Here Comes Here Comes Everyone Show
The promo video for Here Comes Everyone Show concedes that taking a virtual vacation around the land-locked, fly-over state of Oklahoma might require some convincing. But, Hunter O’Neal believes the trip could be worthwhile. He believes Oklahoma is the American exception—the only interesting state left in the country. He’s betting on it.
“If my show is making any argument, it’s that Oklahoma is bigger and stranger than you thought,” Hunter said. “I feel the potential of this place, and I feel more compassionate toward it than I have in the past.”
Hunter sympathizes with the initial urge to discard Oklahoma. After graduating college, he left his home state to master Spanish in Chile and hitchhiked with a handheld audio recorder. He recorded street musicians, conversations, and the sounds of frogs for a PhD student. He worked as a tour guide to earn his stay at an artist commune for expats in Valparaiso.
“I walked around thinking I was being a ‘good’ tourist by gathering stories and songs, thinking I would buy my way into some grad school with the material I got,” Hunter said. “I quickly became disillusioned by that idea.”
With Christmas around the corner, rising political unrest, and homesickness setting in, Hunter came back to the U.S. He moved to Oregon and started workshopping an idea for a documentary, preparing to become a teacher as a back-up plan.
Inspired in part by the surviving video store culture in Oregon, Hunter decided to pick up a camera. Still toying with his original documentary idea and wanting to test his prowess in the video medium, he interviewed the manager of the last surviving Blockbuster in the country in Bend. He made friends with the employees at his local video store and found the Oklahoma-based films of Les Blank and George Kuchar.
Then coronavirus broke out and forest fires left the West Coast blanketed in apocalyptic smoke and soot. The school where Hunter was set to teach froze the position.
“I lost the life I thought I was going to live. It went up in smoke, literally,” Hunter said.
Hunter packed his life and his cat into a van and headed for the desert, where the vision for Here Comes Everyone Show took root—a travel, sketch, documentary show based and sourced in Oklahoma. He drove halfway across the country and landed in a campground on the outskirts of Tulsa.
“So coming back—maybe it was another act of homesickness—but this time I thought I would make something of it in a way,” Hunter said. “I think the project is really an attempt to be of some use.”
In October of 2020, he started to record and archive the stories of those living in Oklahoma and willing to share. He hasn’t gone a day without filming since.
“At first I was indecisive about how I wanted to document the end of the world,” Hunter said. “But this is it. This is the grab-bag of all the shit that I like. And a lot that I don’t.”
Here Comes Everyone Show is just that—a little bit of everyone and anyone in the bizarre microcosm of Oklahoma. The project will include, but isn’t limited to, documentary, comedy, short film, video essay and an archive of words and images that make up the history, reality and mythology of a state that is often overlooked but never lacking in contradictions.
Hunter has put his time and life savings into the project—producing, writing, editing and marketing the show largely by himself. In the interest of maintaining creative control and community focus, the project will be available on Patreon, a grassroots, subscription-based service that will help provide for equipment and travel expenses.
“Airing the show on Patreon is asking Does this matter? I think that it does,“ Hunter said. “There’s an element of me trying to prove something to myself. But I also believe in Oklahoma and in its strangeness and in its potential.”
To watch full episodes of Here Comes Everyone Show beginning in late August, subscribe to the Patreon. Follow the show on Instagram @HereComesEveryoneShow for more updates.