- Spencer Hicks at the auditorium at Oklahoma Contemporary, where they used to perform. mh
When Oklahoma City comedian Spencer Hicks reflects on his time doing standup, he talks not only about the evolution of his material but also the growth of the OKC comedy scene.
Ive been doing this for 10 years now, and in my opinion, this is probably the best time for comedy in Oklahoma City that I can remember, said Hicks, age 35. I wouldnt call myself the last man standing from those earlier days, but Im proud that Ive hung around this long.
The culmination of a decade in the funny business is the reason Hicks said hes recording his first live comedy album 7:30 p.m. Wednesday, July 29 at Will Rogers Theatre, 4322 N. Western Ave.
Its something Ive been meaning to do for awhile, for years now, actually, Hicks said. I just want to have something to show for all these years doing standup. I see it more as a cap on what Ive been doing than a catalyst for anything new. Im not expecting this to launch my career. I just want something that shows people that I was here once upon a time.
If there are any local comedy fans who didnt know he was here, they havent been paying attention. Hicks has cultivated a reputation for his guy-next-door vibe and wickedly, deceptively funny sets that he has honed in clubs and open mic showcases since the mid-2000s.
Hicks, along with fellow funnymen Cameron Buchholtz and BradChad Porter, founded OKC Comedy a few years ago. Its Funniest Person in OKC contest concluded last week. He hosts weekly trivia nights for The Lost Ogle, emcees several local events every year and is still a regular at the metros scattered comedy clubs.
His local success has translated into some national recognition, too. He has opened for household names like Rob Delaney, Paul F. Tompkins and Dave Chappelle.
Opening for Dave was the highlight of my career, said Hicks of his two-night opening gig at Rose State last winter. I remember hearing Killing Them Softly (Chappelles landmark standup special) in my buddys car in college and thinking it was one of the funniest things Id ever heard. I became a huge fan of Chappelles Show after that, so to open for him was a total thrill.
Hicks said that all those years playing local clubs couldnt have prepared him for the experience.
Its the most scared Ive ever been doing comedy, Hicks said, then laughed. Ive seen people like Jim Gaffigan, Bill Burr, Brian Regan. Theyll bring openers with them or have openers, and I remember sitting in the crowd and seeing a guy walk out and thinking, Man, this is not the guy any of us have paid to see. I automatically dont like him. But some of those comedians, you leave there and youre a fan. Thats what scared me to death, that I was going to be that person that no one came here to see. Everyone in this crowd knows Im just here to take up space.
Hicks was worried for nothing. He did so well that Chappelle brought him back out on stage after his own set for another round of applause. He was relieved that he got laughs at all, much less did well.
It was the greatest experience of my career, definitely, he said.
It wasnt the best experience of his life though.
Hicks, a new father, said having a family of his own now has altered his aspirations as well as his material.
I think having a son definitely changed some things for me, at least internally, Hicks said when asked where he wants to go from here. Before I had the kid, going out and doing comedy was definitely easier, for one thing. Its not a strain now, and Im not going to quit comedy, but Ive definitely slowed down.
He said his material has evolved, too. Hicks doesnt mind comics who work blue or tell risqué jokes (hes a huge Louis C.K. fan, for example), but he feels like any attempt at that kind of set might be forcing it at this point in his life.
When I first started out, I was definitely doing some dirtier stuff, Hicks said. I think its something a lot of comics go through. You tell yourself, This is the last bastion of free speech; Im gonna tell rape and abortion jokes, and nobody can stop me. Those jokes sometimes get laughs, whether for the shock value or because theyre just funny, but thats just not the stuff thats taking up space in my brain these days.
Hicks said his set is going to be comprised of his favorite material gleaned from the past decade of making people laugh.
Its gonna be my favorite jokes, he said, and grinned. They might not be the jokes everybody likes the best, but its the stuff I like the most from the past ten years. Im really excited about it.
Print headline: Tracking laughs, Spencer Hicks has a decades worth of standup material, and he is finally gleaning it for his first album.