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Small towner, big laughs

The comedy of Shawna Blake

Shawna Blake

Clay Flores

Shawna Blake grew up in a town so small it was removed from our state map in 1998. The comic has since upgraded from the Okie ghost town of Redland* to the pop. 3,000 town of Muldrow, OK. Though she lives two hours away, Blake has found her true home onstage in Tulsa.

I caught her set at last month’s Hullabaloo Revue, a monthly Comedy Parlor show featuring comics, pinup model ushers, musical acts and burlesque dancers. Blake headlined both of January’s sold out nights, and took the stage right after LolliePop, a Tulsa dancer, collected her clothes from it.

“I usually have the best, or at least the most visible tits at a comedy show,” Blake said. “And I guess I don’t have even that going for me tonight.”

Her opening was off the cuff, but the rest of her set felt meticulously composed with nary a punchline or breath landing out of rhythm. Blake killed the crowd, and it’s easy to see why the small-towner has become such a big fixture of Tulsa comedy. 

“I always suspected I was funny, so I asked a friend to take a Comedy Parlor standup class with me,” Blake said. Her first open mic confirmed her laugh factor suspicions, and she quickly rose to bigger spots like the Blue Whale Comedy Festival.

“I tell my friends I’m ‘heading into town,’ and they say ‘you sound like a pioneer woman!’” Blake said. “And I feel like a pioneer woman, only instead of a covered wagon I drive a Toyota Corolla with the front bumper literally zip tied on.”

Apart from her country upbringing, Blake jokes about her disdain for cardio and her awkward love life. She says she’d call her autobiography “Plan B and Party Hats,” but you’ll have to catch the bit to see why.

Blake currently teaches at a community college in Poteau, OK, but routinely makes the drive to Tulsa. She was recently featured at Cherokee Casino in West Siloam Springs, performing to a 900-person capacity room. Besides her regular featured gigs and casino appearances, Blake hopes to perform at Blue Whale again this year. You can catch her in Tulsa on February 15 at Mainline Art Bar.

*Redland, OK is no longer considered a town, but is listed on ghosttowns.com, which Blake says regularly drives intrepid researchers to her old stomping ground, where they encounter “churches, cows, and [her] entire family.”

For more from Mitch, read his article on four up and coming Tulsa comedians.