I have had many different career paths in my life. I was a musician. I was involved in politics. I was a music manager and booker and I was a litigator. There is nothing that compares to comedy, in terms of how high a moment can be and then how quickly a low follows. After my post last week about the unsolicited woodshedding I received from a road comedian friend, it was hard to shake the imposter syndrome and self-doubt during the shows I performed on. If you saw me after my Friday or Saturday shows where I headlined back to back shows in Milwaukee (One was sold out), I was experiencing the highest of high. I tell people I am unbearably cocky after a good set. This was no exception. I wanted to call that comedian and tell him to go to hell and I thought about having the crowd leave him a voice mail after the show from the stage, but I am glad I didn't.
But then if you saw me after my set on Tuesday night, my lack of poker face would reveal only self-doubt and disappointment. I could not get new jokes to work and the crowd was simply not on my side. Thats the way comedy works. I think I speak for most comedians when I saw that a great set can get you through so much, providing you happiness and endorphins similar to those of the best drugs man can buy (no comment on how I know this). A bad set can affect your ability to breathe. You have to be ready for all of it and surround yourself with talent and positive energy.
So thank you for all those who were there for me and for all of you supporting us comedians. I hope to see you this weekend in Schaumburg as I open for one of my favorite humans Bret Ernst or at my upcoming shows in Chicago, Sarasota, Tampa, Detroit and Scottsdale! #comedy #standup #formerlawyer #careerchange #positveenergy
I was texting with a veteran comedian who I worked with years ago who told me, unsolicited, I was not a headliner yet. At first, I thought he was kidding so I self-deprecated by saying that I only headlined smaller rooms on weekends and "A" rooms on the weekdays. He continued to bash me and even some of the clubs I recently headlined (and Sold Out).
Then I realized that he had not seen me do a show in six years. I reminded him that I am not the comedian I was 6 years ago and he continued to attack me as well as the comedy clubs that I headlined in the past. It was a bizarre situation. I wasn't sure where this was coming from but I know this comedian had his demons and thought perhaps he was in a dark place. I tried to not take it personally and just wished him well.
Unfortunately, some of the things he said creeped into my head as I was headlining my first weekend in Denver at the amazing Denver Comedy Lounge run by the hilarious and kind Ben Kronberg. Imposter syndrome almost took over on my first of 5 SOLD OUT shows as I saw an established comedian I watched on late night watch me perform (Ben). But I persevered and had some solid shows and had the support of fans and friends who got babysitters and came to see me perform. I was even asked to come back to the club (maybe September, Denver friends) and I head to Milwaukee this weekend to headline (for the third time) The Laughing Tap, one of my favorite comedy clubs in the country! Maybe I am a headliner. I can't wait to perform this weekend and hopefully keep the sell outs coming! #standup #formerlawyer #careerchange #impostersyndrome
At some point in the world of comedy, the decision is be made to move to LA or NYC? It's where comedians grow, surrounded with opportunities and talent. It's when you are ready for the next step. Prior to the pandemic, my plan was to move to LA for a a month to explore some opportunities I had from my years of comedy and visits to LA. I used to go to LA 2-3x a year to do shows and network while also pitching some show ideas I had for network or media.
In February of 2020, I went to LA to look at a few areas to live and audition for a few comedy clubs. I told myself I would not move unless I had something concrete in place and a few comedy clubs where I would be able to get up consistently, like I do in Chicago. I found a cool place to rent and got "passed" with some comedy clubs, bookers and show producers. Then everything changed.
In addition to the pandemic, I had to make time to assist my elderly father who was diagnosed with Parkinsonism and found a second home in Florida, where my family lives. I traveled to Florida so much in the past couple years that some folks believed I moved there. Decisions on moves to NYC or LA were placed on the back burner but in a way, comedy was on the back burner for everyone given COVID restrictions on the coasts.
This week, I came back to LA for the first time in three years. Lot of the gatekeepers I connected with on my past trips were gone and the momentum and goodwill I developed felt gone as well. Nonetheless, I was able to connect with some friends and get some stage time, including a few shows at the legendary Comedy Store, a bucket list item for me. I also was able to pitch a few new non-scripted shows I have begun working on. I hope to be back in a few months and perhaps then I can decide whether it's time to take the plunge or if I missed my window. For now, I am off to Boulder and Denver for some shows! #careerchange #standup #formerlawyer
I used to do resolutions every year, mostly dealing with health and career goals but this year I could not think of one. Years ago I started doing one thing every day, which is to bring positive energy to one person or remove one negative thing from my life.Positive energy could be something simple as leaving an extra five bucks on a tip, promoting a fellow comedian, or just leaving a positive review for someone. Removing negative energy would be simply deleting a contact who was negative online or ending a toxic relationship.
I don't remember if that started as a resolution, but I am pretty sure it did. Since that time, I have increased it to 10 times a week instead of one a day (10 vs. 7 for you non-math folks like me). It has been helpful except for the end of the week if I didn't do anything and have to do like 10 positive things in an hour to get them done in time.
A few weeks ago, I added the tattoo "work hard, be kind" to my body, as a reminder of that positive energy, shortened from the Conan O'Brien quote I have on my wall. I stand by it. #careerchange #resolutions2023 #resolution #formerlawyer
I am a big "To do" list person. I have monthly, weekly, daily and even sub-daily lists (day/night) lists. Nothing gives me more satisfaction than crossing something off the list. Sometimes I cheat and put something on the list, just to cross it off.
When I miss a day on my To Do lists, chaos ensues. I play catch up all day and then hit a mental block. I then get anxious and overwhelmed because now I have to make up for the previous day of "to dos" and then also do todays list. It keeps me up at night.
Then there are unplanned things that pop up requiring quick decisions and attention. Something I hate doing because I don't know if I should cancel a show for a new opportunity or take the new opportunity and alienated the existing one. In comedy (as in life), it's hard to say no to shows and opportunities but sometimes, you just have to cancel or un-commit from something for your own wellness. I really need an assistant and a manager. Maybe that can be my new years resolution!
#careerchange #standup #formerlawyer # #opportunity
Paul Farahvar is a comedian hailing from Chicago, Ill.
Paul Farahvar Comedy