Ryan Drake wears many hats, and each of those hats will make you smile. The Oklahoma City comedy darling can be found doing stand-up throughout the city on any given night, his voice can be heard on Pairadime Music Radio on KOSU and his words can be read on The Lost Ogle.
It’s extremely difficult to be a successful comedian, and that goes for anyone, whether in Los Angeles, New York City or Chicago, where the comedy industry thrives. But Drake doesn’t let that hold him back, and he is making a huge impact on OKC’s rapidly growing comedy scene.
“The scene in OKC is so rich with talent, but it’s still really hard to get the people to the shows,” Drake said. “There are so many smart and hilarious people telling jokes to seven people in a dive bar that it can be a bit disheartening.
“When I started telling jokes here [in 2009], there were around 15 regular comedians and maybe 10 improv groups. The scene has grown just as quickly as the city itself over the last five years. We have dozens of new faces jumping on stage every week, and I hope that the crowds will soon be following them, because I sincerely believe that we have a deeper comedy pool than any other city between Chicago and Austin.”
When he first started, his style was mostly one-liner jokes about athletes or politicians, due to an unwillingness to make himself vulnerable in front of people he didn’t know. But over the last year, he has veered away from that, telling very personal stories about his struggles with alcohol and girls.
“It’s much more liberating to be that open in front of a crowd because you feel like they are connecting with you and not your opinions,” he said. “I still have a section in my set for all the old one-liners, but I like to bookend them with more story-based humor about the times I have failed in life.”
Drake will record his first live album Monday at Oklahoma Contemporary Arts Center, 3000 General Pershing Blvd., and the moments leading up to a live recording can take the anxiety to another level and make you question everything — while also being super excited.
“I am so worried that the album won’t be absolutely perfect that I am starting to question whether I should rewrite all of my material,” Drake said. “I was lucky enough to get a sponsorship from the people at TeeHappy.com to cover the expenses of booking a good venue, hiring a sound engineer, finding a bartender and printing promo materials. TeeHappy is a really cool OKC-based clothing line that caters to nerd culture, and their sponsorship is the reason the event is free.”
The event, which is hosted by local funny man Spencer Hicks and also features Brett James, happens to coincide with Drake’s 27th birthday. So if you give him the gift of support, he’ll try to return the favor with a little laughter.
Ryan Drake: A Live Album Recording
7:30 p.m. Monday
Oklahoma Contemporary Arts Center
3000 General Pershing Blvd.