Arts & Humanities Society & Culture

Live in the Classic City

Cam Kreitner discovered late night television in middle school. He knew immediately that the wanted to host his own show. With Late Night in Athens, he realized his dream. (Photo by Chamberlain Smith/UGA)

Students and alumni leave their comedic stamp on Athens' late-night scene

As he walked down the stairs of his family home to pour himself a bowl of Rice Krispies just before midnight, young Cameron Kreitner had no idea that his life was about to change.

At the bottom of the steps, the middle-schooler spotted Late Night with Jimmy Fallon on the living room TV and in an instant became immersed in the world of late-night comedy.

“I was in awe,” Kreitner AB ’23 says today. “I couldn’t even tell you who was on the episode. It didn’t matter to me. It was just like, ‘Huh, this is really neat.’ I just kept watching it.”

As an entertainment and media studies major and a theatre minor at UGA, Kreitner grew as a person and an entertainer, eventually hosting Athens’ first live evening talk show, Late Night in Athens.

Late Night in Athens is staffed entirely by UGA students and alumni and held in locations around the Classic City such as Quinn Hall and, a converted garage off Prince Avenue. Guests include local artists, celebrities, and socialites, including UGA photographer Chamberlain Smith ABJ ’18 and Atlanta-based comic Noell Appling BSME ’19.

Now a full-fledged production with lighting and direction, Late Night in Athens wrapped its first season this spring after a successful run of shows.

Their penultimate show was held on April 22 at where the show also debuted.

A Show to Remember

An eager crowd overwhelmed the small waiting room well before the doors opened. Just on the other side of the thin walls, they could hear Late Night’s house band, The Basement Band, tuning up and checking sound.

No empty seats remained as the 8:30 p.m. showtime neared, and the audience of townies and students alike filled every spare corner of the converted garage. Kreitner’s parents and sister sat in the front row.

Laughter spilled from the building as Kreitner went through rapid fire bits including a story about a messy bathroom incident at a friend’s sleepover, clever segments interwoven with details from current events, and banter with guests from the new Atlanta-based web series Young For Your Age (all recent UGA graduates and members of the UGA sketch troop as students) and musician MEANRUSE (another recent graduate).

Nick Schwartzman (on the couch) and Late Night in Athens host Cam Kreitner flank UGA alumnus and guest Noell Appling, an Atlanta-based comedian. Interviews at the desk, along with a host monologue and musical guests, were staples of Late Night’s recent run. (Photo by Chamberlain Smith/UGA)

Behind the Curtain

Keegan Westra AB’ 21, a theatre alumnus, started It’s Good to See You Productions (IGTSY) during his last semester at UGA.

“I had to put on a show for class, and I just decided to attach a production company to it,” Westra says. “Then I started talking with people involved with the show and was like, ‘What if we started doing more things?’”

Westra and Kreitner started developing the idea for Late Night in Athens in August 2022 after a chance encounter between the two in their acting class. Kreitner hosted the first show three months later.

Sydney Wakeford BS ’21, AB ’21, now the production/stage manager for the show, joined in December for the second show to elevate the production value.

Nick Schwarzmann AB ’21, Kreitner’s co-host and right-hand man, is also a big part of the show’s success.

“He’s my Steve Higgins, my Andy Richter; I love him to death. We talk for hours on end and just say these jokes over and over until we feel like they’re right,” Kreitner says. “Without Nick, it’d be impossible to put the show on.”

 A Bright Future

Even though Late Night in Athens closed its curtains for the last time on May 20, Westra has high hopes for the future of his production company in Athens.

“The goal is to grow and get bigger, but we’re trying to bite off pieces that we can chew right now,” Westra says.

Westra has his own ideas in the works, but he encourages others to make their pitches for a production. According to Westra and Wakeford, the primary goal of IGTSY Productions is to make the introduction into show business as painless as possible for up-and-coming artists and professionals.

Plans include a continuation of their podcast, more film projects, and other live productions.

Information on future shows and how to get in touch with IGTSY Productions is found on their Instagram at @igtsyproductions, but they also encourage people to approach them at Hendershot’s or anywhere around town and have a casual conversation about ideas.

Who knows? It may just lead to the next Broadway hit or late-night success story.

Sydney Wakeford, Cam Kreitner, and Keegan Westra lit up Late Night in Athens. (Photo by Chamberlain Smith/UGA)