Sophomore Paves Way for Career in Latenight

by Haylee Barber

Gregory Bordelon never finishes a tour of Chapman University without a posse. Using a monologue of jokes, irreverent stories and high fives for those in the crowd, Bordelon’s mission is to inform, amuse and build his fan base.

Often, the tours end with Bordelon handing out makeshift business cards and hugs to a round of applause.

Bordelon hopes this is practice for the big leagues.

As the world of late night television evolves to include Stephen Colbert and Jimmy Fallon, Bordelon is constantly preparing for a future in entertainment. While the “next” generation of late night has already arrived, the next, next, generation is waiting in the wings.

And that’s where Bordelon comes in.

Photo by Haylee Barber.
Photo by Haylee Barber.

At 5’11, with a Conan-esque chin and Fallon-like smile, Bordelon, a 19-year-old sophomore television major from Dallas, has been interested in entertaining people since he can remember.

“When I was 14, I started a YouTube series called The Gregory Show,” laughs Bordelon.

“I made content for my friends and family, hoping to one day be the next big thing. Eventually I realized Black Eyed Peas parodies shot by your mom and edited on iMovie could only get you so far.”

But perhaps the parodies are paying off, as Bordelon boasts an impressive resume for someone still in his teens. And he keeps things funny, too.

“When people call the Office of Admission, he can find a way to become someone’s best friend in 15 seconds, “ said Justine Volkman, a senior public relations and advertising major, who is a coworker and close friend of Bordelon’s.

Photo by Haylee Barber.
Photo by Haylee Barber.

“One time a Mom was unsure if her student should apply [to Chapman], I remember him saying ‘Well Mom, you gotta risk it to get the biscuit. He said that to a parent!”

As a student at Chapman’s Dodge College of Film and Media Arts, Bordelon spends unending hours on film sets, independent comedy sketches, and television productions.

When he’s not working behind the camera, Bordelon can be found entertaining prospective donors as a Chapman Ambassador, performing with the campus Improv Troupe, or seeking new comedy material with his fraternity brothers.

“Since the moment I met Gregory, I always said he has what it takes to be successful in the entertainment industry,” said Brock Ciarelli, a junior mathematics major and Bordelon’s coworker and fraternity brother. “Working a tiny bit in the industry myself, I know in order to be successful, you have to have a great personality, and Gregory has a phenomenal one.”

Photo by Haylee Barber.
Photo by Haylee Barber.

And that larger-than-life personality carries him through his busy days at Chapman. Spend a day with him and you might find it hard to keep track of his many roles. But when Bordelon picked Chapman, busy days were exactly what he was looking for.

“I love the idea of a place where you can make the most out of all the things around you and not be inhibited,” said Bordelon about the campus dynamics.

“I have a lot of self-drive and that’s what has laid my foundation.”

That same self-drive led Bordelon to a prestigious internship at Conan O’Brien during the summer of 2013, where he learned the ins and outs of Late Night.

“From the writer’s room, to the producer floor, to the lowest intern who got coffee for the one guy who was under the really important guy, I learned everything.”

As Jimmy Fallon moves east and Steven Colbert prepares to take the Letterman chair, Bordelon spends a little time each day writing, laughing, and getting inspired, especially by Fallon, whom he says is his favorite.

And where will he hopefully be in a decade?

“Talking to you again, Ms. Barber,” jokes Bordelon. “Only this time, with more viewers and stories to tell.”

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