PERSONAL TALES OF FAILURE… AND LAUGHTER

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PERSONAL TALES OF FAILURE… AND LAUGHTER
Oklahoma comedian Ryan Drake releases first album, “Drinking Games for One”

By Heide Brandes

Ryan Drake wants to make you laugh.

Most of the time, he said, he can. Some of the time, he crosses the line, though he’s the first to admit he doesn’t really know where that line is.

He’s the king of Twitter one-liners, but he also uses his own failings to bring a smile to others.

Sometimes he bombs on stage; other times, he brings down the house.

Ah, the life of a professional comedian.

Ryan Drake is one of Oklahoma’s rising stars in comedy, both on the stage and on the radio. In January, he became the latest to release a live performance of his comedy act with his first album release, “Drinking Games for One Person.”

Funny Man

Drake’s album was released Jan. 13 via iTunes, Spotify and most other digital music stores. His album’s release party, held Jan. 16 at Oklahoma City’s IAO Gallery on Film Row, also hawked roughly 50 more copies of the CD.

The album was recorded by Royce Sharp, mixed by Nicholas Poss and the artwork was designed by Lesley Penhall.

“I started doing comedy in 2009, and this album is a collection of nonsensical jokes and personal tales of failure,” Drake said. “When I first started doing comedy, I mostly told one-liner jokes that focused on other people like actors, athletes, etc. That’s what most of the middle of the record is. But the album is bookended by personal stories that grew from real life experiences with relationships and alcohol that I only recently became comfortable talking about.”

Drake was always the “funny one.” In high school, he used comedy to offset his claimed “nerdiness” and the talent extended into his adult life. In early 2007, he found the perfect outlet in the social media outlet of Twitter.

“I made jokes and one-liners on Twitter and people started responding,” he said. “For two years, I only did Twitter jokes before I took to the stage.”

Drake’s first stage performance was in 2009 during Open Mic at Oklahoma City’s Looney Bin comedy club. He didn’t invite any of his friends, just in case he bombed.

“The Looney Bin is a very easy room – the audience wants to laugh and laughs at everything,” Drake said. “I crushed it! I really killed it, and I got so high and mighty about it.”

When Drake was invited to do his act during open mic at a club in Norman, he invited everyone he knew… and failed.

“I sucked so bad,” he said. “It was just crickets and silence. I still do bad shows sometimes. It all depends on the mood of the crowds.”

Comedy isn’t easy. Drake also knows it’s not something he wants to do at the expense of other interests.

“It’s something I want to do forever, but it’s not all I want to do,” he said. “I wouldn’t pursue it full-time. I’ve done a few out-of-state gigs, and it’s a very hard life. Comedians are sad a lot.”

However, averaging 10 shows a month, he’s on a roll. In August of 2014, he finally recorded his act.

“I wanted something I could look back on 20 years from now,” Drake said.

The Okie World of Comedy

“The OKC comedy scene has really exploded over the last two years, and I think we have around 75 comedians that are allowed to perform on a regular basis,” Drake said. “As we all challenge each other and get better, the scene will only grow stronger.”

Drake said comedy lovers will find a mix of honesty and pure fun in “Drinking Games for One.” He describes his humor as self-depreciating, but only to a point.

“People tend to like it to a certain point, then they just feel really sorry for me,” Drake said. “That’s when I switch back to the one-liners and jokes.”

Drake is also a regular on the radio stations The Spy and now KOSU. Before The Spy joined with KOSU, Drake had a no-holds-barred radio talk show and several music programs. At the end of January, he started a new show on KOSU at 8 p.m. Wednesdays that highlights brand new music released each week.

Meanwhile, he continues to pursue the world of comedy.

“I had such a panic attack an hour before I got on stage when I recorded the album,” he said. “I had worked so hard to get the show put together and get sponsors and everyone out there, that I forgot that I actually had to get on stage and perform. But it was a great show. I think it went well.”

As a comedian, Drake believes he has grown. When he started out, he went after the reaction and attention. He would purposefully insult or outrage people just to get a rise.

Today, he wants a specific reaction – laughter.

“I’m way more conscious about what happens, and I bring comedy to a more personal place,” he said. “Two of my favorite local comics, Zach Smith and Josh Lathe, both released their own excellent albums last year, and I am happy to join them on this path to try and get more eyes and ears on Oklahoma City comedy.”

Drake’s album, “Drinking Games for One” is available on Amazon, iTunes, Spotify and other digital media outlets.

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