Ask me after this show tonight ...... Just kidding. This is what I am asked often, especially by other lawyers or
comedians who are thinking about leaving their careers. I would be lying if I said I don't miss parts of practicing law, especially after a horrible show or a bad week of rejections. In times like those, I often ask myself "What was I thinking, leaving the comfort of law?"
I always say, there were parts of the law I loved, like trials, arguing and drafting motions and even depositions. I miss trials, but those were few and far between, especially in my line of practice. But I was also burned out. I did what I wanted with the law, trying over 20 jury trials, attending and taking over 500 depositions, arguing and defending thousands of motions, and achieving the honor of being "40 under 40" for Illinois lawyers. I do not miss the researching of case law and client development efforts. Or being yelled at my opposing counsel or a judge.
Just like with comedy, there are parts I don't love, like waiting for responses from clubs when I give them my "avails" or having pitches rejected, or being overlooked for spots. Regardless of where I am in my career now, I never regret leaving the practice to pursue what I enjoy. If anything, I wish I decided earlier to start comedy full time. I look forward to seeing you all at my new show Stand UP then Sit Down at the Lincoln Lodge April 7th!
Picture by Ashley Nicole ANF Chicago
#careerchange #formerlawyer #standup
It's hard not to feel snubbed when you don't get something you asked for. As comedians, that "something" is often a festival invitation, a call back for an audition or even a weekend of shows at your favorite club. I always live by the Conan O'Brien motto to work hard and be kind for amazing things to happen but sometimes that's just not enough. I look around sometimes and see peers receive accolades and chances (as they should) and wish it was me. It's hard not to let the perceived rejection cause mental anguish. But I don't let it eat me up.
Sometimes when it rains, it pours. I had a string of amazing shows and opportunities followed by a string of losses and radio silence. Ups and downs in comedy, just like in life. Move forward, like a tank is what I was once told by a great mentor. I keep working hard and keeping spreading kindness in hopes of better roads ahead. It's not a race, its a marathon and everything is temporary. Looking forward to the string of great shows ahead!
Photo by Sarah Larson
#careerchange #formerlawyer #standupcomedy #laughs #work
People often ask what I do all day, since I work at nights and no longer practice law. Because I am a night owl, my days start way later than most people. In fact, some nights I am going to bed when people on the East Coast are getting up.
Every day is different but when I am home, I usually am recording podcasts or submitting audition tapes. Otherwise, wherever I am, I will always write and watch or listen to my sets. As much as I hate it, watching my sets is part of the writing process and helps me add to or remove from my set. Also, nearly every day, I send out my emails for show dates and promote existing shows to my mailing lists and social media. That takes a ton of time. As do meetings online and in person for other projects I am involved with.
When I travel, I always try to find a place to eat and write or, lately, edit clips for social media. Anyone who knows me knows I love "to do" lists and I keep them with me at all times. I love crossing off items more than anything else in life. Lastly, I work out. I have a set regiment that I strive to keep, wherever I am. My days are very busy but in a good way! #tuesdaytestimonial #careerchange #comedylife #formerlawyer
Whether asking for a recommendation or contacts for opportunities, it is always difficult to ask for help or to know when its okay to ask, specifically with comedy shows. I am usually not shy to ask for contacts of clubs or to open for a headliner who I worked with but I always feel bad after and want to make sure they know I appreciate the help. I have received so many opportunities from bigger comedians like Judy Gold, Demetri Martin, Jen Kirkman, Carmen Lynch, Mia Jackson, Bret Ernst and Chris Franjola who liked me or my comedy (or hopefully both). Some allowed me to open for them when while others still help and mentor me along the way (and still let me open for them!) I hate feeling pushy and wearing out my welcome, however and usually pull back in time (I hope). BY the way, the comedians listed above however still help me always and I am so so so thankful and you should all go see them live whenever you can and subscribe to all their podcasts!
I always try to pay it forward, by bringing talented comedians to open for me, recommending funny comedians I like working with, and sharing information about shows and venues, even unsolicited. I know so many comedians who don't do that which I really don't understand. Recently I saw a comedian having a great set and I texted the talent buyer of a comedy club that I am close with to let them know to book this comedian. I hope it works out asI know I will be booking the comedian on my next show! #payitforward #talent #standupcomedy #laughs #grateful
Short answer, no. Anytime something happens, whether it's a little unusual or mundane, people ask if I will use on stage. I can say with 99% certainty that I usually won't. I can't speak for all comedians but material does not usually come from quirky things that happen to us all the time or a mediocre date. Most comedians, especially those of us who have done this for years, have a point of view that is unique and personal. I talk about things that happened to me as I experienced them, not a waiter who forgot your order or you spilling your drink on your pants and having people think it is urine.
Most of my material does come from experiences that I had but its usually because I was not expecting the funny in the experience. For example, I often talk about my friends and family. Not because they are funny or say something funny, but because it's often surreal what happens when I am with them. They are not trying to be funny, but I find it funny that, say, my friend taught himself to say the alphabet backwards in less that 15 seconds.
Sometimes people will say "Hey you can use this" after a show to me and tell me a joke or something that they did. I think I can speak for all comedians when I say we do not want to use something you "gave us" at a show, unless its money. We are pretty smart. Some of us go on to become true heroes against opposition (Ukraine's President Zelenskyy was a former stand up comedian) #standup #careerchange #laughter #comedy #ukraine #formerlawyer
Paul Farahvar is a comedian hailing from Chicago, Ill.
Paul Farahvar Comedy