Ryan Drake caught stealing another comedian’s Tinder act…
3:30 PM EDT on July 16, 2018
The guy pictured above eating a hamburger at Little Mike's is Ryan Drake. By day, he's a "Social Media Specialist" for Big Wing – the in-house digital ad agency for The Oklahoman. By night, he's a local 1990s dance party DJ, podcaster, event promoter, open mic comic, out-of-work radio host and all-around weasel who does an excellent job wiggling his way into social and creative circles only to burn bridges, connections and friendships so he can dance over what remains with little glow sticks and eggplant emojis at The Speakeasy.
Wow. That was a bit intense. Ryan – my adopted son turned disappointing former son – and I have some history. More on that later...
Over the weekend, Ryan and his BFF Malory Craft hosted an event called OKC Tinder Live at TLO's former Tuesday night trivia venue – The 51st Speakeasy. I guess the gist is that millennials venture out of their safe space, show their Tinder profile to an audience, and then watch with delight as a big name celebrity panel of local musicians and open mic comics roast it. Sounds very 2015, doesn't it?
Here's a tweet from the show:
That's cool! I think OKC could use all the cool, fun and creative events it can get. Unfortunately, this event isn't all that cool, fun or creative. The Tinder Live concept was created five years ago by NY-based comedian Lane Moore. The corporate media industry has been giving it a lot of PR and attention over the years. There's even a book about it.
Naturally, a liberal female comedian from NY wasn't too happy that a male hack comic from Oklahoma stole her idea. Check this out:
Wow. Ryan Drake is ripping off someone else's event idea and profiting from it? That's shocking! It's not like he has a reputation for ripping off other people's material, or that he and The Speakeasy did the same thing to our trivia night in 2017. On that note...
Yeah, Ryan used to occasionally write for this website. He also hosted trivia for us at Speakeasy for a couple of years. When we made the mutual decision to move to Fassler Hall in 2017, Ryan worked behind my back to launch his own version of Tuesday night trivia at Speakeasy, using the exact same rules, format and setup that I originally created in 2010. I know trivia nights are not a unique concept, and I'll save you all the boring drama from "As the OKC Pub Trivia Circuit Turns," but let's just say it seems like some relevant dirty laundry worth sharing. Anyway...
Lane's tweets ignited outrage from the independent comedy hacks out of NYC. Legions of podcasters, writers and comedians with websites like "The Onion," "Funny or Die" or "McSweeney's" in their Twitter bio flocked to her defense like she was a snowflake battling a Russian bot and launched an aggressive attack against Ryan and The Speakeasy.
Knowing that Ryan is a "Social Media Specialist" at Big Wing, he obviously handled the embarrassing situation with dignity and class, and didn't throw fuel onto the fire by flippantly trying to justify what he did:
Say what you want about Ryan – and there's a lot to say – but I think Lane is overreacting here. Yeah, some dude in Oklahoma is exploiting and capitalizing off your idea. That's not cool, but it's also not the end of the world. I think half the people in attendance were expecting a Hinder concert.
In addition to that, it's not like Tinder Live is some super original concept. It isn't exactly sliced bread rolled into a wheel. It can easily be riffed. For example, we're already working with Night Trips to launch Adult Friend Finder Live. It will be like Tinder Live, only we'll look at the best local Adult Friend Finder profiles and laugh at the boobs, bondage and semen!
Yeah, it's okay that he ripped off your idea without asking permission because... he referenced it in a newspaper article that didn't specifically credit your idea?
Okay, that probably wasn't the wisest response. The managing editor of The Onion agrees:
After receiving a swift social media beating (you can view them by looking at the replies to Lane's tweets), Ryan used his expertise as a BigWing Social Media Specialist and responded the best way he could – poorly:
Listen, I know from experience how difficult it can be for a narcissist to apologize. I know it's tempting to write a long, mansplaining non-apology apology that entirely misses the point. You just have to avoid those temptations and apologize and move on. Even if it's not sincere, it's the quickest, fastest route to move forward. Although Ryan failed at doing that, at least The Speakeasy was there to handle things professionally:
Yikes! That escalated quickly. I guess the mean twin from The Speakeasy was handling the Twitter account yesterday afternoon.
So, what does all this mean? I'm not sure. I think the lessons we learned are...
A) Don't be a dick and ripoff some other person's quirky and unique event idea.
B) Learn how to properly apologize on social media
C) Don't burn every professional bridge in town and maybe then more people will come to your defense instead of piling on top. As someone who has also burned every bridge in town, I know this from experience.
Anyway, I wish my former adopted son the best of luck in dealing with this controversy and the related fallout. Hopefully his new adopted father Spencer can help guide him out.
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