I am at the stage in my comedy career where I need to figure out the next steps. I have always been very ambitious with the various careers I had (music, law) , sometimes simultaneously, so leaving it all behind to pursue comedy full time pressures me to do something on a larger scale. When I started comedy, I had multiple expectations for what comedy what lead to and where comedy would take me.
Before COVID, I had some momentum with my SINGLES ONLY Podcast and stand up shows, starting a tour with a national touring comedian and having my podcast accepted into the prestigious SXSW festival. I was planning on moving to LA for part of the year to work on a few shows I created in hopes of getting picked up for network or cable while also doing sets at some of the comedy clubs I had been passed at (accepted into).
All of that went away and now I have rebuilt a new path that either has run its course or is about to take me to another level. I don’t have a manager or agent to direct me to work that can lead to opportunities I wish to pursue but I am hoping that the unique combination of my skill set and my background will take me there. I am really interested in creating a new show for television or digital media. If you have connections, hit me up! #careerchange #goals #formerlawyer #formermusician
Recording a comedy special is a rite of passage for comedians. Initially, it was never a goal of mine when I started comedy. My main goals with comedy were to host a talk show (still is) and be the best host for live comedy shows. I honestly never thought I would be good enough to write jokes; I felt like my strong suit was spontaneity, crowd work interactions and listening.
About four years into comedy, I fell in love with the writing process. Perfecting the semantics of a joke and a full set. And as the years went on, I was looking forward to having enough material for my own special.
Now, twelve years into comedy, I have 2 album "specials" coming. The first one is with Dry Bar Comedy, who is releasing my first national special. I recorded it in 2021 so I was not sure when it would be released. It’s quite an accomplishment for me to have a special. For those you who don’t know, Dry Bar is the largest distributor of live comedy - even bigger than Netflix. It’s 100% family clean which was fun and challenging for me.
The link to the special drybarcomedy.compaulf/ If you use my name “PAULFARAHVAR” in the code, you get a free month of membership (and I get credit!).
Second, later this year, I will be recording my hour long special with none of the same material as you hear (or will hear) on this Dry Bar special. Pretty cool, huh? #standup #formerlawyer #careerchange #comedyshow
I was having lunch with a friend yesterday who was trying to figure out her next career moves as she recently quit her corporate job. As I checked my phone, I received a rejection email from a comedy club that my comedian friend calls the coldest email he has ever seen. Essentially the email from this booker said I will never work as a headliner for his club but in a less diplomatic way.
Not only was it upsetting to receive the email as I had worked the club for years as a feature, but the manner in which it was sent was clearly sent from a person seeking to harm me emotionally and mentally. Perhaps my emails were annoying or he just didn’t think I was funny. My friend sitting with me was taken aback at how casually I was taking it. I have to admit it was painful to receive that message and I think about it every minute still.
Within literal minutes of the rejection email being received and discussed with my friend, a suited man with a laminated name tag approached our table and said “Paul?”
I looked up and assumed it was a lawyer from a formal life as I was in downtown Chicago not far from the courthouse. “I am sorry, you don’t know me but I am huge fan of your work and have followed your career for some time online and would love to have you at a theater I now work at. Would you be interested?”
The club that rejected me is a big named club in a small town. The guy who approached me runs a theater 6x the size in a similarly sized city. I told him I would be honored to work there and he said he will reach out with details.
I often say there is ups and downs in comedy and it happens quickly. But this was somewhat poetic. Hopefully I can book that theater show soon! #formerlawyer #careerchange #comedy #standup
Outside of social media, stand up comedy generally relies on word of mouth. In a way, social media is word of mouth, since you are following and sharing your favorite comedians which can lead to going viral.
In the old days, you would go on the Tonight Show and overnight, you would be a headliner all across the country. Late night appearances help now, but social media follows beats a late night appearance every time. Email lists and followers govern your ticket sales and ticket sales get you booked at the comedy clubs.
I have had talented friends go viral on Tik Tok and Instagram and, overnight go from opening shows to not only headlining shows but selling them out. It’s great to see their hard work and talent be recognized. I have also seen amazing comedians who never get the attention and “stardom” they deserve and/or seek. There is a lot of luck involved with comedy too.
The one thing you can do for comedians you like is talk about them, share their clips, tell people you know when they are performing, and of course, going to live shows!
I say this as I am about to go perform what I hope will be my second sold out show at Zanies in Chicago in as many years. In 2022 I was fortunate enough to sell out multiple shows in Chicagoland, Tampa and Denver, mostly from word of mouth. If you like me and live in or know people in Atlanta, Oklahoma City, Scottsdale, Charlotte, Raleigh Nashville or St. Paul, please tag them below so I can share information about my upcoming shows or share my clips social media. See you soon, I hope! #formerlawyer #careerchange #standup #chicagocomedy
Paul Farahvar is a comedian hailing from Chicago, Ill.
Paul Farahvar Comedy