Cameron Buchholtz invites comedy fans to Opolis for a free taping of his live album 

click to enlarge Cameron Buchholtz performs at the Sooner Theatre during Norman Music Festival, Thursday, April 23, 2015. - GARETT FISBECK
  • Garett Fisbeck
  • Cameron Buchholtz performs at the Sooner Theatre during Norman Music Festival, Thursday, April 23, 2015.

While feeling his way through a fledgling comedy set during his first booked gig, Cameron Buchholtz worked a crowd that wasn’t necessarily there to see stand-up.

“Opening for indie bands is always tough,” the local comic said about that Opolis show.

Almost a decade later, a more established Buchholtz returns Nov. 26 to the Norman venue that helped launch his comedy career, where he’ll perform a free live taping of what will soon be his debut comedy album.

Buchholtz, also known as a Sunday radio DJ and personality for 100.5 KATT FM Radio, headlines two free live shows, which will be taped, 8 p.m. and 11 p.m. at 113 N. Crawford Ave. Guests will also be treated to sets by local comedians Spencer Hicks, Andrew Deacon and Alex Sanchez at the first show and James Nghiem, Josh Lathe and Dan Skaggs at the second.

Fans already know they’re in for a night of great stand-up, but Buchholtz remembers telling jokes during his debut booking to a crowd that was waiting to see an indie rock band. He said many in the audience stood with their arms folded across their chest.

“Hopefully it won’t be that way at the end of the month,” he said. “I’m sure it won’t.”

Getting ready

Opolis has since become one of Buchholtz’s favorite venues in which to perform. He began doing stand-up and comedy podcasts around 10 years ago. He also co-founded OKC Comedy, the city’s most prominent comedy booking and promotions company.

Despite a list of many other comedy accomplishments, this will be his first live album release.

“I used to always feel like I just wasn’t ready to do one,” he said. “I never liked my full hour enough to be like, ‘This is the thing that represents me,’ but I think I just decided that I’m probably never going to like it that way so I should just do it anyway.”

He expects to release the yet-to-be-named project via iTunes, Spotify and other services in early 2017. He also plans to issue it on cassette sometime next year.

Buchholtz deflects any pressure associated with prepping the debut, instead approaching it as a snapshot of where his set is at this particular time.

The comic is known for frequent pop culture and music references in his jokes and occasionally mentions his unabashed love for theatrical rock band KISS. (Find his Ted Nugent bit on YouTube for a good, adult laugh.)

“[My set] is a lot of dumb classic rock references,” Buchholtz said. “Basically, if anyone has seen me perform in the last year or so, it will be that but an hour of it.”

He has been performing more gigs recently as he refines older jokes and makes sure he is in top form for his Opolis shows.

“Normally, I’m just about getting as much new material out as possible and developing a lot of new stuff,” he said. “It’s sort of a weird shift to have to force myself to go back and really focus on refining everything.”

Comedy boom

Buchholtz lists Paul F. Tompkins’ 2007 album Impersonal and Jimmy Pardo’s crowd-working 2005 Pompous Clown as two of his favorite live comedy albums. Those comics are from Philadelphia and Chicago respectively.

Buchholtz launched his career in Oklahoma but spent a few years in New York City and Austin, Texas, to hone his act. In New York, he performed as many as 15 shows a week. Buchholtz said in smaller markets like Oklahoma City, especially in years past, this type of frequency is impossible.

“At a certain point, you just need to be on stage as much as possible,” he said. “The only way to do that is in another place.”

New York crowds also were quite different from what he encountered locally, and the move allowed him to connect with new comics from around the country. Buchholtz returned to his home state in 2014, in part to help leave his mark on a booming local scene. Stand-up has come far since the days when The Loony Bin and Othello’s Italian Restaurant were some of the only performance venues available.

“I like being back here in Oklahoma City because it feels like I can actually build something as opposed to a place like New York or Austin, where you’re just chasing what’s already built,” he said.

As an OKC Comedy founder, he has helped book and bring in national touring acts David Cross, Maria Bamford, Doug Stanhope, Shane Mauss, Josh Gondelman and Cameron Esposito within the last year.

“We just kind of figured if no one else was going to do it, then we needed to,” he said. “It’s been really great to see that the people of Oklahoma City also want to see those same type of comics.”

The great public interest in these bookings, he said, is indicative of the strength of comedy everywhere, not just in Oklahoma City.

“Comedy as a whole everywhere is kind of growing in popularity,” Buchholtz said. “It’s kind of a mini-boom again, and I think that’s definitely the case here.”

Find Buchholtz on Twitter and Instagram at @cbuchholtz.

Print Headline: Live audience, Comedian Cameron Buchholtz opens up Opolis for two shows to record his first comedy album.

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