Since leaving Savannah for the bright lights of Atlanta, performer Cyrus Steele has garnered some serious national attention.
"His comedy career is on fire," says Tom Paris, founder of the Savannah Comedy Revue, which is hosting Steele in Savannah on Feb. 11. "I see him hitting the A-list soon.
"I get calls from comedy club owners in Los Angeles who want to take me over or muscle me out," Paris says. "I tell them, 'Well, get in line and take a number. I've got Cyrus Steele performing, and you don't.'"
Steele was born in Brunswick but reared in Savannah.
"I've gone full circle to come back to Savannah," he says. "I went to high school and college there. This is a special thing for me."
Steele's love of comedy goes back to childhood.
"I would mimic the comics I would see on TV," he says. "My mother was a big proponent of getting on stage. I fell in love with the idea of doing it."
If you look up "class clown" in the dictionary, you'll find a picture of Steele.
"I was always thinking of something funny to say in class," he says. "Today, I'm friends with my fifth-grade teacher on Facebook.
"She says I'm finally putting all that talking I do to work," Steele says. "This all started when I was a kid who was always making a joke."
At Armstrong State University, Steele studied performing arts.
"I got into sales when I moved to Atlanta," he says. "I had traveled with a theater company and did some work with inside sales. I've always balanced comedy with working in sales."
The first time Steele went on stage was at The Punch Line comedy club in Atlanta.
"I actually got laughs and I thought, 'Maybe there is something to this,'" Steele says.
More recently, Steele has booked some major appearances, including one on NBC's "Stand-Up for Diversity."
"Those moments fell into my lap where someone told me about it or I sent a video and they expressed interest," he says. "You work so hard for so many years to get to the point where you are recognized. I feel like I'm at that cusp."
Steele's biggest honor was being named the South's Funniest Accountant, a competition for people who work in finance and do comedy on the side.
"I ended up winning a trip to Vegas," Steele says. "That boosted my confidence. I decided maybe I'd better try to do this full-time."
Everything is funny to Steele.
"I think most comics will tell you we always see humor in everything," he says. "Our go-to thing is to try to make people laugh or at least be not so sad."
There is humor in the current political scene, Steele says.
"I do a Barack Obama bit about not wanting to use him as a GPS voice because he's so slow and deliberate," Steele says. "With Donald Trump, I do a whole set about his administration as 'Celebrity Apprentice.'"
Steele is particularly good at doing impressions of celebrities.
"I see something and my imagination goes wild," he says. "I contemplate how the bit might go."
As much as he loves performing, Steele says the best part of being a comedian is in the planning.
"The payoff is when you go to smaller venues and the audience helps you decide what material to keep," he says. "It's such a humbling thing.
"The payoff is when you say it aloud, standing with a mic," Steele says. "When a whole audience shares the same idea or gets what you're saying, there's a feeling of satisfaction."
In Savannah, Steele will cover a wide range of topics.
"I'm a topical comic," he says. "They'll probably hear something about the election.
"Because I'm from Savannah, they'll also hear jokes about hurricanes, my memories of high school and a lot of nostalgia," Steele says. "I went to Windsor Forest High School and Armstrong Atlantic State University. I really appreciate the opportunity to come back to my hometown and give them everything I've taken with me and the values I've learned."
IF YOU GO
What: Savannah Comedy Revue's Second Saturday with Cyrus Steele
When: 8 p.m. Feb. 11
Where: Bay Street Theatre, Club One, 1 W. Bay St.
Cost: $10 or $15 for VIP seating
Info: savannahcomedyrevue.com, 314-503-9005