When I asked a famous comedian I was working with, what his goals were, when he started comedy, he said he wanted to be someone's favorite comedian. I thought that was a nice goal to have. He surpassed that with multiple TV shows, credits and sold out theater runs. I have heard other comedians say that is their goal as well.
I have had people tell me that I am one of their favorites or I was their favorite comedy on a show often, but recently, someone came up to me and said I was his favorite comedian. At first I thought he meant, of the night, since it was a showcase show at my home club the Laugh Factory in Chicago but he then told me how he comes to see me when I am in town and that I am his favorite. He saw me over 20 times and he even knew some of my bits by heart too. Still, he came back to hear them (even though he knows them all!).
It was never my goal to be someone's favorite and actually when I started comedy, I never thought I would be in a place where I get to headline shows and tour the country, making people laugh every night but here I am. I am very lucky to be doing this. #blessed #comedy #standup #formerlawyer #careerchange
photo by ANF Chicago
I'm not going to lie. It feels good to be recognized in public for my work. Especially when people have nice things to say to me or remember one of my jokes. I used to get uncomfortable when people give me compliments in public after recognizing me, but I have learned to enjoy it and "smell the roses". Two quick stories with the first and last time.
The first time it happened to me was seven years ago when a cashier recognized. It was funny because I was picking up a Domino's pizza to eat all by myself, late on a Saturday night after shows. The glamorous life of comedy.
The last time it happened to me was when I was opening for a famous comedian while we were out eating. When we go out to eat, this comedian is often approached for pictures and he is super sweet to his fans but this time it was funny because, they only recognized me, and not the other much more famous comedian. The guy remembered my closer from the last time I was in town and quoted it (poorly). What a time. #comedian #formerlawyer #careerchange #tuesdaythoughts
Last week, I was scheduled to perform in Louisville and Chattanooga as part of a mini road trip I booked on my own. Admittedly, I am horrible at geography and should have just looked at a map to do the trip differently - Tennessee is very long and Chattanooga is very close to Atlanta, not Louisville.
Three hours into the trip, in Indianapolis, my otherwise reliable car, just stalled on the highway. It did this once before when I was driving last summer in 90 degree heat, traveling at speeds around the same as the weather. The different however, I had just taken my car to the dealer to make sure it was ready for the 9 hour drive and it was "cleared for takeoff". And I had taken the car on multiple road trips since last summer with no issues.
The common thread however was that it was again 90 degrees and I was again driving pretty fast. It was overheated and I did not want to deal with stops for the remaining six hours. I waited and was able to start it again to take it to a rental car facility at the airport and rent a car. I did not make my Louisville show but was able to travel through the night to Chattanooga for a weekend of sold out shows with my friend, the hilarious Dusty Slay (Happy Birthday, Dusty!) I never contemplated cancelling the weekend. And I am glad I didn't.
The first night of shows already cleared any doubts I may have had about driving through the night instead of calling it quits and returning to Chicago. After the show, I was approached by a recently divorced father with a special needs child, in tears. He told me how thankful he was that I came to Chattanooga and how he had not been able to go out for years due to his child's condition. He was stood up by his date for the show and decided to still come by himself. He said he had not laughed that hard in years and needed joy in his life after a long long couple of years. I provided it to him. "Comedians don't get the credit they deserve for what they do for people" is what he told me. So I am basically like my doctor brother now, right? He cried and then I cried and we hugged. Easily one of the best moments I have had in comedy.
The rest of the shows were the cherry on top as I had a blast working with one of the best comedians in the US right now and sold out of Better Call Paul shirts AGAIN (I need to increase my order size!), raising more money for Parkinson's Foundation. If anyone knows about overheating in older German cars, give me a call too. #cartroubles #careerchange #standupcomedy #formerlawyer #travel
April was a busy busy month with 40 shows in Orlando, St. Pete Florida, Las Vegas, Reno, Saugatuck Michigan and, my home, Chicago. I headlined some new clubs which were so fun and got to return to Laugh Factory in Reno and Las Vegas to open the shows there. Also, I broke my prior record with t-shirt sales, selling over 100 of my "Better Call Paul" shirts with all the profits going to Parkinson's Foundation! My May looks busy as well, traveling a bunch and I hope to get some more writing opportunities for television and streaming platforms. Everyday I'm hustlin'.
While I am staying busy, its hard not to feel stagnant. There has been little to no movement on pitches I submitted and many clubs have not returned my emails for possible dates. I try to grind and work hard, but its hard not to feel overlooked and disrespected when opportunities don't go my way. My hope for the summer months is that I keep traveling for shows and can find some breaks where people can see my talent and give me an opportunity. #careerchange #hustleandgrind #hustle #standupcomedy
Paul Farahvar is a comedian hailing from Chicago, Ill.
Paul Farahvar Comedy