From UNO to NBC: Cameron Logsdon is Omaha Famous and Loving It
Oct 05, 2020 10:19AM
By Katrina Markel
Cameron Logsdon is always performing. At least, that’s what his friend and fellow University of Nebraska at Omaha college of communication faculty member Abbie Syrek said.
Logsdon was recently appointed as the public speaking course coordinator at UNO, but he might be best known around Omaha as a comic. Whether it’s stand-up at the Funny Bone, improv at the Backline, emceeing high-profile events, or performing sketches on social media and WOWT’s “Omaha Live!” YouTube channel, Logsdon’s presence in the Omaha comedy scene is ubiquitous.
“I started coaching [the forensics team] at UNO and Cameron was one of the first students that I recruited. I heard that there was this very electric and powerful and passionate young man—he’s from Bellevue East High School—but what’s so interesting is that when I talked to him he didn’t really have college plans,” said Syrek, who is a lecturer in the UNO School of Communication.
She helped Logsdon through the application and enrollment process for the university.
“At the time, I didn’t think I could get into college,” Logsdon said. “I didn’t know how to apply, I didn’t know anything about college life—from registration to textbooks to financial aid. I was pretty much in the dark.”
Until this year, Syrek was the director of the forensics team and Logsdon was the assistant director. It’s a huge commitment that involves weekend travel and daily practice. She’s watched him rise from being an undergraduate student to the team’s graduate teaching assistant to working alongside her as a coach.
Logsdon said that being a young father, full-time graduate student, graduate teaching assistant, and forensics team coach was “all-consuming.” When he completed his master’s degree in communication studies in 2013, he discovered a little free time and was eager to try something new.
Logsdon started with an open mic night at Barley Street Tavern and had a common first experience for a novice stand-up comedian.
“Despite having done so much with public speaking, despite having so much college speech performance background and so much performance background, I bombed so hard,” Logsdon said.
Determined to erase the devastating feeling of bombing, he found another open mic the following night and tried again.
“It went a little bit better, but that night it felt like it was the best performance I’d ever given in my life,” Logsdon said. “And I’ll contend that to this day I’m just chasing the high of crushing that night.”
Ups-and-downs go with the territory of being a stand-up comedian.
“If you have a bad night you’re like, ‘Oh, I can’t go out like that. I’ve got to go try it again.’ And if you have a great night you’re like. ‘I wanna do this everyday!’ So, no matter what it is you’re going to keep going,” Logsdon said.
Syrek explained “I feel like all of our discussions are just fodder for comedy. We’re always on the lookout.” She’s often Logsdon’s “Guinea pig” when it comes to testing out new comedy bits.
She recalled giving her friend feedback on his successful submission packet for the NBC Late Night Writers Workshop in 2016.
“It’s a really cool program where you spend a week or so, a little over a week, in New York City and you’re in 30 Rock and you’re writing and they bring people from all over and you work with them,” Logsdon said.
He remembers there were questions about whether or not he’d move to New York City or another entertainment hub to pursue a seemingly more glamorous career.
“The goal was to leave. I should say from my perspective that was the goal, but I think Cameron is Omaha,” Syrek said. “I think that Cameron is an embodiment of all of the different types of experiences, the people, and opportunities that you see in Omaha.”
Logsdon became a father at age 17, an experience he shared in an insightful 2015 TEDxUNO. Co-parenting his son, who is now almost 14, and a dedication to teaching at UNO has kept him here. Whenever possible, Logsdon said he performs at comedy festivals around the country and in entertainment hubs such as New York, Chicago, and LA.
“The truth is that my life is such a way that I don’t necessarily have that luxury to just go try to chase it, you know?” Logsdon said.
The challenges of being a teen parent, first-generation college student, and a person of color—Logsdon refers to himself as multiracial—mean that the relatively young faculty member has an important connection with students. Syrek said many UNO students fit into one or more of those categories.
“When Cameron really started rising through the ranks at UNO, I personally witnessed so many students flock to him,” Syrek said, noting the importance of diversity among college faculty members.
“I try to encourage students from similar backgrounds to strive for higher education,” said Logsdon, who is now in a position to do for others what Syrek did for him. “It can be too easy for them to stay in their own socioeconomic and educational stratosphere. Access to knowledge is a major factor in the lack of social mobility. I often think about how much easier it’ll be for my kid to go to college simply because I know how to help him apply.”
As for continuing his performing career here, Logsdon is characteristically upbeat.
“I want to be in Omaha and I want more talent to get recognized from here,” he said, “I want more recognition for this place because I think it’s special, I think it’s cool.”
This article first appeared in the October 2020 issue of Omaha Magazine. Click here to subscribe to the print edition.