Comedian, Improviser, and Podcaster, Ryan Drake, talks to me in this Creator Conversation interview about his stand-up comedy album, Drinking Games for One Person, which was released today.
For those that don’t know you, Ryan Drake, tell everyone about yourself and your comedy.
RYAN: I am 27 years old and have lived in OKC my whole life. I really enjoy it here and think our comedy scene is one of the best between Austin and Chicago. I am obsessed with Tina Fey and have a beautiful dog named Zooey.
Tell me how comedy started for you.
RYAN: As much as I hate to say it, Twitter was the biggest catalyst for me going into comedy. I started posting stupid jokes on there in 2007(!) and people were responding. After two years of doing that I finally had the balls to try my first open mic in 2009. I was 22 and tried so hard to be edgy and controversial. I look back on that now and wish it were possible to delete like three years worth of tweets at once.
What were some of the main inspirations for the comedy album?
“It was kind of a bucket list thing. I just want to put something out that I can look back on in 20 years and pull up on iTunes to remember what I was going through in 2014.”RYAN: It was kind of a bucket list thing. I just want to put something out that I can look back on in 20 years and pull up on iTunes to remember what I was going through in 2014. I am not sure if stand-up comedy is something I am going to be doing for the rest of my life. Maybe casually, but I think the life of a stand-up is so lonely and depressing, and I am terrified to fall into that trap. I like the idea of being able to do it as an escape from the rest of the world, instead of the thing I am trying to escape from. The album was certainly not phoned-in, I am really proud of it, but I am already coming up with thoughts and ideas about what I want my next thing to be.
What was the greatest challenge in making the album?
“I was so happy when it all came together, I almost forgot to prepare for the actual performance.”RYAN: It was recorded on my birthday in August, and I planned all the aspects of the recording event by myself. From finding a venue, to getting sponsor money to cover the costs of the venue, to hiring an artist to make promo materials, to actually getting the promo materials printed and distributed, to booking the other performers, to finding someone willing to run a bar, someone willing to run the door, finding the audio equipment I needed, and hiring a sound engineer. I was so happy when it all came together, I almost forgot to prepare for the actual performance. I had a small panic attack on my birthday, trying to figure out which jokes to tell and in which order, because I had been so wrapped up in planning the event. That was definitely the most challenging part.
Why the name, Drinking Games For One Person?
RYAN: There’s a bit at the beginning of the album where I talk about things I have googled that were kind of embarrassing. “Drinking games for one person” was one of those things, and it was much more SFW than the other title that I mentioned on the album.
What are your favorite drinking games?
RYAN: I don’t drink much anymore, but back in college it was always beer-pong, flip cup, and waterfall. When I turned into slightly more of an adult, it changed to television-based drinking games. The 2008 election debates had some incredible drinking games that got me wasted every time. There’s also some good ones for The Real World, which is a show I still unapologetically watch every year. I have recently wanted to learn the actual rules to play True American because that looks like fun. That’s my resolution for 2015.
What’s a favorite one-liner joke?
RYAN: Zach Galifianakis: “My girlfriend looks a little like Charlize Theron, and a lot like Patrick Ewing.”
Where was the album recorded?
RYAN: At the OK Contemporary Arts Center on the fairgrounds in OKC. It’s a great theater, and there was some pretty shitty weather that night, but we still managed to get around 110 people in there.
What song would you have played at your funeral and why?
RYAN: “Wake Up” by Arcade Fire. It’s not my favorite song but I think it’s the most appropriate. A beautifully haunting reminder that we should confront our skeletons instead of taking them to the grave with us.
Anything else you want to say?
RYAN: If I ever get famous I am going to hire Dennis Spielman to be my personal videographer.
That would be fun. If I was your personal videographer (again*), what crazy stuff would I see?
RYAN: Haha. Not a lot of crazy stuff anymore. When I was in my early-mid 20’s, I was always trying to find the most fun, drunk, weird things to do every night. I had a job that I didn’t have to go to until 2pm so I was afforded the luxury of going out on weeknights I was doing lots of stand-up and improv, as well as hosting events, and doing drunk podcasts on The Spy every week. Those were such fun years. But ever since I turned 26 I have been much more relaxed with just Netflix binging and hanging out with my dog. I hope that means that I am growing up and not like secretly depressed or something. I still manage to make it out to the Bonnaroo music festival in Tennessee every summer, and it’s always my favorite week of the year.
*A few years back Ryan hired me to follow him around to record a demo reel for him. I remember it was on a Sunday and I recording him doing improv at an OKC Improv jam, stand-up comedy at JJ’s Alley, and finally recording his radio/podcast show, No Fun Intended. Yes, all of this happened in one day.
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