Provided by "Subway: The Series"

Flo from the Progressive commercials isn’t the only standard of greatness you have to measure up to after college. In fact, there are quite a few lesser-known alumni who’ve done really amazing things in the entertainment industry. Here are a few names you may have never heard of until now:

Brandon Gardner

Brandon Gardner is an improvisor with Upright Citizens Brigade Theatre (UCB) in New York City, but he truly discovered his passion at Binghamton University. While attending from 2001-2005, he discovered how important improv was to him.

“I joined Pappys in freshman year and loved it,” Gardner said. “When I first came here, I was thinking I was gonna be a PPL major and maybe go to law school, but I loved improv so much I changed my major and became a theatre major.”

Gardner directs, performs and writes at UCB, both at the theater in Manhattan and on the UCB TourCo. He recently made a return to Binghamton to perform during Parade Day.

Madeleine Smithberg

Madeleine Smithberg is the co-creator of one of Comedy Central’s longest-running shows, “The Daily Show.” Not only is she responsible for putting Jon Stewart on the air on a daily basis, but she also gave us Stephen Colbert and many other talented comedians who got their start on the show as correspondents. It’s thanks to her that we enjoy so much comedy today.

Art Spiegelman

Art Spiegelman is a well-known American comic artist. He’s known for creating the graphic novel “Maus,” which won a specially-created Pulitzer Special Award in Letters in 1992 and caused a lot of people to rethink the intellectual value of comics. Spiegelman was actually on the staff of Pipe Dream’s Fun Page during his time at BU. So next time you see some bizarre comic about talking cows or unicorns in there, just remember that person might be well on his or her way to literary greatness.

Carol Leifer

Carol Leifer is a well-known stand-up comedian and writer who has appeared on “Late Night with David Letterman” a record 25 times. She majored in theatre at BU and has written multiple episodes of “Seinfeld,” including “The Rye” and “The Lip Reader.” Her time on the show earned her the title “The Real Elaine” after the iconic character was partly inspired by her. The original Elaine dance could’ve been based off of a night at Tom & Marty’s, for all we know.


His full name is Stan Brown, and he’s known for working on multiple role-playing games like “Forgotten Realms” and “d20 Modern.” Now some would think role-playing games make you more nerdy than cool, but he changed his name to just “Stan!” He has a name that literally forces you to get excited. He has control over your emotions with just his name. This man is the world’s first Word Wizard. The amount of struggling he’s probably endured to make that name stick is unreal and deserves respect.

From political advisers to cartoonists, it’s obvious that Binghamton simply inspires greatness. And who knows, some day a famous alumni list may include you.