Norman-based comedian and humor writer Stan Silliman died Sunday after a lengthy battle with cancer.
Silliman, whose surname was Solloway, started his standup career in the 1980s, eventually mentoring younger comics in Norman and Oklahoma City.
He performed across the state and across the country.
Social media posts indicate Silliman will be well-remembered by his comedy peers.
“Stan was a class act,” one woman wrote on Facebook. “I only met him once or twice, but to him it didn’t matter if you were new to the scene or had been doing it for a while, he treated everyone with the same kind, encouraging manner. Definitely sad to see this news.”
The Oklahoma Gazette recently profiled Silliman through an article about other comedians raising money to assist with his medical bills, which were substantial since his 1999 diagnosis.
OKC comedian and NonDoc author James Nghiem recalled Silliman for the Gazette’s piece:
Local comedian James Nghiem recalls road tripping with Silliman to perform corporate shows in small towns like Vinita. Under no condition would Silliman let Nghiem drive his sports car, despite protests about Silliman’s heavy foot.
“I just remember sitting there for like three hours terrified, watching him drive,” Nghiem said.
The two first met in 2007 at The Looney Bin. Nghiem said Silliman has a style that works well with many types of crowds.
“He doesn’t care if he makes people uncomfortable for a second,” he said. “I think he appeals to people because I don’t really think people expect his comedy to be the way that it is. It’s a lot more progressive than you’d think, too.”
Delicate but edgy
The above video — recorded May 2013 in New York City — shows Silliman working health humor into his act, which also touches on racial and religious topics in a delicate but edgy way. He also occasionally got his hands a little dirty.
“I once fell asleep during a rectal examination,” Silliman says on that NYC stage. “That’s when they kicked me out of proctology school.”
An author as well
In the same clip, Silliman makes a joke about the subjunctive tense and references his writing career. His humorous musings about sports et al can be found on his website dating back to 2000. In 2011, he also wrote for Bleacher Report.