but I didn't realize it fully while there. This appreciation and need for nature has stayed with me and grown. Also, I learned not to obsess over things that are beyond my control. Just kidding—that's all I do. My nighttime ritual is staring at the ceiling and listening to my mind shout, "You will never work again." I do that until I fitfully drift off to sleep, two hours later.

Can you tell us about your career and hobbies, and why you are passionate about them?

I had no idea what I wanted to do when I graduated college. I was okay at writing so I went into public relations, but that was far from fulfilling. I went to graduate school more as a stalling tactic than anything else. While in grad school, I would fax jokes to Saturday Night Live, which was the high point of my week. I didn't get a single joke on the show, but I still loved it. I didn't know you could make a living writing jokes, so I constantly dismissed it. Then I got a job at HBO On-Air Promos, and worked with some of the funniest people ever—Gary Shandling, Robin Williams, Louis CK, Bob Odenkirk. After three years there I knew I had to move to Los Angeles and try comedy writing. I'm still trying. As far as hobbies go, I already covered my nighttime ritual, right? So I guess I don't have any. But if I were to lie, I'd say tying my own flies.

How did Berkshire help you shape and pursue your goals?

Well, my goal was to have a goal. I never achieved that. Does Berkshire owe me a refund?

What advice would you give to today's students?

Don't be in a rush to leave. Hike on the mountain alone, even just once, and be intensely present. You will have that moment for the rest of your life, and there will be times when you would give a lot to be back in that moment. And, finally, don't get kicked out.