WHAT'S THE PLAN?
When I managed and represented bands and musicians in a prior life, I would ask them what their plans were for the immediate future and five years down the line. For myself, I always hated being asked where I see myself in 5 years, largely because I hate planning that far ahead and usually have no idea where I will be in 5 years, let alone 5 months. Also in the past, I have been lucky to fall into opportunities that navigate my future.
For example, when my first band broke up, our home club would hit me up to play and when he found out my band was broken up and I was sending him friends' bands, he helped me basically create my first company of managing and booking bands (Rob Katz). Or when I won an appeal and accidentally created new law as a new lawyer, I converted my new found credibility as a lawyer into the option of working part time as a lawyer to pursue my music business.
With comedy, its been a tough ride trying to find the next opportunities with the lofty goals I have, especially at my age and starting this career later than 99% of my peers. That being said, I have throw enough crap at the wall to see what will stick and am starting to see some rays of light. Still looking for help and management as always, but enjoying the ride a little more these days. Hope to see you on the road, or if you can't see a live show, go check out my DryBar special online (Comcast has the channel!) or share my scheduled dates in St. Paul, Chicago, Naples, Boca Raton this month.. #careerchange #plan #standupcomedy #journeytosuccess
HURRY UP AND WAIT
It's a common phrase used in the entertainment industry especially on live sets. I acted a few times on sets where this has happened and it also happens at comedy shows where we are rushed to check in 15 minutes before a show, which sometimes starts late and, even if it starts close to on time, we wait until our sets, which may be another 45 minutes later.
When it rains it pours. I had three shows cancel on me this week and when that happens, its a time suck to re-create a schedule and, in this case, re-route my travel plans. Of course, last minute travel changes cost money too. Two of the shows were local so it was not a big deal. I ended up taking a night off for one of them. The other was out of town. Thankfully I am in a position where some places will throw me up or make room for me on shows (And also some places book last minute or need fillers). I also have created a back up plan with a few places I help produce shows for so that I can at least sometimes have a back up plan when this happens.
That being said, it still sucks. When a call comes from a venue, its usually not good so when it actually is good or neutral, my brain automatically goes to "oh shoot, they are gonna cancel." PTSD, I guess. I remember during the pandemic this was happening due to comedians getting sick or being exposed but before that, I never experienced cancelations like I have this year and last. I think its part of transitioning to a headliner, where I still don't have the numbers of a bigger name and have to rely on word of mouth. I am thankful for the shows and honestly, happy to sleep in my own bed 2 extra days now!
#formerlawyer #comedian #standup #setbacks
FOLLOW ME ON INSTA!
When I first started comedy, the green rooms at comedy clubs and shows were filled with non-stop laughter. Stories, jokes and belly laughs. That is still sometimes the case, don’t get me wrong, but most of our conversations today revolve around social media and breaking the algorithm. For better or worse, it is clearly more important for your career to get a viral clip or 100k followers than to have 30 minutes of good jokes.
Followers and views on social media govern a lot of our careers now. I can honestly say when I post a clip or a reel and it does poorly, it ruins my day. I try to guess what I did wrong and why the algorithm won't show the video to even my own followers. Three years ago, I didn't even know what an algorithm was. And maybe in a few years AI will play a role and then maybe we don’t even need to write jokes, we can just type in premises and let the AI do the work.
I had a comedy club tell me that I did not have enough followers to headline their club. It is frustrating but also a necessary evil. We all must embrace it or be left behind. I have seen some of my peers and well respected comedians who have worked for years in comedy slowly lose work to up while up and coming (often hard working) comedians who may not have a full 45 minute headlining set , come in and sell out rooms based on their TikTok followings. They put butts in seats and in the end, thats what matters.
Being funny is not enough anymore. You have to be a draw. So if you like comedians or want to support them, don't just follow them on social media, share their clips, like and comment on their work, go see their live shows, buy their merch, tell your friends when they come to their town. For now, just follow me on Insta (@paulfarahvar) Oh yeah, and tell your friends in Bowling Green, Nashville, Minneapolis and Charlotte to come see me! #careerchange #formerlawyer #socialmedia #reels #comedian
"Make Bad Decisions"
I recently wished a dear friend a happy birthday and jokingly said to “Go out and make bad decisions tonight”. He darkly responded that he felt like all the decisions he made in his life have been bad. I was worried because he seemingly has the perfect life. A wife, kids and a job that pays him an annual salary more than I will ever see in a lifetime, let alone a year (and remember I was a lawyer once!). His tangible success in his personal life and career makes people in his community admire him from near and far. We have plans to talk in in person more about this.
It made me pause. First, you truly never know what people are dealing with internally. With social media especially, we all have a portrayed image that is not real or sustainable. Second, I worried that what I am pursuing in comedy may not be as enjoyable as what I am doing right now. It made me want to "smell the roses” more and be present more, instead of just focusing on the next goals in my career. I get to make people laugh and hang out with the funniest people in the world on a regular basis AND get paid for it.
While that “being present” hippie high probably will likely not last for me, I did enjoy this week at my shows. I was able to take big chances on stage with some new jokes and really had fun with crowd work for the first time in a while. Just being present. I hope to ride this high into the weekend with shows in Arizona and Los Angeles, then later this month in Chicago, Nashville and Bowling Green! Tag your friends if you have them in either city! #standup #formerlawyer #smelltheroses
Paul Farahvar is a comedian hailing from Chicago, Ill.
Paul Farahvar Comedy