Every time I go to Tulsa, I go for a week. Therefore, it becomes necessary for me to tell others that I won't be around. "Where are you going?" they ask. "Tulsa, Oklahoma," I say. And then, every single time, comes a confused look, a pause, and "'Tulsa'? Why are you... why are you going to 'Tulsa'?"
People want you to have a good reason for going to Tulsa. Especially people from the East Coast. "Why would you ever leave New York City to spend time in Tulsa?" they say. And they think, "Why would you ever leave New York City to go ANYwhere?"
My reason is the Scott Carter Foundation for Cancer Research. It's run by a family I am very close to, the Carters. Their son, Cason, is a friend of mine from college, and Cason's younger brother, Scott, passed away from cancer at a young age. The foundation raises money in his name for children's cancer research. Cason and I and six others started a comedy group in college to raise money for the Foundation. To date, we've given about $10,000 every year since 1997. I love the charity, I love the Carters, and as a result... I... I love Tulsa.
We jokingly refer to this jewel of Oklahoma as "Happyland." This is in part due to the Carters, who treat us like kings during our stay. We stay in hotels for free, get shuttled around by family friends, and eat free at many fine local establishments. But I've come to realize that the Carters, while exceptional people, are not the exception in Tulsa, but the rule. EVERYone in Tulsa is so... well, damn it, they're just so NICE.
They're polite. They say "thank you" and "excuse me." They offer to help you when you appear in need. They compliment your looks. They buy you drinks. They shake your hand. They remember your name. They... they just act like people should act. Are there people in Tulsa who don't fit this mold? Oh, I'm sure, but life is a game of percentages, and this city is winning big-time in the nice department.
So I'm here to spread the word on this fine town. Go! Visit Tulsa! Visit Oklahoma! Be bold! And the next time someone asks you, "Where are you going?" Have the courage to reply, "I'm going to Tulsa." "Oklahoma?" "Yes, Oklahoma." And when they inevitably ask, "But... why?" You look them square in the eye and say, "Because I like nice people, and I like happy places. That's why." Another confused pause will follow, I'm sure, but don't let it bother you. Just do what a Tulsan would do: shake their hand, compliment their looks, and politely excuse yourself.