THE DAILY GRIND
Given my professional background in promotions (Music) and law, I always end up talking to venue owners and managers about the business of comedy. I also like to get feedback, positive and negative.
I recently had a venue booker tell me he likes me but does not think I am funny, but he still has me at his club because he likes me personally and thinks I am professional. What???
On the other hand, I had another booker tell me I am so funny but I don’t have enough tv credits so he can’t headline me at his larger club. The best comment I ever got was from a manager who said I am too good to be a feature (middle act) because I make it too hard for the headliner to follow me. Sadly, however, I only get headline spots at his club on "off nights" instead of weekends.
Hopefully with social media and some TV credits, I can get over the hump in 2022. It's a hard racket, this comedy, but I still love it. I had fun weekends in Reno and Las Vegas, doing 21 shows in 11 days with no days off. Follow me on social media and check out my website for upcoming dates in Florida, Tennesee and Chicago. #comedy #careerchange #standup #formerlawyer #positivethinking
Comedian versus Musician
As a former “musician” (I barely qualify as one, which is why I put it in quotes, but I played in over ten bands during my music tenure), the questions about similarities to stand up comedy often arise. I am one of the few people who have done both. There are a lot of similarities, for certain. Obviously, you are entertaining people on a stage and both are considered art forms, especially if you are in an original band. But there are glaring differences.
I loved being on stage. I was a guitarist or bassist in most bands I performed in and 90% of the time, I was not the “front man” or lead singer. Despite my efforts to “peacock” on stage with my mannerisms (jumping and head bobs) and clothing (fake hipster glasses, shiny shirts in the 90s, cool tees in the 00s), most of the time, I was barely noticed. I remember selling CDs after a show for my band Shoeshine Boy fronted by the lovely Jocelyn Baker. Someone was like “I want to buy the CD with the band who had the female lead singer.” Even though I was standing RIGHT next to Jocelyn on stage, the patron had no idea I was in the band. She even thought I was lying when I said I was selling CDs for THAT band that I was in. You can disappear on stage that way in a band.
With comedy, they know you on stage, for better or worse. And its often amazing and fun. There is a downside. But if they don't like you, you know right away. They don’t laugh. And it's you they don't like. Not your band. It’s very personal, especially with comedy that is self reflecting like mine. With music, you can say, maybe the band had a bad night or they don’t like your polka alt country band. With comedy, it's you. On the upside, when you have a great set, it is all you as well.
By the way, if you have questions message me and I will address them here!
#careerchange #formerlawyer #formermusician #standupcomedy
"I THINK I CAN DO STAND UP"
It used to bother me when someone would say they want to do stand up. Whether it was a patron from a show or a friend, I would roll my eyes. But in all honesty, I sincerely think its a compliment when someone says that to me. It means I made it look so easy, when in reality its not. This coming from a person who took the LSAT, went to law school, passed the bar (first time) and played guitar and bass. Comedy is harder.
That being said, my journey to comedy was not traditional at all. Comedy was not on my radar until my 30s and even then it was just a hobby to keep me sane from the trials and tribulations of being a lawyer. (and by trials I mean REAL trials) For those who are really interested in doing comedy, I tell them to go watch an open mic- a full open mic- which usually runs about 2-3 hours. Then, if you still want to try comedy, come up with 2-3 minutes of material, usually a story and a couple jokes/observations and go back to that open mic. Make sure to record your set, either audio or video. Even if its just a "bucket list" item, you can try it!
If you still want to pursue comedy, more than just one time, its a grind. The common rule of stand up is do 6-10 sets a week. Other than during the pandemic, I did this and continue to do this. Record all your sets and write every day. I try to do this as well although writing everyday is difficult sometimes. Godspeed! #comedy #standup #careerchange #formerlawyer #formermusician
"Did That Really Happen?"
I am often asked if what I said on stage really happened, especially when I tell a story. The answer is usually yes or "mostly yes." All of the jokes I tell about myself are based in truth.
I was taught years ago during my improv training at Second City about the mantra "truth in comedy." Comedy comes from a place of truth, especially for me. Some comedians tell jokes that are not personal; Set up a joke and hit them with a punchline. My jokes are often stories of real life situations, based on my life. It is very personal. Is it 100% true, no. For example, if I am talking about an experience I had, it may be a combination of two or three experiences. Or if I am talking about a conversation or a friend, it is a combination of a few conversations or a few friends.
Certain additions will be added for comedic punches sometimes. I am working on a new story about when I first started comedy and the story is 100% true, until the punchline. I will also exaggerate some facts or take out a nuanced detail, mostly to adjust so it "works" for all crowds. For example, I say I graduated 203 out of 204 students in law school. That's not true but I did graduate in the bottom third (My law school only told us thirds of class rankings). But yes, the story and joke is mostly true.
Find out what my fellow comedians say about this on Thursday at the premiere of my show Stand Up Sit Down at The Lincoln Lodge where I interview them after their stand up set (ticket link below).
#careerchange #truthincomedy #truthoftheday #formerlawyer #standupcomedian
Paul Farahvar is a comedian hailing from Chicago, Ill.
Paul Farahvar Comedy