In this world, you never know exactly when or even how your UW background will come in handy. For former Badger swimmer and then-aspiring actor Anders Holm, it was during a post-graduation internship at a Hollywood production company.
Holm, whose pool specialty was the 50-meter freestyle, was looking for a break. He was able to bond with a top producer at the production company over their mutual interest in competitive swimming. The connection was enough to help him land a spot as a writer’s assistant on the Fox drama “Bones.”
The job was a springboard.
Today, he’s 30 and one of the stars of the Comedy Central sitcom “Workaholics.” In the show, Holm and co-creators Adam DeVine and Blake Anderson, star as Anders, Adam and Blake. Workaholics features the trio working together 9 to 5 at a telemarketing company and goofing off 5 to 9 at their bachelor pad.
“‘Workaholics’ is about three idiots at their first job trying to have a good time, and hoping no one gets killed,” says Holm, who goes by @ders808 on Twitter.
After three seasons of the series, during which it was highest rated in its time slot among men aged 18-34 and averaged 2.2 million viewers per episode, his big break in TV has been a big-time success.
Like most, it took lots of work and luck. Following graduation from UW-Madison in 2003, Holm returned to his hometown of Evanston, Ill., packed his things into a green Dodge Caravan, and drove out to Los Angeles. He didn’t have a job lined up right after graduation, but he always knew that he wanted to get into the entertainment industry.
“Back in college I remember shooting stupid videos with my friends,” he says. “It would be us going around town in capes pretending we were superheroes. Because you know Madison people, they’re cool with people running around in capes.”
After getting settled in California, Holm started working as a sales associate at a Lacoste on Rodeo Drive. While the retail job did not make good use of Holm’s comedic writing abilities, he did get a 70 percent employee discount so he was “the coolest dude at Christmas that year.”
Half a year later, Holm landed that internship at Josephson Entertainment, worked on Bones and then went on to perform and write sketch comedy with The Second City L.A., where he would meet his future “Workaholics” co-stars.
When the trio met in 2006, they started collaborating and soon formed the Los Angeles-based sketch comedy group “Mail Order Comedy.” Besides performing at various comedy venues, the group filmed their own comedy skits and uploaded them to YouTube.
Mail Order Comedy also focused on their own recurring YouTube series called “The 5th Year.” Holm, DeVine, and Anderson played three recent college graduates struggling to transition into working in an office setting. After watching some of Mail Order Comedy’s videos, an executive from Comedy Central reached out to the group with the hopes of producing a pilot.
After hashing out their ideas for an office-based comedy series, the team received enough money to film the first episode of “Workaholics,” which was picked up for 10 episodes, debuting on April 6, 2011.
Fast-forward to today. Holm, who is now 30, got married to his college sweetheart, Emma Nesper, in September 2011. Nesper, who had been dating Holm since high school, graduated from UW-Madison in 2004 with a degree in journalism.
So, after going Hollywood, will Holm ever return to Madison? “I had the best time of my life in Madison for sure,” he says, noting the next time he is in town he will make sure to take a run out to Picnic Point.
Back when Holm was on the UW swimming team, plenty of conditioning involved jogging along the lakeshore path.
“It was just one of my favorite routines of living in Madison and being a Badger,” he says. “Madison is a beautiful campus year-round – even in the winter. When it snowed I would wear spiked shoes and go out and hope I don’t [fall hard] on the ice.”